2 December, 2023


The impeachment Of The Chief Justice Is A Prelude To Greater Militarisation

By Asian Human Rights Commission

After a series of attacks on the judiciary the Mahinda Rajapaksa government is now reported to be engaged in preparing papers for the impeachment of the Chief Justice (CJ). While the accusation against the CJ is not known the determination of the government to impeach her has been highly publicised. The state media have been mobilised to make a concerted attack on the judiciary.

Meanwhile there is also a bill being discussed which attempts to introduce several provisions which will limit the powers of the magistrates relating to arrest and detention and will increase the powers of the police.

The reasons for the hurried attempts to suppress the judiciary are not accidental. The project for the replacement of the democratic form of governance with a national security state where the military and the intelligence services will have enormous powers has been going on for some time. Impunity for almost all actions by the executive and the security forces against the freedoms of the individual has been assured now for many years. The allegations of serious abuses of human rights by way of enforced disappearances, other forms of extrajudicial killings, torture and kidnappings are never credibly investigated.

Now, according to reports there are moves to bring the military more directly into the policing system. It was reported that even the IGP may be replaced by a military officer as a police commissioner. Also the OICs and Divisional Police Chiefs will be replaced by Special Task Force officers. This will amount to a complete shift from the civilian policing which is an essential component of a democracy to military policing.

Such radical changes would naturally be resisted by an independent judiciary. Therefore there is an urgent need to put in place judges who will be willing to carry out whatever projects the government may propose. The impeachment of the CJ has therefore several purposes. One is to remove the present CJ and replace her with a friend of the executive and the second is to have a chilling effect on all other judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. The message is simple: anyone who will abide by the mandate to protect the dignity and the freedom of the individual as against the dictates of the executive is clearly not wanted among the highest judiciary.

The government, beset with serious economic problems will continue to impose harsher conditions on the population. The government knows that such measures will necessarily bring about retaliation from the trade unions and other organisations representing the ordinary folk. Such protests on the part of the people will be ruthlessly crushed and recourse to justice will be denied.

The government wants to pass a strong message to the effect that justice is no longer welcome. The courts will be required to approve whatever the government wants and the protection of the individual freedoms will be regarded as a hostile action towards the government.

Disappearances of persons and the disappearance of the system of justice

Over a long period Sri Lanka has been engaged in the large scale practice of enforced disappearances of persons. In the process justice has always been denied to the victims and their families. The practice of enforced disappearances amounts to the denial of all rights. This practice which has gone on for several decades has had a seriously paralysing influence on the entire system of justice.

Now the stage has been set for the destruction of the independence of judicial institutions altogether. These institutions have a history going back to 1802 when the Sri Lanka’s first Supreme Court was instituted. It is this legacy that is now being seriously challenged.

In a recent published book by a senior lawyer, S.L. Gunasekara entitled Lore of the Law and other Memories, the author quotes a prediction by another well known lawyer, D.S. Wijesinghe, President’s Council, “We now have a new Parliament and with it democracy vanished. We are now about to get a new Superior Courts Complex and with that justice will vanish“. With this attempt to file an impeachment on the incumbent Chief Justice this prophecy may come to a complete realisation.

While there are usual noises from some quarters protesting the impeachment move, there still does not seem to be a full grasp of the threat that the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka is faced with by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka or the legal profession. The end of the independence of the judiciary also means the end of the legal profession as an independent profession. The lawyers lose significant when the possibility of the protection of the dignity and the freedom of the individual is no longer possible.

It is perhaps the last chance available for everyone including the judiciary itself and the legal profession to fight back from the ultimate threat to the independence of the judiciary and the possibility of the protection of the dignity and the freedom of the individual in Sri Lanka. Many years of cumulative neglect has led to the possibility of the executive being able to come to a position to make a final assault against any challenge by way of demand for justice. Unless the gravity of this threat is fully grasped Sri Lanka will soon become like some countries which no longer have independent institutions to protect individual liberties.

The people of the north and east are already under military grip. It may not take a long time before the people of the south are also brought under the same grip.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0

    Are you saying what you say with any Journalistic responsibility? Or are you biased against the current regime? Or are you fishing to get the “viewed” counter up?
    ‘IF’ what you say is true, then there is cause for concern, ‘IF’ what you say is ‘literary art’ then that too raises a cause for concern, (journalists playing the merry devil) I do not know if this is true or not, but I would like to do my own little reserch into this. After all, Lord Buddha did say “ඒහිපස්සිඛෝ”, so…

    • 0

      Gautama also said if you have nothing to say don’t say it.

      You can be never be aware of the above because you were given the second hand dirty looking Mahawamse by the Indians who consider the followers as the former untouchables – go fetch.

    • 0

      Excellent analysis by Asia Human Rights watch. The whole diabolical Rajapass plan for destroying democracy and military dictatorship and dynastic rule becomes evident here.
      A people’s movement for regime change, like the Arab Spring is the need of the hour and the opposition must come together on the streets to send Gota the white van goon and the corrupt brothers including the uneducated Basil the thief who wants to turn poverty reduction into a political circus through the DiviNeguma Bill must be sent off to the Hague for a war crimes trial..

  • 0

    It seems the regime is running out of options and is now desperate to consolidate its position. Increasingly former sycophants and supporters are rebelling and questioning the policies of the regime. Hence this last ditch effort to assert absolute power by subjugating the judiciary. The victory of minority parties in the EP has delivered a strong message to the ruling junta. Also there is no doubt as to the way the NP will go if free and fair elections are held. The regime has also lost significant support amongst the majority community.

    Having temporarily stopped the revolt by students and dons they now want to subvert the last place where citizens can go to redress their grievances, the judiciary.

    A full scale military dictatorship is not possible but some degree of militarisation has taken place. However this too is a double edged sword where devolution of power to military officers could backfire and undermine the absolute power of the ruling family.

    It would be far better if the regime accepted the realities and arrived at a democratic political solution rather than postponing the inevitable and dragging the country into a abyss.

  • 0

    Sri Lanka is becoming like China. Everything in China is controlled by the Communist Party while the Rajapaksas’ want to control everything in SL.


    (Click links given above to read how China is ruled by the Communist Party, and how some of those despotic governing principles are been transplanted to Sri Lanka by the Rajapaksas’.

    Police under control of Forces : IGP out, major General as Police Commissioner

    (Lanka-e-News -27.Oct.2012, 10.30PM) The beleaguered Rajapakse regime is taking special measures to dismantle the Democratic Institutions , and transform the rule into an army Govt., according to reports reaching Lanka e news.

    This special and sly measure is to remove the present IGP post , and instead appoint a Major General of the Forces as a Police commissioner. By deceitfully using the present Police commission this appointment is to be made. Gotabaya Rajapkse had already informed the present IGP of the prospective changes stating that a police officer should be fully physically trained, duty conscious , efficient and likeable . Even the present police official uniform is to be changed .After Gotabaya’s return from India , as a first step he had instructed the IGP to arrange to bring the Police physical training division under a Major General of the Forces.

    The present IGP is to be dispatched in the early part of next year as a High Commissioner after sending him on retirement , and a Major General is to replace him as Police Commissioner.

    In most Democratic countries in the world, the police Force is not under the purview of the defense Ministry, and they only come under the Municipal Councils as a civil security force. In SL however , this has been completely perverted , and has been brought under the full control of the defense Ministry with a clandestine aim to creating an army administration .
    Even now as part of this measure , the OIC s of police stations and police chiefs in charge of divisions are being replaced by STF officers. 60 % of divisional police chiefs are of the STF.

    Though Gotabaya has lost his sense and direction and is muddling up the police force with ulterior motives , it is clear to anybody with a common sense that since the STF is a force that is created to fight in war , most STF officers appointed have no knowledge of or training in civilian control , crime investigations etc. as they are not experienced in those spheres. They haven’t the full competence in these directions. A high rung police officer said, this can cause multiple problems with the crime wave shooting up.

    • 0

      It is getting to be worse than China. In China the 30million CPC members and relatives own everything while in SL the Mahinda familia wants it all like the kings of yester year in a present civilized world so they would just end up as tyrants.

      STF was created from Police cadres during the first southern terrorism back in the late 60’s. The reason for this was because the politicians were closer to the police than the lame duck forces.

      Whether in China, India or Lanka it’s whom you know and how much you have in your pocket that counts when stopped for a seeming to be an offence or it’s guilty until proven not guilty.

  • 0

    blind man says:

    so what is the problem? can any one of you state with confidence – eureka!


    there is only one cause …. but you will never get it

    you are truly lost my countrymen

  • 0

    Police to be militarised,school pricipals given military rank,university entrants trained by military in ‘leadership’ which is an abstract subject of which they know next to nothing,a huge (27%)of the budget going to the armed forces who are the most ‘pampered’ public servants,military governers running the north & east,the stage is set for an undeclared Military Dictatership.
    Dissent is already curtailed & will be ‘abolished’ soon – those who dissent will be ‘traiters’.
    The stance of those MPs who ‘crossed over’ including the ‘leftists’ is disastrous. We are on the threshold of a great change in governance – for the worse.
    This regime couldnt care less about public & international opinion.

  • 0

    Impeachment of the Chief Justice together with the talk of the repeal of the 13th Amendment spearheaded by the Defense Secretary fully backed by the hardened Buddhist Nationalists NFF of Wimal Weerasansa, the JHU and the like is part of a well-planned agenda to establish a Militarised Buddhist Government. The left and the minority parties like the SLMCC who supported the 18th Amendment have no way of going back from the trap laid down by the hardline Buddhist Nationalists and are force follow the line, even unwillingly, on the move to impeach the Chief Justice.

    • 0

      “Militarised Buddhist Government” But you would not have any problem with theocratic Saudi dictatorship, Muslim boy?

      • 0

        What did the Buddhist backed Military junta in Burma did to the freedom and liberty of their own people and to Sui. Even if it happens in Saudi in the name of Islam it need be challenged and defeated.

  • 0


Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.