VISIT OF PRINCE ZEID AL HUSSAIN
Posted on February 19th, 2016

Sugath Samarasinghe 

Prince Al Hussein has come and gone after a four days visit. Our big talking duo, who bragged to the BBC, Al Jazeera and the latter to the Indian Media a little earlier, that there would be no Hybrid Courts here eventually cowed down and surrendered to the Prince to say that whatever was agreed at the UNHRC would be complied with after all. In fact, in anticipation of this visit, the President changed his original position on this matter in his Independence Day speech to the nation. Good to know their true colours. Only the Mahanayake Theros stood firm on this vital issue of national sovereignty. May be because they subsist on the rice fields given by the Kings and the alms offered by the devotees. Anyhow that seems to be how the national issues are dealt with by the government these days.

Giving justification for the suggestion of the UNHRC for the need for international participation in the accountability mechanisms to deal with alleged international crimes and human rights violations, the Prince is reported to have stated that Sri Lanka’s key institutions for Criminal Justice are ‘corroded and corrupted’ during the three decades of conflicts though Sri Lanka had many excellent judges lawyers and law enforcement officers, over the years they had become highly politicized and unreliable etc. The country’s history is according to him have been littered with judicial failures”. He had said, virtually every week passes giving a news story about failed investigations, a mob storming some court house or another example of crime unpunished.

I was left wondering even if all these allegations were true or otherwise, how could he have got such a ‘comprehensive’ idea of all what had happened, in a visit of four days?! I am tempted to think so in the face of what is happening in all theatres of war and strife in the world in utter turmoil, how he was able to concentrate on what is happening on a daily basis in this tiny island of Sri Lanka? I hear in his words resonance of the Tamil Diaspora on this one sided picture. If decisions are going to be made based on such coloured impressions, the world body is bound to arrive at wrong conclusions.

Now let us examine some parts of what the visitor had stated.

The Prince is reported to have stated that Sri Lanka’s key institutions for Criminal Justice are ‘corroded and corrupted’ during the three decades of conflicts though Sri Lanka had many excellent judges lawyers and law enforcement officers, over the years they had become highly politicized and unreliable etc. The country’s history is said to have been ‘littered with judicial failures’. He had said, virtually every week passes giving a news story about failed investigations, a mob storming of court huses or another example of crime unpunished. I would challenge this statement. It may be that the Sri Lanka judiciary and other law enforcement institutions may have suffered some body blows during the 30 years of turbulence. But have they become ‘corroded’ and so corrupted that their capacity to dispense Justice is impaired? There are facts to the contrary. Let us take the Police Department. Despite all the allegations made, they were able to successfully investigate one of their own DIGs and obtain a conviction for murder. They had investigated a case of obstruction to a police OIC station by the Chief security officer of the then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and had him sentenced to jail. They had successfully investigated several cases of rape and murder of Tamil individuals during the fighting and had the accused sentenced to jail. Thus, as much as there are failures with all police forces in the world, it could be said that our police had done well under high pressure. Another police may have collapsed completely like in Sierra Leone. At least this is the country we have an instance where an Inspector General was asked to resign when he failed in a riot control effort.

In regard to the Military, it has already established its credentials as a professional outfit as the only military in the world that defeated an opponent admitted by the FBI to be the most dangerous terrorists in the world, on the battle field comprehensively which feat no other security force in the world has achieved so far. We saw on television news casts from the battle fields, the manner in which the armed forces rescued over 285,000 civilians held by terrorists as a human shield, at great cost to the military personnel involved. This again is an achievement that no other military in the world could boast. Though there may be an occasional case of individual misbehavior by military personnel fighting under grave stress and danger, as would be natural in any conflict, it was known that the government was working towards a clearly spelt out zero casualty goal. Anyway these failures will be nowhere near the million civilians that killed by the US and UK forces engaged in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and now in Syria, for which there are no war crimes inquiries initiated by the UNHCR headed by the Prince. He has no qualms of conscience here.

Now let us turn to the Judiciary. Despite being under pressure under terrorist terror the Sri Lanka Judiciary has stood firm. Late Justice Ambepitya was not intimidated by terrorism when he found Prabhakaran guilty and sentenced him to 200 years’ imprisonment. This decision was handed down amidst thick of terrorism where an attempt was made on the Army Commander and the Secy. Defence. That investigation was itself remarkable for the reason that a Police Sergeant dared to visit the house of a suspect in Muttur deep in the Eastern Province under Tiger control, to collect an object containing a finger print of Prabhakaran to secure this successful conviction against Prabhakaran while he was still alive. The same judge was killed engineered by a drug dealer who was imprisoned by him after conviction. This case too was successfully investigated by the police and the judges that comprised a Trial at Bar had no hesitation in finding him guilty. One could imagine if our judiciary had failed on that occasion how the drug cartels would have taken over this country backed by the Under World. Another judge had the courage to find guilty of former President of the country of effecting a fraudulent transaction in connection with the Water’s Edge property. She was fined by courts and I believe the fine was duly paid. The same judge on another occasion brought out a ruling against the conduct of the security forces at a Check Point in Colombo. There have been many instances during this period where the judges have upheld claims by the Public when they complained of violation of their Fundamental Rights. I could go on listing many instances if not for the constraints of space.

As far as I know, there have been only two instances where the supposed to be aggrieved groups of public engaged in mob attacks on court houses. One was in the Magistrate’s Court in Mannar and that too at the instigation of a Minister. The other was the recent incident at the Homagama courts where some Buddhist monks protested against the remanding of a belligerent monk. The important thing is that in both instances the Magistrates stood by their decisions. The other situation was when Prabhakaran had set up his own police and a courts system where his fascist control prevailed for a short time. That too is no more now that terrorism is wiped out in that part of the country. So the Judiciary in this country which has a proud history of over 150 years have held firm during this crisis time too. They say, the finest steel has to go through the hottest fire”. Our Judiciary has stood this test. Thus is well qualified to try the allegations of war time crime, missing persons inquiries or accountability issues. I am sure, given the chance they will prove themselves. The only technical assistance they may need may be to tell them how to avoid laws’ delays which is a bane in this country.

The Prince is said to have mentioned among other things that the government should reduce the number of military personnel in the North and East. Now is not this remark by the prince outside his mandate? What is his business here? As we understand, it is the prerogative our government to decide where to station its troops and how many in a place. He is not a military expert nor was he consulted on this. He is further said to have stated that the military should accelerate the return of land it has ‘seized’ in the North and East. Here too what is his status? Is it not the business of the government and the military? In the rest of the country, when the government requires land for any public purpose, they do it by gazette notification and after payment of compensation to the owners. Why should it be different in the case of the North and the East? Why should the rest of the country be discriminated against?

Sugath Samarasinghe

4 Responses to “VISIT OF PRINCE ZEID AL HUSSAIN”

  1. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Sugath, did you know that your PRINCE was in a mental hospital, in Jordan, and until King Al-Husain passed away? His son King Abdulla released him. A Big mistake.

  2. dingiri bandara Says:

    Zeid Al Hussain should investigate into the human rights violations by Middle East Islamic countries including Saudi Arabia which continues occur. Whatever allegedly happened n Sri Lanka was due to the actions of fighting the worst error group in the world.

  3. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    ZEID WAS GROWLING THREE MONTHS PRIOR TO HIS VISIT TO SRI LANKA. HIS WELL PAID ALL INCLUSIVE PACKAGE TO SRILANKA WAS PROBABLY MET BY ONE OF HIS PAYMASTER, THE TAMIL DISPORA. HE GROWLED, HE CAME, HE EARNED A PRINCELY TITLE AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE UN OFFICE, HE GROWLED AGAIN, HE LEFT, GRRRRRR.

  4. jay-ran Says:

    Mema RANIL-WAIRAPAALA AANDUWA AHINSAKA HITAPU JANAPATI TUMAGE PAULE UDAWIYATADA,DEMALA LTTE THRASTHAWAADAYA VISHA KARANTA DIVI NOTHAKA MEHEYAK KALA<MAHINDA ,GOTAGE PAULAE UDAVIYATADA,THRVIDHA HAMUDAWATADA,THRIVIDA HAMUDAWE RANAVIRUWANTADA ANEKA THARAM WADA HINSA KARANA DEWAL KALAKANNI ZEIDTA PENENNEY,EHENNEY NEHA.THAWADA RAJITHA SENARATHNA KIYANA WANCHA KAARA minihaata ALLAS COMMISION EKEN 5s 6 watahaawak kendawala thiyenawa muge HORA GANU DENU GENA!!! Numuth MEKA GIHING NEHA???
    Aney bola BATALANDA MINEEMARU Ranilo,Wairaisenayo,MOKADA MEWA FCID EKATA DAMANNE NETHTHE????

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