4 December, 2020

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The Shameful Ending Of A Prefab Impeachment

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“The first waves of a sea of fire….” Ivo Andrić (The Bridge over the Drina)

The Rajapaksas, those Wonder-Brothers, have wrought another miracle. They have beaten Usain Bolt, hollow.
The impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake deserves to enter the annals of world history and the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest impeachment proceedings, ever.

The impeachment motion was handed over to the Speaker on 1st November 2012. The Parliamentary Select Committee was appointed on 15th November 2012. The PSC commenced impeachment hearings on 23rd November 2012. The PSC, sans its 4 opposition members, concluded its hearings on 7th December 2012 – though this fact was not formally announced either in parliament or outside. The truncated PSC handed over its impeachment report to the Speaker on 8th December 2012.

The PSC completed the impeachment hearing in 14 days and prepared its report in less than 24 hours!
Such breathtaking efficiency! Such dizzying speed! Bravo!

If there is any justice in this world, the seven UPFA members of the PSC, who did such a stellar job on behalf of their Masters, should receive top-notch ministries at the upcoming cabinet reshuffle. And they should always be found innocent, ipso facto, by the Rajapaksaised-judiciary which the impeachment aims to usher in.

117 Rajapaksa serfs signed the impeachment motion, even though they were not allowed to read it. 7 Rajapaksa serfs conducted an impeachment investigation, knowing that they must find the CJ guilty as charged, irrespective of evidence. The same seven Rajapaksa serfs concluded the investigation without even informing the parliament and placed their signatures on a pre-cooked impeachment report, with the pre-decided guilty verdict.

All was done on the orders of the Rajapaksa liege-lords, who took care to keep themselves officially insulated from the impeachment process, while ordering their serfs to do the dirty work from behind the scenes. Interestingly, revealingly, neither Uncle Basil nor Nephew Namal signed the impeachment motion.

The Rajapaksas could have taught the inquisitors and the witch-hunters a thing or two, about speedy and unnatural injustice.

A Regime sans Shame or Justice

The final outcome of the impeachment drama was never in doubt. The Rajapaksas are hell-bent on getting rid of the CJ; therefore the UPFA majority in the PSC would have found her guilty as charged, with or without evidence.
Still, had the Rajapaksas so wanted, they could have handled the impeachment process with at least a pinch of restraint and a touch of finesse. For instance, the PSC Chairman could have agreed to the removal of Ministers Rajitha Senaratne and Wimal Weerawansa since they could have been replaced by two other invertebrates. Or the CJ could have been given the five week period she asked for to prepare her defence, since whatever evidence she came up with would not have mattered an iota to the final verdict. Or the Opposition’s request for a pause in the impeachment proceedings during parliamentary vacation could have been acceded to.

All these concessions could have been made without jeopardising the Rajapaksa goal of impeaching the CJ. Being nuanced and restrained would not have prevented the Rajapaksas from achieving their heart’s desire of getting rid of Shirani Bandaranayake and appointing a completely supine acolyte to that position. In fact had the Rajapaksas cloaked their inflexible goal with a nuanced approach, they could have generated a genuine public debate about the impeachment and gained themselves some badly needed legitimacy in international eyes.

But the Rajapaksas did the opposite. They used their two-thirds majority in the PSC with the finesse and the accuracy of a cudgel wielded by a mammoth, über-strong but ham-handed ogre. Their seven PSC-stooges rejected every single request made by the CJ and by the opposition members. And by acting in such a blatantly unfair and unjust manner the Rajapaksas exposed the impeachment for the travesty it is, to their own discredit.

Did the Siblings think that the CJ would not fight back? Did they assume that that the legal fraternity would be too divided to rally round the CJ and that the civil society would maintain its usual somnolence, in the company of the political opposition? Did they hope to use the likes of Wimal Weerawansa, Rajitha Senaratne and Dilan Perera to reduce the CJ to a weeping wreck, too demoralised to fight back? Did they believe that a suitably chastised CJ would gratefully accept an offer of freedom from persecution and another job – and fade away into oblivion?

Are the Siblings too inane to realise that their original script looks extremely out-of-place in the new conjuncture created by the CJ’s determination to resist and the growing sympathy and support she seems to be gaining from the legal fraternity, the polity and the civil society? Don’t they understand that the impeachment travesty will undermine their credibility nationally and destroy whatever is left of their reputation internationally?

The UPFA majority in the PSC, left to its own devices, would have delivered the guilty verdict the Rajapaksas wanted in a far more credible way. But that is not how the Rajapaksas rule. They want things their way. And their way is the way of the Humanitarian Operation; ensuring zero-civilian casualty not by taking precautions but by imposing a blanket censorship and labelling every dead Tamil (man, woman, child or baby) a Tiger.

Under Rajapaksa tutelage the impeachment was transferred from a constitutional act into a political chainsaw massacre, with blood and gore galore. And the message it sends is clear: if you stand in the Rajapaksa way and not only will you be removed, but you will removed in a manner which maximises your pain, your suffering and your humiliation.
Obviously the Rajapaksa idea of a proper trial is exactly the same as the Rajapaksa idea of a proper election – a manifestly biased process with prearranged outcome, characterised by power-abuse and impunity.

Anti-democratic and unjust conduct has become a visceral habit of the Rajapaksas, something in their political-blood. The Rajapaksas abuse power blatantly and act with manifest injustice during any election, including the ones they can win very easily. It is as if they have forgotten that there can be other, more intelligent and less destructive, ways of achieving their goals.

According to Greek mythology, Zeus sent two gifts to mankind to help men in the task of governance: aidos – shame – and dike – justice. That the Rajapaksas lack both qualities is clear from the manner in which the impeachment process was conducted. (Ministers Wimal Weerawansa and Dilan Perera treated the CJ with uncouth rudeness because that was what their puppet-masters expected them to do. Had they been told by the Rajapaksas to treat the CJ with the deference her position demands and the politeness which is due to every human being, they would have done so. Their ‘brief’ was the opposite – confound and demoralise the CJ by subjecting her to verbal abuse).

Rulers who have neither a sense of shame nor a sense of justice can plummet to the lowest of depths, unhesitatingly and repeatedly. For them everything is permitted. Such leaders are a disgrace to the country they rule and a danger to the people whose destinies they control.

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Latest comments

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    Why does Sri Lanka have rulers of this nature at the helm? Is it because we deserve them. Who is worse ? Ranil or Mahinda? Is Ranil that vindictive that, in an instance like this , he could not put the country first? Then go to the Jayasooriyas Premadasas jayasekeras, and so on and so on. Where are they? Fiddling and smacking Their lips waiting for their chance to do the same as the Rajapaksas. .

    I do not think one member in that Parliament deserves a single of our votes ever again. These are selfish , self serving ,greedy, stupid individuals who have hoodwinked all of us . They actually sat in that airconditioned essembly and did nothing. Did any of these people’s representatives come out to join the public to protest what is happening? Other than for the govt. MPs who got hold of the gullible GK investors and bought them coconuts. Not one even opened their mouths. The opposition is waiting for the imbecile Ranil to die?

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      Almost all of our parliamentarians (government and opposition) are insincere, selfish greedy unsympathetic hypocrites. We have seen how eleven clowns joined the media blitz in full make-ups dressed in white. However, the way CJ resisted seems genuine and heroic. The seven clowns in office scored a point to earn more perks. The four clowns scored a point to dreaming the same in a government run by them. They are not visionaries worthwhile running a legislature.
      I don’t think these monkeys will be given office except for cornflakes, ham, bacon, honey, beef, fork….etc offered for meals in parliament. Dogs are given only meals for safeguarding their master and the house. Citizen Silva is in right perspective. The master in waiting is the same. We don’t need another master with his watch dogs. It’s a waste of time to watch the same drama with different actors. What difference can he make?

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      I curse the idiots of my country who elected these scumbags to Sri Lanka’s Parliament.

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        Ben Hurling,

        The people cannot be blamed. The choice was between scumbags and scumbags. The people had no choice in the matter in reality, they were voting for a party or group of parties and making a choice from party lists.
        Some scumbags are brought into parliament anyway through the national list.

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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          Dr. Narendran. I highly value your unbiased views in most cases but I would not say ‘people cannot be blamed’. People had a choice but were brained washed (by govt controlled media) to believe that Rajapaksa scumbags were patriots!! In reality, they were’pseudo- or oppotunist-patriots. Well, our parliament is full of scumbags!!

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    Please comment on the below link.

    http://www.thecommonwealth.org/news/34580/251758/071212chogm.htm

    It’s the least we can do.

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    The transposition of parliament into a Kangaroo court that carries out a cruel and farcical inquisition of the CJ,violating every tenet of natural justice represents the ultimate degradation of the great ideal of a legislative branch of government that is supposed to represent the “people” in whom power is vested in a constitutional democracy.Instead where MP’s must be the servants of the people they have become our masters. MP’s are feared rather than loved. Despised rather than respected. Nowhere else in the world do you see such bumptious arrogance, conceit, and vanity and the complete indifference of the elected towards their electors – assuming they have been ligitimately elected which is another question. In this situation whether under the guise of constitutional democracy a society can transpose to a “tyranny by parliament” is a fair question !

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    I believe the Rajapaksas in trying to Impeach the CJ in the manner they did, have Impeached themselves. Now it is up to the Public to give the verdict to the Rajapaksas they deserve. If the Public fail to, there is no point in blaming this one and that one. Over to you the Public.

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    This was a forgone conclusion! Farcical and tragic.

    Rajapksas are heading the way of Mubarak, Saddam, Gadafi and now Assad.History does repeat.

    Sooner or later the Asian Spring will emerge, and then real justice will be served.

    Meantime, cry the beloved country!

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      Mohamed,I have doubt about that, Meddle Eastern Spring is running by heart to save and promote the religion, IN Sri Lanka, Lankans can buy out for 10000 rupees. Still we could not protest one day, how we can protest months like Syria. All Sri Lankans including lawyers, Unions, stupid selfish doctors, they all are “GARANDI” without back bone. Specially Doctors(FREE loaders) Who lounge strike when they have to sign a book for duty. They are busy with making Blood money

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    You reap what you sow. Good lesson for all those stooges who go behind this oppressive, dictatorial regime. This very C.J read out all the pre written verdicts many occasions. She is the one who signed for the verdict allowing the regime dictator to remain in power as longer as he wishes(not the general public). And she authorised all kangaroo courts decisions given against General Sarath Fonseka. We have created a dictator and now we have nothing much to do other than waiting looking at the sky until the God removes him. But never loose faith, because when the time is right the god will definitely do the utmost and will uphold the righteous of humanity. May the curse of God be with all those who voted and support this dictatorial corrupt regime to be in power. Shameful Srilankans, you all are shame to the humanity.

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    Souldn’t the impeachment be even quicker if possible to serve justice to litigants who are facing court at present.

    There is no provisions to interdict the CJ even with full pay.

    The judges who rushed to please the CJ at short notice, may not be able to deliver indipendent decisions as long as the CJ remains in charge and even if she volunteers to stay away from the many cases where she has an interest.

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    I feel so ashamed of myself. For a few crumbs of bread I have sold my soul. Lord forgive me!

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      Glad to see that the scumbag realized the reality!

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    CJ’s impeachment issue became a political matter than finding whether she is an innocent person or guilty which is regretful. My personal opinion is whoever site on CJ’s chair should be very clean though politicians are otherwise. We as individuals are living in a clean manner nobody can erect fingers at us. So why cannot CJ?

    If she didn’t involve any doubtful way; can neither Rajapakse nor anybody erect their fingers at her???????

    If I were her (as CJ of the country),

    1. I never give Power of Attorney to my sister to by a Ceylinco house because it is owned by Ceylinco group and they undergo a series of litigation issues.
    2. I never allow my husband to give a NSB loan when other directors are opposing.
    3. I will never appoint new judges using my power who were hearing Ceylinco case.
    4. I will very careful about opening and closing my bank accounts and I will make sure to divulge my all details to the government without forgetting or/and hiding.

    Inline with above, I request people who are blindly supporting CJ to reply my below questions ?…….

    A. Cannot any citizen suspect as she got a millions worth house from Ceylinco as a bribe under her sister’s name?
    B. Why did she close millions worth bank accounts few days prior to show her income to the government? Didn’t she have any uncorrupted mind?
    C. As mentioned above, has she given weapons to Rajapakses?
    D. My simple point is, going through above; can anyone say her act was unsuspicious?

    I think there are very valid points to investigate her side. Having said reasonable doubts no point to talk nonsense by certain people.

    Prior to president said (yesterday) I wrote to LB website and requested to appoint a three member former Supreme Court panel of judges and investigate to see whether 3 out of 5 charges proved by the PSC are correct. We shouldn’t say blindly to stop any impeaching or investigation against her.

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    Sarath. Agreed to your allegations against the CJ.
    But justice must not only be done but it must also be seem to be done.
    That’s what is all about. What form of Justice did she have ? Kangaroo court !! Yes

    Do you strongly believe that if she held with Rajapaksha she would have been impeached. Get away to reality and speak the truth and not for your gain. Remember you pay for your own sins. Don’t get involved as a cog in this wheel of corruption

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