Judge C. G. Weeramantry – Sri Lanka

Linked with Weeramantry International Centre For Peace Education and Research, with Arms Control Today, and with Arms Control Association.

He says: ”The Universal Declaration (of Human Rights) is only a starting point and its principles have kept developing over the years. International declarations like the International Covenants have developed its principles further but it is now for domestic legal systems to translate them into actual practice till they become ingrained in the legal system of each country. They must also be ingrained in the consciousness of the people and in the consciousness of the legal profession”. (full text).

Listen to his 3 minutes video on YouTube.

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Judge C. G. Weeramantry – Sri Lanka

Links to Judge Weeramantry’s Decisions While he was a Member of the International Court of Justice.

He says also: Excerpt: ” … When the Universal Declaration (of Human Rights) was being drafted, there was a school of thought to the effect that it would be impossible for the Committee that was working on it, chaired by Mrs. Roosevelt, to achieve agreement on what they were striving to achieve – namely a declaration across the cultures on certain fundamentals that all traditions and cultures would accept. All the pundits of the time said that this would end in failure because it was just impossible to achieve such consensus having regard to the differences between cultures and traditions. However, Mrs. Roosevelt and her committee pressed ahead with commendable zeal.

They defied the pundits and showed that a set of basic principles could be achieved which all cultures, traditions and civilizations would endorse. Now that is what is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 10, which we are concentrating on, gives effect to those traditions in a very broad and general way. It is to be remembered that when the Universal Declaration was adopted, there was a general feeling that all these guarantees and assurances of equality and independence and fair trial and so forth were very well-meaning areas of visionary thinking, but that visionary thinking is one thing and hard law is another. That was the general attitude even when the Universal Declaration was adopted. I remember as a young lawyer I was in court in 1950 or 1951. That was two or three years after the Universal Declaration was adopted. When a lawyer cited to the judge the Universal Declaration, it was not uncommon for the judge to say “Yes Mr. so and so, this is a very fine and salutary principle but are you seriously suggesting that this is part of the law of this country?” That was the reaction of the judges in the years immediately after the Universal Declaration was passed … “. (full text of 27 pdf-pages).


Bio: He has written and lectured extensively on these topics and his works contain a philosophy as well as a programme of action to achieve these purposes. The Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research WICPER is based on this philosophy and has his vast corpus of research and writing as an informational base from which to develop its programmes. Judge Weeramantry recently received the UNESCO Peace Education Prize 2006 “in recognition of his commitment and concrete undertakings in support of the concept and culture of peace through his long and fruitful career. In the course of his five decade career as a lawyer, legal educator, domestic judge, international judge, author and lecturer, Judge C.G. Weeramantry has touched on a wide variety of topics essential to peace, cross-cultural understanding and education. He is a former Vice President of the International Court of Justice and the founder and chairman of the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research, based in Sri Lanka. Judge Weeramantry has also served on the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and written on a wide range of human rights subjects. His numerous books include, most recently, Armageddon or Brave New World? Reflections On The Hostilities in Iraq (2003) and Universalising International Law (2004). (text).

Another bio, excerpts:

a) … Born 17 November 1926 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Citizen of Sri Lanka.;

b) Arbitrations and Commissions of Inquiry (full text):

  • · Chairman, Nauru Commission of Inquiry 1987-1988 (Independent Commission of Inquiry set up by the Government of Nauru to examine inter alia the questions of responsibility under international law for the rehabilitation of the phosphate lands of Nauru mined-out during international trusteeship). The report of this Commission led to the institution of Certain Phosphate Lands in Nauru (Nauru v. Australia) before the International Court of Justice;
  • · Joint Arbitrator and sole arbitrator in various domestic and international commercial disputes;
  • · Formerly a Member, Panel of Arbitrators, American Association of Arbitrators;
  • · Arbitrator, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, Washington;

c) Professional Experience:

  • · Practice for 17 years (1948-1965) as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in all court – original, appellate, admiralty and court martial;
  • · Consultancy practice for 18 years as Barrister-at-law in Victoria, Australia from 1972-1990. Professional work includes legal advice, judicial work and court appearances for foreign governments;

d) Academic Positions:

  • · Sir Hayden Starke Professor of Law, Monash Melbourne, Australia (1972-1991);
  • · Member, Council of Legal Education, Sri Lanka (1967-1972);
  • · Lecturer and Examiner, Council of Legal Education, Sri Lanka, (1951-1956).

His books: on amazon; on wicper.org; on geocities; on ministry of Health;


Cambridge Journals;

Special Book Launch in London;

Nuclear Disarmement and Non-Proliferation.

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