25 November, 2020

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The Government Treats The Law As The Enemy

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

Within this week alone there were three events directed against the lawyers who are opposing the impeachment of the Chief Justice. These were: the attempted attack on the lawyer, Gunaratne Wanninayaka, the President of Colombo Magistrate’s Court Lawyer’s Association and the Convener of People’s March; the shooting incident near the residence of the President of the Bar Association and Member of Parliament, Wijedasa Rajapaksa and the withdrawal of the security at the house of parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran who was among the most active lawyers working against the Impeachment.

All this has taken place when the local and international community has focused their attention on a single issue of demanding a fair enquiry by a competent and credible tribunal regarding the allegations against the Chief Justice. The government is in no position to answer the criticism brought against it of attempting the removal of the country’s Chief Justice without a fair inquiry.

The government’s problem is that it will have to take a step backwards from one of its highly advertised aims of removing the Chief Justice immediately if it were to do the right thing by way of providing for a credible inquiry. To admit that the Parliamentary Select Committee is not an acceptable avenue for such an inquiry and to admit that, anyway, the manner in which the PSC conducted the inquiry was shockingly unfair by any standards, seems to be something that the government finds hard to stomach.

The problem is that the government cannot be sure that a fair and impartial tribunal may arrive at the conclusions it wants. Indeed, such a tribunal may even come out with findings which may be adverse to the government. It may even reveal things that the government might not wish to have exposed, such as skeletons in its cupboard.

Faced with this situation the government appears to be falling back on the method that several governments in recent times have resorted to, that is to intimidate their opponents. Manufacturing chaos by acts of violence done by unidentified persons is one of the well-tested methods used in Sri Lanka quite successfully in recent times. In every case those who do such acts of violence are hidden and well protected and the government can always deny that it has anything to do with such acts of violence. On the other hand the would-be victims of such violence and the society as a whole can be intimidated by such acts.

There are well-trained cadres to carry out such actions. The Ministry of Defence has within itself total control of the methodologies by which society can be terrorised at any time. There are the paramilitary forces and the intelligence services and these are well provided with vehicles, communication technologies and personnel to carry out these operations.

While the lawyers and the Chief Justice herself have resorted to the courts as the ultimate resort on matters of law the government is boycotting the courts under various pretexts such as parliamentary privilege. Even one of the most primary notions of a society based on the rule of law and constitutionalism that the ultimate authority in the interpretation of the law is the courts ,is also ignored by the government.

It is starkly clear that it is the law itself that the government considers as the enemy. The Chief Justice is perceived as the enemy, not for any ethical reason as it is pretended, but the fact that she has interpreted the Constitution in a manner that is adverse to the government. The government wants judges who will interpret the Constitution in favour of the government. The heart of the conflict between the Chief Justice and the government at the moment is the law itself.

The senior lawyer, S.L. Gunasekara in his letter to the executive committee of the Bar Association clearly pointed out the attempt by the government to create what he calls, a ‘stooge judiciary’ as against an independent judiciary. The difference in the two is that while an independent judiciary treats the law as supreme a stooge judiciary treats the government as supreme.

Many commentators for and against the impeachment who are discussing acts which are ethical or otherwise, allegedly committed by the CJ, are missing the heart of the matter at the moment. That is the future of the law in Sri Lanka. What the government wants is a judiciary that will not oppose the proposed acts of the government on the basis of such actions being illegal. Legality and illegality is being made into a matter that is irrelevant.

The acts of violence that are taking place now are a reminder that all these concerns for the law will not be treated as friendly acts by the government. What the government demands is loyalty to itself, not loyalty to the law.

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Latest comments

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    The intimidatory tactics being adopted by the regime, we hope, will only stiffen the determination of the legal community to carry on their fight to its logical conclusion come hell or high water!

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    As a well paid campaigner for rule of law and independence of the judiciary, do yoy have any evidence about who ever who committed those attacks on lawyers?

    If you have any evidence, as a law abiding citizen shouldn’t you forward them to the police who are investigating these matters.

    If you haven’t got any evidence, it will be defamatory innuendo and you wi;ll be liable under the law for spreading vicious, baseless rumours on the internet, against decent people.

    You have lived in Hong Kong for so long, throwing stones at Sri Lanka, you have no pursuasive power in Sri Lanka.

    We know you are getting paid well for throwing stones!
    Shame on you.

    • 0
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      Jagath… you may not be from this world to find the regime is not behind these attacks?

      Folks like Basil/Thisaranee are doing a yeoman service to let the Sri Lankans all over the world updated with the truth and shameless animals like you are paid my the notorious regime to target those who comes against the regime.

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      Hey Mr Jagath arent you ashamed to shield this corrupt rogue junta, are you from outer space any street vendor knows what this regime is upto.

      Are you a paid up agent to defend this corrupt to the core regime in SriLankan history.

    • 0
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      Jagath, when you have your nose buried in someone’s backside, you cannot see anything! That seem to be your problem.

    • 0
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      Now they put everyone who writes or reacts against the prevailing thug and abusive manner of the ruling regime – as ones who work for dollars. Whatever is being said against ruling idiots and thugs – should be accepted by the folks to satisfy them… I am on my short holiday to home country these days, and get more info from common man – many of them are in the opinion that the current rulers are just thugs… President is more less become caricature to his own henchmen – and become most abusive leader in the entire developing world. For sure, this CJ case and the manner that the rulers investigate it will become the waterloo of them.

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      Man, Jagath, open your eyes and help the many that are alike u help the right thinking masses to go against the brutalities of the rulers.. Else, we will know no wayouts to come out of the problems that we the nation are facing today.

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    Government has always acted as if it is above the law. Since they have full control over AG’s department and the Police they think they can get away with murder. Even the PS chairman who was arrested for killing a UN staff member and gang raping his Russian partner is free on bail and it is one year after the incident. No action is taken because the police fiddle with the evidence.

    Same thing with the killing of Baratha Lakshman, Lasantha Wickrematunge etc. Police is not doing any serious investigation and destroying the evidence so the case is stuck and drags on in courts. Witnesses being harrased, silenced or bought over until the case is dead and accused goes scott free.

    Take the case of Koparage vermin, he commits all sorts of crimes but no investigation. Even his son managed to get out of jail and the Army officer victim is court martialled. This is the law according to this so called dharmishta Govt.

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    Keep accusing people “Matilda'” (a sinhala name is not good enough of course!) without evidence. This is rule of law for you, is it?

    If you have evidence the regime is behind, go to the police and tell them.

    Otherwise your innunendos will only poison your own blood my dear girl.
    You are the shameless animal who accuses people without evidence, like a female dog.

    • 0
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      @Jagath Dont you know the Police hire ups are their henchmen who trust the police even for an ordinary complaint unless with political connection .

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      Jagath, if you are demanding for evidence to punish someone, how come the Vermin from Kelaniya got away without any punishment when he tied a government servant (who may or may not have anything wrong, which is irrelevant to the issue anyway) to a tree which was shown on TV? Like I said, you seem to have your nose buried in someone’s backside, which obviously prevents you from seeing anything else!!!

    • 0
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      I wonder why guys like you cant see the depth of the problems – that the folks have been facing today.

    • 0
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      do you think that police would react independently ? MGD you may be dreaming.. check it out the manner how police reacted in the cases filed against the filthy mouth Mervin – these are most known cases that costed everyone s nerves… seeing the manner how incapable police service we have got. People like you that cant see further are a curse to this nation.. that is what I feel.. having heard and now even seen it … may be u belong to the masses that is represented by LEELA. … GOOD LUCK TO OUR NATION. … :(

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    This issue of impeachment and independence of the judiciary goes to the very heart of the illegal behaviour and impunity of the govt. That is why it has touched a raw nerve and is creating such a big uproar.

    It affects all issues regarding corruption, nepotism, human rights violation etc. If we have a strong and independent judiciary many of this countries problems could be solved through the courts.

  • 0
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    Matilda Ellepola, Jim Hardy, Peris Appu, you are one person, we know who you are.
    Secrectly you have your nose up the bum of spies at the US embassy in Colombo. You make a few dollars off them and score a few foreign trips.

    And you suck up to Rajapaksas in public.

    You are all about spying for foreigners to avenge the nation for the Premadasa government arrest. You’ll be behind bars before too long.

    Watch out!

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      This alone proves to the right thinking people of this country, that how stupid you and your buggers have been. But times are numbered… Just check it out for you, as the leader himself admited, that he was not aware of the impeachment process.. sounded though he is THOTHTHA BABA…. if you and you ilk would have a brain the size of a mustard seed, u could long understand this. But no worth even adding this to here intending your ilk would ever grasp it.

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      @Jagath your ignorant stupidity is thoroughly exposed Matilda, Jim, Peris are one person who else you want to add, this is how shameless ruling stooges defend themselves when barrage of criticism befall.

      It looks you sing for your supper, sorry very soon it will be deprived.

  • 0
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    There was someone here commenting as “Leela” before and most likey Jagath Jayaweera is the same person or paid by the same Rakapaksa account.

    To make these morons like Jagath Jayaweera understand the real damage that the present Junta is doing, you need a Sri Lankan spring and the way things are going, we all are heading for the right direction.

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      Dont worry, leela is either sick or going to be suffering from demencia. Her ilk will easily be manipulated by MR thugs and mechanisms. Meaning…her or his mentality is not that far from the village folks that always say ehei… ehei to yes yes even if they would be brutally murdered for Rajapakshes brutalities.

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    Why are you not publishing the views of Government Supporters. I am sending a copy if my comments to the Speaker. BASL President is a disgrace to all the legal fratanity in SrLanka. He is a UNP MP out to embarrass the Government through the BASL.He is a traitor. He should be thankful to the President who rid this country from terrorism which made it possible for him to hold street demonstrations and dash coconuts in places of religious worship. The Chief Justice is also a shameless woman trying to hold on to her position after being found guilty of misconduct . All those who support these traitors are themselves traitors. If not for Mahinda these traitors will be pulling rickshaws with the Sun God Prabkaran seated in the rickshaws. What were these pundits doing when the Tigers were holding courts and trying civilians and executing them in their Kangaroo Courts? The JVP also did the same in 1971? Where were these big mouthed freedom fighters then? Mahinda should sack the entire Supreme and Appeals Court Judges and appoint fresh members to the judiciary. The Government in power should not allow some crooks to run the justice system in the country.

  • 0
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    in order for you to create real dictatorship you have to first control judiciary system.

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