(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Mainstream media reports about government attacks on foreign governments and international organisations for interfering with the countryís internal affairs because of their criticisms over the trial and sentences meted out to former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is to be expected, even if such reactions place Malaysia in an even worse light internationally.
What is surprising however is that the Bar Council Criminal Law Committee Chairman, Mohd Apandi Ali has joined in such a chorus, expressing support to the governmentís reaction, as claiming that it was enshrined in the United Nations Charter that one member nation could not interfere in the internal affairs of another member nation.
Apandiís statement has caused all-round surprise and shock as it goes against the established tradition of the Bar Council to stand up loud and clear for a just rule of law, an truly independent judiciary and the defence of fundamental human rights from any form of abridgement and violation.
The Bar Council should make clear whether it subscribes to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights which declared that that "the promotion and protection of all human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community" and respect the right and duty of any government to express its concern and criticism against any gross violation of human rights in other countries.
If so, the Bar Council should reprimand Apandi for making a statement
which runs counter to its traditional stand.