22 September, 2020

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Democracy Mourns For Judgment Fled To Brutish Beasts

By Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena –

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena

As the sun went down this Friday on barebodied ruffians raucously celebrating Parliament’s spectacularly unjust impeachment of the country’s Chief Justice with crackers and kiribath, judgment fled to brutish beasts and Sri Lanka entered its darkest phase since independence.

This Government with its ineffectual ally, the main Opposition United National Party, could together boast of seemingly levelling a death blow at the last remaining bulwark of a defiantly rebellious judiciary. In truth, LTTE leader the late Velupillai Prabhakaran achieved in death through the monumental follies of ‘Dharmishta Sinhala’ leaders, what he could not accomplish in life.

The Government’s pyrrhic victory

Henceforth, in what manner are Sri Lankan judges supposed to preside over their courtrooms with dignity? In what way can lawyers advocate the law with heads held high, what will law teachers be able to teach in the classroom and how will analysts in good conscience examine Sri Lanka’s conformity with the Rule of Law?

A new and eagerly supine Chief Justice will be appointed during the coming days. But this will be a pyrrhic victory. With the Commonwealth and the world staring in helpless bewilderment at the ruins of a once proud judicial system, we have proved our unfitness for democracy in no uncertain measure. Reports of commissions on lessons learnt and reconciliation may now firmly be relegated to the dustbin.

It is only a suicidal leadership which would have gone heedlessly down this path precisely when the State is being closely questioned in regard to accountability for mass killings of citizens and continuing abductions. This country is now entirely vulnerable to outside assaults. Nay, the leadership has invited such attacks, provoked them rather. We may expect the inevitable consequences therefore.

Responsibility lies on the President

And culpability therein does not lie at the foot of Parliament enthralled with the desperate antics of the Weerawansas, the Vasudeva Nanayakkaras and the GL Peirises nor with the feeble mewling of the opposition United National Party. Neither can the President’s brothers be blamed though some may still be beguiled into such foolishness. Rather, full responsibility for the abyss that we have fallen into, lies fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Presidency itself.

This is the leadership which spurned the requests of the Mahanayakes of the main Nikayas while professing to lead a Dharmishta Government. This is the leadership which brushed aside passionate appeals made by professional bodies, the Catholic Church, business and employment chambers and concerned citizens to step back from the precipice of the impeachment.

This is the leadership which promotes political opportunism, thuggery and greed, exposing Sri Lanka to the world as lacking common decency let alone conformity to law. This is the leadership that took root in our midst much like a monstrously destructive growth, first with the 18th Amendment and then with the spreading of tentacles into every area of government.

It is ironic therefore that erstwhile government propagandists who cheered the demise of the 17th Amendment have now apparently found a belated conscience, if it may be termed as such, to break ranks with the Government. Their dissent however is as much in vain as other reasoned appeals. The whip of dictatorship has been cracked over the heads of all Sri Lankans. This is the final abandonment of decades of even dysfunctional democracy.

Should the judiciary not have challenged the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) inquiring into the impeachment? So, was the Chief Justice supposed to stay mum when patent injustice was meted out to her? This was not a run of the mill PSC. Rather, it was one tasked to enter into a finding of guilt notwithstanding puerile arguments by parliamentary officials that no such findings were entered into. The serious consequences that follow upon PSC findings regarding the constitutional right to hold judicial office underlined the ethos of the recent Supreme Court thinking that Standing Orders cannot be used to impeach a judge. The issuance of a writ of certiorari by the Court of Appeal quashing the purported findings of the PSC in issue was in logical consequence thereof. What could the judiciary have done otherwise if it had a shred of self respect?

Digging of the judiciary’s grave

An honest audit still needs to be undertaken as to the manner in which the agonising destruction of Sri Lanka’s judicial system has taken place. What we saw on Friday was the mere culmination of what commenced in 1999 when a judge of the unimpeachable calibre of the late Justice Mark Fernando was bypassed for the office of Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice with Chandrika Kumaratunga’s appointment of former Attorney General Sarath Silva. As is acknowledged with appropriate gravitas by many only now with hindsight, the grave of Sri Lanka’s democracy was dug then, well in preparation for the virtual coffin of the judiciary that would be lowered into it more than a decade later.

The few angry voices in the legal community at that time were marginalised as irrepressible idealists or accused of pursing an agenda for individuals. Indeed with the vastly honourable exception of former Supreme Court judge CV Wigneswaran, judges themselves stayed silent as the Court went its political way during the long years that followed. Academics refrained from critiquing clearly politicised judgments in fear of contempt of court. As Chief Justice succeeded Chief Justice, each willingly or forcefully succumbing to political dictates, public respect for the judiciary was severely eroded on the part of the majority as well as the minorities.

Consequentially when the inevitable frontal attack came on the Supreme Court during this Presidency provoked by minimal judicial resistance to an executive juggernaut, there were no powerful intervening barriers to break the free fall. The Bench and the Bar woke up after its decade long slumber but it was a classic case of too little, too late even though the sheer force of the belated reaction took many by surprise. Unsurprisingly, this Presidency dismissed even its one time supporters from the legal community with singular contempt.

Start of popular resistance to a corrupt regime

That said, in this apocalyptic post-impeachment period, we need to look beyond the fact that the Sri Lankan judiciary was fatally stabbed this Friday and left to die bleeding on the road. Perhaps a brighter and better moment may yet dawn.

Scarcely three months ago, a senior ‘silk’ who (before personal interests and ruder ambitions blunted its edge), arguably possessed one of the finest minds in public law in the country asked jocularly as to why I continue to condemn a ‘popular government’? Now as the lawyers revolt, the judiciary is eviscerated, judgments of the superior courts are thrown to the gutter, illiterate politicians along with dentists interpret the Constitution and common ruffians abuse the Chief Justice, could this same question be posed in quite that same way, even jestingly? Where pray is the popularity of this government, at least among the professionals?

The leadership may not care for what it dismisses as the uselessly educated vote. Yet as history shows us, it is precisely at the highest point of political arrogance that the downfall begins, sometimes swiftly and sometimes gradually. Right now, with the memory of government thugs dancing wild eyed before the Chief Justice’s residence and hurling unspeakable filth at her, such optimism may be impossible to conceive. Yet the discarding of a horrendous Constitution along with an administration rooted in injustice may still come to pass.

This is the common objective that the great collectivity of the Sri Lankan citizenry, in cities, villages and towns notwithstanding caste, creed or race, need to work towards in solidarity and profound humility.

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Latest comments

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    There is a misconception, they claim democracy is holding elections. Elections also not properly held, no free media, all suppressed, goons attack judiciary, after the election on a proportionate basis cross over is allowed. Voters are not represented in the parliament. One party rule and all the other aspects of democracy including the judiciary are destroyed. Is Sri Lanka a democratic country?

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    Kishali:
    The rallying cry contained in the final sentence of your fine analysis needs to be heeded by that miniscule minority of Sri Lankans: the educated with a conscience.
    It is useless to wait for the “business elites” to realise that their own days are numbered notwithstanding their monumental sycophancy to our “rulers.” Those Chambers of Commerce types will, before long, be consigned to the garbage dumps of Sri Lanka’s history. And that cannot happen too soon!

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    The president is moving to install an ‘ape miniha’ as the next CJ. Now it is up to the rest of the judiciary and the bar to uphold the law in this country. Clearly the executive feels that his conscience is the criteria for good governance and that the end justifies the means.

    The personal ambitions of the president have now become the mission incarnate of the country. The conscience of the president the law. All decisions mad by the president have to be implemented by hook or by crook and there are the minions in parliment and government to carry out his every wish.

    The public and the judiciary who opposed the impeachment are still independent and must continue to stand firm. Action must be taken to stem corruption and force the politicians and officials to declare their assets. Public must be vigilant about the financial and economic transactions of the govt. The steps taken against the impeachment are not in vain, it has challenged the impunity and unabridged power of this corrupt government and executive.

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    Kishali we agree with you. All that can be described is a set of cowards have flocked together with the criminals in a sacred assembly, the sacredness of which have become a questionable mark. The people are to be blamed for electing third grade people to such places. All Sri Lankans are ashamed to call themselves as Sri Lankans.

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    I feel so sad for the most horrible death Rizana Nafik has to face

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pQM2EWSLys
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP2rp98He0E
    My deepest sympathies to her and her family.

    WHILE MANY RIZANAS WORK IN MIDDLE EAST TO SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES AND OUR YOUTH GOING TO SOUTH KOREA AND BOAT PEOPLE LEAVING SRI LANKA, MARA IS BRINGING DOWN MERCEDES BENZ,BMW’s, ASTON MARTINS,LAMBORGHINIS AND SUV’S TO GIVE TO HIS FAMILY, FRIENDS AND GOVT. GOONS.

    Not even poorest countries in Africa or even Afganistan or Bangladesh send their women to Middle East while our Maha Rajano proudly send them gladly while enjoying their Blood Money.

    First if anybody could explain the meaning of the following Title President received from Kandy Buddhist Preletes…..it’s called

    “Rajawansa Vibushana Dharmadeepa Charkawarthi”
    Also Please watch the following video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urektzCHAyQ

    I can also get a bigger honor title If I can give…. Five brand new Mercedes Benz Cars……..10 Acres of Prime Land…….Build a 500 feet tall Buddha statue……give 50 Air tickets to USA or Europe…. and a Mega Dana to 10,000 buddhist monks and preletes.
    But sorry I am not a Fu….ng as…. h….e to be that mad to do these,when our poor children are going to Middle East to make ends meet to feed their families.

    While Maharajano will do anything to show off his Big head, HE DID NOT EVEN BOTHERED TO PAY LAWYER’S FEE TO RELEASE RIZANA NAFIK…..

    By not complying to EU Human Rights issue MARA made Sri Lanka loose over 100,000 jobs and closed 600 factories, mostly located in Free trade zone….and loosing valuable Foreign Exchange also.

    The bigger thief (Mr 10%) Basil Rajapakse Just stole 85 Billion Rupees of poor peoples money with a fake DIVINEGUMA BILL WHILE CJ WHO TRIED HARD TO SAVE IT FOR POOR PEOPLE HAD TO LOOSE HER JOB.

    Basil say he is going to help poor……….while getting down LAMBORGINI’S FOR FUN AND BUILDING RAJAPAKSE HOTELS IN KALPITIYA AND EAST COAST AND OWNING A $4.5 Million Dollar HOUSE IN USA.
    Please look at the following web to see where Basil Rajapakse’s Gam Udava, Divi Neguma money went…..Basil’s US $4.5 million US house…..and US$995,000 Gotabaya Rajapakse’s us house.

    (edited out)

    While saying he got down ONE MILLION TOURISTS LAST YEAR……which I calculated in order to achieve that figure there should be 2,600 (12 full flights) per day of tourists should land EVERY DAY 365 DAYS LAST YEAR.
    I went to Katunayake Airport for six days last two weeks and did not even see 30 Tourists landing per flight.
    Can Basil Rajapakse prove how he got down 1 million Tourists last year.He say 30,000 tourists came from China. So where the rest came from…….other than the FLYING SAUCES seen by Hambanthota villege people.

    Please go to following web to see Basil Stealing US$ 104.3 Million Lotus Tower…with 20% Chinese BLACK MONEY Commission

    http://www.trc.gov.lk/events/colombo-lotus-tower-minister-basil-rajapakse-lays-foundation-stone.html

    Also see the following web. as to how Basil steal poor people’s Land in Kalpitiya with Fake Tourist development Projects.

    http://www.tourismconcern.org.uk/sri-lanka-land-grabs.html

    Aslo Please go to….ask.com and type Basil Rajapakse…or anybody in the MARA family and the Govt.Ministers profiles to see their luxury lifestyles.

    MARA,BARA,GOTA,and CHAMA DOING ALL OF THESE WHILE OUR INNOCENT CHILDREN WERE SENT TO MIDDLE EAST TO BRING IN DOLLARS WORKING AS SLAVES IN THOSE COUNTRIES AND NOW BEEN BEHEADED WHTHOUT MARA NOT EVEN BOTHERED TO PAY LAWYER’S FEES…………AND MANY OTHER POOR PEOPLE LIVE ALMOST LIKE VEDDA (Natives) LIVE. Please see the house Rizana’s Parents live….and watch TV on Flood victims homes… and compare them to the Houses that VEDDAS LIVE. Both look same after 60 years of Indipendence.

    Now the latest is all the ancient relics and swords,coins,statues….and I assume in future they could be displayed in China Museum or in a Black smith shop in China.

    Finally I Kindly request to Sri Lankan Lawyers, Expatriate Community and the Foreign Governments to Bring Law Suit against President Rajapakse for STEALING TSUNAMI DONATION MONEY SENT BY INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.

    Also EU,US and CW should implement a travel and trade ban to President Rajapakse(who is a Tsunami Thief), Govt.Parliament Members and all govt.goons for Fraudulently impeaching our Chief Justice.

    I hope someone will take action against President Rakapakse.

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    Oh my god! I was worried.
    But when I woke up this morning, was surprised to see that the sky had not fallen down!

    I will be at Wijerama Mawatha.

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      No man Kelani bridge is falling down

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      Furthermore along with the Kelani bridge Sri Lankas Honour Dignity and Standing in the world have fallen down

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    You should worry Pol tokka because your biggest norm setter is the former drummer boy of the JVP Vimal weerawansa. Now he is the biggest drummer for the Rajapakses. This man who began his life as a tailor in Kalutara is the main accuser against the Chief Justice. You should not waste time going to Wijerama mawatha but go to temple trees where the rajapakses will feed you with tax payers money

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    Justice Mark Fernando,along with Justices Ameer Ismail and CV Wigneswaran held that fundamental rights of five voters of the NE Province were violated by the army preventing them from voting in the November 2001 parliamentary elections, and fined the Commissioner of Elections & the Army Commander,and awarded compensation to the five voters.
    The court also held that provision of voting from their homes, by President Chandrika B,PM R Wickremanayake, Minister Ratwatte and speaker Anura B was invalid.
    This is why Chandrika B sidelined Justice Mark Fernando from being appointed Chief Justice.
    If this had happened,the history of the Supreme Court and the nation would have been different.

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    Storming of the Bastille signalled the French Revolution. Trotsky wrote that the Russian Revolution started beneath the belly of the horse ie. when a revolutionary crept underneath. It symbolised the fraternisation of the cossacks. Persecution of an obscure pastor, Laszlo Tokes in Romania on 16th December 1989 finished off Ceaucescu in 5 days. Sustained heroic struggle of the Chief Justice of Pakistan together with the support of the Judiciary and lawyers saw the exit of the President. The self immolation of an inconspicuous youth in Tunisia ignited the Arab Spring. Social media sealed the fate of election manipulator Mubarak. Intolerable corruption and family rule in Libya terminated the Gadaffis.

    In SL the DNA from every revolution permeates. They have a courageous CJ, a resolute Judiciary, a relentless legal profession and an infuriated public to coalesce with. Impeachment has put the detonator to the powder keg. The rest is yet to be.

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    Dear Sis,

    Whilst I agree with much of your findings I dont share your optimism for the future of Sri Lanka. I dont know where you are in the political spectrum in Sri lanka and whether you believe in co existence. But I am of the view that MR is a racist, dictator and quite frankly a thug and it is not going to be very easy to wrest control of power from him because he is surrounded and protected by thugs. Just look at his achievements
    1) Killing thousands of innocent Tamil Civilians.
    2) As a woman you understand more than any one what dignity means to a woman. But the story of Krishanthi haunts me to this day and I will take it to me grave. She was mass raped by Sinhalese Soldiers and died of exhaustion and when the mother went to look for her she was killed and when the mothers brother went to look for her he too met with the same fate. After one muslim soldier blew the whistle the soldiers were found gilty and sentenced. BUT MR FOUND IT JUSTIFIABLE AND PARDONED THEM. Where else would you find such a callous disregard for human life ( sadly a Tamil life ) other than in Sri Lanka under MR. And this is a daily experience of young Tamil girls in Tamil areas under army occupation.
    3) Killing of the brilliant Editor Lasantha and the trail leads back to MR but he is still in power whereas in a Civilised country he would be serving a life sentence.
    4) The Killing in Kelaniya of party activist by MRs accomplice Mervyn.
    5) The recent killing of the JVP ( who dared to criticise) mill owner.

    The vast majority of Sinhalese are racists and therefore MR is safe unless there is foreign intervention and that is likely to change soon.
    The only power player in Sri Lanka is India and who do you think is protecting MR from being delivered to the Hague. So far MR has manged to bribe every politician in India but that is likely to change soon as it is almsot certain that Mr.Modi and Miss Jeyalalitha will form the next government and she understands the Tamil Grievance and so does Mr.Modi.
    Sri Lankas sovereignity is limited to Indias security and India has total jurisdiction over Sri Lanka just as USA has over Cuba and you know what happened in Cuba. I remember when we had Ceguvera trouble in Sri Lanka Indian Soldiers arrived in Colombo with pots and pans without any invitation. Was there an outcry when MGR sent the Indian army did China intervene to stop it. Why do you think the Chinese defence minitsr went to India after his visit to Sri Lanka and that was to allay any concerns India may have and that is the ground reality whether the Sinhalese like it or not.

    I am convinced that the people of Sri Lanka are not going to make a regime change but that will be done by Mr.Modi and Ms.Jeyalalitha and believe me they will deliver MR to the Hague and Freedom Justice and Equlaity to Tamils. MR and his clan are not going to easily destroy 3000 year Tamil Culture and Heritage

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      Kali, please get your facts right.

      Krishanthi K. was raped and killed not in MR’s time but in Chandrika’s time. And a Sinhalese transaltor was a key witness in the trial which resulted in the conviction of a few soldiers. Why are you trying to twist the facts?

      I share your ager towards the government but using falsehoods to justify your argument only destros it. If you are looking for killings similar to Krishanthi’s in R’s time, better cite the killings of 17 ACF workers and the students in Trinco

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        Fazeela,

        I am not sure if you trying to defend MR or trying to find fault with me but you are damn right that I am seething with anger. It is a blot on mankind ( I mean the male species ) and I would never do it to any woman.
        I think you have got your facts wrong and if you care to read my script again you will see that I never said it was during MRs time and for your information I sat down to watch the Brazil match and started to read the whole story I think it was the Sunday Leader ( I cant remember) and I felt sick and did not watch the match.
        My dear sister the Sri Lankan history is littered with atrocities against the Tamils and I lost three generations of my family starting in 1958 during race riots and do you blame me for the way I feel.
        I can give you a list of killings of innocent civilians by the Sinhalese soldiers who were supposed to protect them. Please dont tell me about what is wrong and what is right as human suffering irrespective of colour or creed affects me and I have spent many nights crying. I dont know if you have heard of the Chabra & Chatilla Camps massacre by the Christian Phalange in Lebanon which happened the night before my exam and it affected me so much and I had to resit my exam

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    So So What?

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      You are 150% right Common Sense that is indeed Common Sense I am surprised you are still awake it is past your bed time. Sweet dreams babe.

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    Nary a word about charges misdemeanor attributed to the former CJ

    Mr. Senguttuvan’s remarks about a Golden Key depositor is suggested reading

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