24 September, 2020

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The Armed Forces Are Now The Police

By AHRC –

On July 3rd 2013, President Mahinda Rajapaksa published a gazette that authorized the armed forces to engage in “the maintenance of public order”. Last week, he announced a new ministry under the title “the Ministry of Law and Order”. By these two acts, the Sri Lankan civilian police have been virtually reduced to nothing, and their function – which is to maintain law and order – has now been handed over to the armed forces.

The exact wording of the gazette notification from July 3 is as follows:

“BY virtue of the powers vested in me by Section 12 of the Public Security Ordinance (Chapter 40), I, Mahinda Rajapaksa, do by this order shall call out all the members of the Armed Forces specified in the First Schedule hereto, for the maintenance of public order in the areas specified in the Second Schedule hereto.” http://www.documents.gov.lk/Extgzt/2013/PDF/Jul/1817_31/1817_31%20(E).pdf

Mahinda Rajapaksa

The schedules include the army, navy and the air force, operating in every area of Sri Lanka.

Now the whole country is placed under emergency under the national security law and the armed forces can operate in the entire country for the purpose of “the maintenance of public order”.

The maintenance of law and order within the legal framework of Sri Lanka is the function of the police, and the task of the armed forces is to defend the country against external enemies.

The functions of the police and the functions of the military are completely different. The police do not deal with an enemy. The police deal with the civil society and assist in maintaining law and order within the framework of the rule of law. The operating framework of the police is the rule of law. The operating framework of the armed forces is the military law. These two things are so completely different.

The police, in carrying out their functions, have to do everything on the basis of the written law in the country. In fact, their sole activity is to ensure that the law of the country is obeyed by all.

In getting the civil society to comply with the law, the manner in which the police would act is also prescribed by the law. Every act that the police do has to be undertaken only within the framework of the prescribed law.

What happens when the armed forces enter into the maintenance of law and order is that their framework of reference is not the law but the commands of their superiors. The commanding framework is the military law. The hierarchy that the military take their commands from and obey is the hierarchy of their respective forces, namely the army, navy and air force.

When the police act in order to maintain law and order, their work is directly under the control of the judiciary. Every act they do, such as taking down complaints relating to crimes, investigations into complaints, arrests, detentions, interrogation of persons and filing charges, all have to be reported to the nearest magistracy. There is an unbreakable link between the magistrate and the police. This link also brings everything to center around the courts. The ultimate master of this process is the magistrate and the magistrate is answerable only to the higher courts.

When the military enters into the maintenance of law and order, the place of the magistrate and the courts become completely irrelevant. The military operating in the streets do not have to report their actions to the courts; nor are they obliged to take directions from the magistrate at every step that they take. In short, in this scheme of maintaining law and order, the magistrate is not the king pin. In fact, the particular persons who lead the armed forces units are masters to themselves, answerable only to his military superiors. If he does anything wrong, action could only be taken under military law.

What this means is that in Sri Lanka now, both the law and the courts have lost the place that they had within the normal administration of law and justice. Legality has to now been defined in terms of military legality. And justice cannot be understood within the normal framework of the administration of law but as “military justice”.

The demonstration of this was made at Rathupaswela, Weliweriya. Bringing the military to Rathupaswela took place under this new gazette notification from 3rd July 2013.

Many things that at first surprise everyone, such as the military conducting an inquiry into the alleged killings and other alleged violations of law and human rights, and calling citizens to come to the army camps to record statements instead of going to police stations, now become quite logical in terms of the “new order” brought about by this gazette notification. In the future, this kind of action will enter into every aspect of life. The familiar system of the operation of law has thus been displaced now.

In light of this, what happened by way of the removal of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake is better explained. In this setup, the independence of the judiciary and notions such as the separation of powers have lost significance. Such notions will now live only in the fantasy world of legal academics such as Dr. Mark Cooray. The reality has changed and the world out there, from a legal point of view, is now a different world.

It has been the problem of the lawyers and even some judges and other intellectuals that they could not understand the emergence of this new order despite everything that has happened since 1978, and even after the adoption of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Despite a few voices, like the Asian Human Rights Commission, pointing to what was happening over many years, Sri Lanka’s elite and the educated classes wanted to live in their own illusions or delusions.

The mere existence of courts or even the police, the wearing of wigs, lawyers carrying new law reports and statutes, various addresses that are made in the higher courts to ‘my lords’ and ‘my ladies’, all kinds of gestures – such as promises to have inquiries or trials – are merely a façade. This was pointed out by the Asian Human Rights Commission a few years ago, when it published “The Phantom Limb: Failing Judicial Systems, Torture and Human Rights Work in Sri Lanka”.

It is time for the civil society to wake up and move away from the worship of the phantom limb. The moment of truth has arrived. Now the police in Sri Lanka is the military and the experience that the people of the North and East are going through is now also the universal reality of everyone living in all areas of the country.

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Latest comments

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    Sri Lanka today is a dictatorship and a military state. Sri Lankan government is being advised by the Chinese Government and the proof of which can be seen in the following actions taken by the government.

    1. The naming of the new ministry under which the police is being placed is called – Ministry of Law an Order, this is a name that is not seen in any of the other countries other than China. In China the police force comes under a ministry called -法律和秩序部 -Fǎlǜ hé zhìxù bù- which in English is Ministry of Law and Order.
    2. Weliweriya incident is similar to Tianamen Square attack on the civilians.
    3. Military having camps all over Sri Lanka and getting involved in civilian activities. In the pretext of military getting involved in road construction and other civilian activities they establish camps even in Sinhal areas.
    4. As in China the order comes from the Defense Secretary on all security matters.
    5. Prevention of terrorism act is similar to that is practiced in China.
    6. Attack on media and ill treatment of prisoners and violence against religious organizations are similar to Chinese government actions.
    7. Creating religious structures that are outside the well established religious organizations such as Ravana Balaya and Bodu Bala Sena is similar to the Chinese Government establishing alternate Buddhist structures and even having a Dalailama of their own.

    There are many more copycat actions taken by Sri Lankan governments which are similar to what the Chinese government did or is doing. What does this say, it says clearly that the regime is being guided by the Chinese advisers and we are a state of China.

    • 0
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      We will eventually become a state of China and the future generation will be Chinese (father Chinese,mother Sinhalese)and Sinhala Language will lose its place as the official language??

      • 0
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        So What is the harm being treated by a biggest economy of the world. It is much better than living under India’s gunboat diplomacy or being a dumping site of the west or a British colony

        • 0
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          Ajith Kumar, are you so stupid! The day India decides to walk into Sri Lanka, do you think China will come to protect us? You are dreaming. When JR was there the mere fact of dropping Parippu from the air was enough to bend JR’s knees. This time India may have to find something else. Further if India supports any UN resolutions then either a permanent UN monitoring post will be located in Sri Lanka and in addition Sri Lankan leaders will be dragged before the War Crimes Tribunal, at that point China cannot do anything.

  • 0
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    Therefore Gaddaffi hid in a culvert, but the Rajapakses will have a final
    airlift from Hambantota Airport to Peking, when the time comes!!
    Presently MR is guided by Astrology and on advice is out of the Country
    for a few days – of course he has Myanmmar, Uganda and Belurus as
    places convenient in keeping with these cycles of “bad times”.

    • 0
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      Ideal place for Adhiwaashee family is Swaziland. That’s where the South Africans used to travel to do all sorts of illegal activities such as prostitution & gambling. MaRa and family can live like real bushmen and have fun too with the stolen money, and at the end will be gone like wild animals. Anyway they all look like gorillas.

    • 0
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      Dawalda? Achchige hette.

  • 0
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    Notwithstanding the bilateral relations between China and Sri Lanka, one of the wonders of economic development in modern history is that of China.

    From a rural, poor and malnourished nation it has risen to overtake Japan as the second largest economy after the US.

    The means employed by China, might be debatable and unfair or even unethical in some ways, but one needs to examine China’s phenomenal development before commenting on insignificant details that link it to Sri Lanka’s poor performance decade after decade.

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      If you have ever been to China and spoken to the people you will understand how they feel. You think China is strong, no its not. In Dollar or RNB terms, when compared to the earning of other countries they appear to be strong, but when compared in terms of standard of living, freedom of speech, democracy and distribution of wealth they are not strong, they are almost towards the bottom of the rank. Further poverty in China is growing faster than any other country. China is a bubble that is going to burst. The day the west decides to stop imports from China, China is done.

      • 0
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        You are right.

        I have seen documentaries about China, there are regions not small areas but larg regions where millions live under poverty. Their daily incomes can be comparable to those of far poor countries in Africa. Many just looking at the surface only seem to be making comments to this. It will take an half a century to improve those poverty levels in China.

        Their wishes to invest in our country is to represent them in the indian oceazen to face the challenges being against to their rival -India. Our donkey leader seems to have no vision. He is hiring chinese companies for lanken projects, not creating jobs for his own qualified forces. To give tenders to foreign companies is punishing local graduates and skilled workers on long run, in the same time, being further debted to China. Winner is the investor since his will be paid through out the next half century. If Rajapakshe loves the nation that much, he has to stop working with chinese but opening it for other foreign investors to come in generating more jobs for the locally educated graduates. Those graduates will only spend their earnings in SL, meaning that then cause country´s economy to grow rapidly.

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        i agree with what u say on china in terms of standard of living and democracy. But china is not a bubble that will blow up one day. China has given loans to US as well and the reason US has superiority on economy is the dollar. If chinese currency replace $ one day you will see US economy blow up.

        • 0
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          Chinese banking system is very secretive and backward. Unlike other countries and their banking system, in China bad debt is hidden or not recognized. Banks in China have a big crisis in their hands, the day they truly recognize all the bad debt they have in their hands they will know how weak the system is. Further they have been lending money to most of the bankrupt countries in the world, especially in Africa and they will never get those loans back. Even the loans given to Sri Lanka are at a higher interest rate than a business person can borrow from a Bank in the west. Further the money they give has a string attached to it, i.e. you have to buy Chinese and employ Chinese which does not do anything to the local economies that are paying high interest rates. Oh I forgot only the commissions paid to the politicians benefit the individuals who receive them.

  • 0
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    This is excellent. Translations must be posted at every street corner in Sri Lanka so that the people would understand how the Forces have crept into civilian life. It is a pity that a majority of Sri Lankan’s have either chosen to ignore this fact or simply do not understand the gravity of what is happening.

    In June this year, it was members of the armed forces who went door-to-door to ensure that gardens and homes were kept clean to fight the dengue mosquito. Where were the public health officials in this exercise?

  • 0
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    This gazzete notification on 3rd July was hardly noticed or mentioned in the media. Since Weliveriya incident was on 1st August, was this done with some prior intention to use the Army in such situations. What was the reason for this gazzete notification?

  • 0
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    This animal has betrayed the country again. This time attacking to high ranking international figure:

    Headlines on the international media are:

    “Respecting foreign dignitaries Sri Lankan Style: Mervyn’s marriage proposal”

    Even a domestic dog could behave better. Why the topleadership stays mum removing RADBID DOG out of the scence is unanswered by anyone.

    who is going to finally stop the guy ? This act is abysmal.

    • 0
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      They talk about new ministries to control law and order but letting and setting most known criminals in free. If anyone who would resepct the lowest level of law and order would go against the acts of Mervin. This time he has gone that far – internationally, they take that very serious.

      ALONE NOT REACTING ANY WRONG ACTS AGAINST MERVIN IS A MISTERIOUS ALMSOT EVERYONE TO THIS DATE.

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