Jennifer Moragoda collecting the award from the President for Dr. Moragodage Christopher Walter Pinto
Dr. Moragodage Christopher Walter Pinto was presented with the Deshamanya award by President Maithripala Sirisena at the 2019 National Honours Ceremony held recently. Dr. Pinto is a leading specialist in international law and former diplomat.
In 1967 Dr. Pinto was appointed by the Public Service Commission as the first Legal Adviser to the then Ministry of Defence and External Affairs. In that capacity, he represented Sri Lanka at several international conferences, notably the UN Conference on the Law of Treaties (1968-1969), and the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (1967-1980) where he pioneered work on the regime to govern exploration and exploitation of the resources of the sea-bed beyond national jurisdiction.
As Legal Adviser, he was responsible for preparation of the materials on the basis of which Sri Lanka’s sovereignty over the island of Kachchativu was recognised by treaty, and for the negotiation of early boundary treaties concluded with Sri Lanka’s neighbours.
Dr. Pinto served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Germany and Austria from 1976-1980. In 1981, he was invited by the Governments of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America to undertake management of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, an arbitral tribunal established at The Hague to resolve certain disputes that had arisen between them. Dr. Pinto then left government service to take up appointment as the Secretary-General of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, a position he held until 2011.
Since leaving the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, Dr. Pinto has been appointed to membership of several inter-State arbitral tribunals administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.
Dr. Pinto was elected a Member of the United Nations International Law Commission in 1973, and became Chairman of the Commission in 1980. He is a Member of the Institut de Droit International. He is a graduate of Peradeniya University and the University of Cambridge, an Attorney of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, and a Barrister of the Inner Temple.