Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bersih names 3 locals, 3 foreigners as People's Tribunal members

KUALA LUMPUR (July 25): The six members, three locals and three from overseas, of the Bersih People's Tribunal were named today by the organising committee for the People's Tribunal.
Stating that members of the tribunal were picked through a process, Bersih steering committee co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan highlighted that all individuals were "people that shared a strong commitment to the rule of law".
The People's Tribunal, comprised those with diverse backgrounds who according to Ambiga will be able to make independent decisions, was established to ascertain whether the 13th general election was conducted in a free and fair manner.
Chairing the tribunal is Yash Pal Ghai,a reputable expert in constitutional law, who has extensive experience including being the former head of the constitution advisory support unit of the UN Development Programme in Nepal, former special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Cambodia on human rights and former chairperson of the Kenya Constitution Review Commission and Kenya National Constitutional Conference.
Other international members are former deputy chairman of the Indonesian Election Commission Ramlan Surbakti and president of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, former senator and deputy leader of the Democrat Party Thailand Kraisak Choonhavan.
Malaysian members include Datuk Azzat Kamaludin, a well-known lawyer and former administrative and diplomatic officer with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia, Dr Mavis Puthucheary, co-editor of the book Elections and Democracy in Malaysia, and former associate professor from the Faculty of Economics and Administration Universiti Malaya, and Reverend Dr Herman Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia.
Assisted by a team of 30 lawyers, Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, Professor of Law at the Law Faculty of the University of Malaya, will lead the legal team to present evidence on behalf of the people.
Speaking to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Gurdial stated that they expected "a team of 10 to 12 witnesses and two to three experts".
The tribunal will take the form of a commission of inquiry led by a legal team who will present evidence and arguments to the tribunal.
The tribunal is tasked to study, investigate, review and report on:
1. The complaints received or disclosed on events leading up to and surrounding the 13th general election;
2. The electoral process which took place in respect of the 13th general election;
3. The effect of the findings from (1) and (2) have had on the 13th general election, particularly in the free and fair criteria (free access to the media, money politics, adherence to local elections laws);
4. Any matters related or incidental to the above, including the effect on voters rights generally and the rights of minority communities.
"The tribunal is essentially a citizen’s efforts and a people’s platform to investigate and scrutinise the conduct of the last general election,” said Irene Fernandez, a member of the organising committee.
"It will be a tribunal of conscience, mandated with a moral force by the people to arrive at the truth," added the executive director of Tenaganita, an NGO which promotes the rights of migrant workers and other oppressed and poor people in Malaysia..
Members of the public are also encouraged give statements or evidence relating to claims of electoral fraud and irregularities during the May 5 polls via email to the people's tribunal secretariat at by Aug 16.
The People's Tribunal, which will take place from Sept 18-22, is fully funded by the Malaysian public.

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