SRI LANKA: It is not enough to ‘cry for the country’-The implications of the failure to prosecute Duminda Silva
Posted on October 19th, 2011

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission

The editor of the Sunday Leader, in an article entitled ‘The law is an ass’ questions the statement by a government spokesman that Duminda Silva is not a suspect in the killings of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and three others. Some members of Bharatha Lakshman’s family also condemned this in the bitterest terms and expressed their lack of faith in due process being carried out as there are powerful persons protecting the alleged culprits.

The editor of the Sunday Leader stated: “I cry not for Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra but for my country“. The Asian Human Rights Commission, however, has expressed repeatedly and consistently since the late 1990s that Sri Lanka is suffering an exceptional collapse of the rule of law. The geographical entity known as Sri Lanka does, in fact, exist, however, as a legal entity organised under the rule of law it does not. From the point of view of the citizen what matters is the grounding of the nation on the basis of the rule of law. Where this has ceased to exist the citizens no longer matter and citizenship itself matters very little.

By the last days of his life Bharatha Lakshman, who spent his entire life as a committed politician realised that he did not really matter. These speeches delivered in the last few weeks of his life, which are available in YouTube, should be treated as lessons taught by a mature politician who was trying to communicate to the citizens the tragedy faced by Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s legal community, the intellectuals, the media and also, for the most part, civil society, treated our analysis of Sri Lanka’s collapsed rule of law system as an exaggeration. Holding on to an illusion that the country has not suffered a great fall in terms of its basic legal structure has prevented a concerted attempt being made to deal with this catastrophe. The absence of a political understanding of the depth of the crisis has prevented the emergence of a political will to give rise to the kind of actions required to deal with such a great tragedy. Even now it is no longer enough to ‘cry for the country’. It is time, at last, to realise that we are, legally speaking, not an organised society at all and that there is no way to protect any of the rights of any of the citizens. For a detailed analysis of this theme kindly see (The Phantom Limb and Gyges’ Ring).

What are the implications of the failure to prosecute Duminda Silva

The following are some of the consequences:

1.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  All business transactions and even human transactions will suffer from the unscrupulous actions of persons who will refuse to respect the law. Already this situation exists to a large degree. Guns, goons and the police and politicians acting illegally have a great influence in business activities both big and small. Those who have influence with the criminal elements and the politicians that support such elements will ensure that the ‘cake’ only belongs to them. Of course these persons will fall out with each other and resort to the same tactics against their former friends.
2.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Crimes will rise in quantity as well as in depravity. Just within the last two weeks or so there were three horrendous crimes reported: one of an English teacher in Negombo suspected of being killed by a couple who were both business persons in order, as it appears, to rob her of some gold items worth a little more than Rs. 100,000/= (US$ 1000). They kept the body hidden in their shop for several hours and then transported it to a secret location where they dumped it; at Udawelawe a whole family consisting of the father, mother, a 14-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl were shot dead inside their house and once again, seemingly over some business related matter — why was there any need to kill these young children? It appears that the sole reason is that it was easier to kill all four that to select only the one that the person who contracted the killers had a dispute with. The details of this incident are yet unclear and whether the whole story will ever be told is doubtful; and then there is this incident in which during broad daylight a member of parliament, after assaulting the wife of a local government member barricaded the roads, stopped Bharatha Lakshman and others who were traveling, provoked a dispute, allegedly firing a shot himself, before ordering his gang members to open fire. If one were to list the most gruesome crimes of the recent months it would be a long list. The more the criminals realise that the law enforcement is no longer strict and that the room to bargain their way out is quite open there will be more and more crimes.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 
3.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The branches of the administration of justice and the officers who work therein will enjoy little confidence from the public. Already the confidence level is very low and the blatant impunity available even to alleged murderers will lead to the treatment of these institution and their officers as irrelevant. When this cynicism is as deep rooted as it is now the argument that there are still good officers will mean very little. Good officers who are powerless will only confirm the belief that the law no longer matters.
4.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In political life activities which are related to democracy such as elections will be treated more as a faƒÆ’†’ƒ”š‚§ade that having any effectiveness or meaning. Already this feeling is quite widespread. The Duminda Silva incident will reconfirm this lack of faith in the democratic institutions and various activities that go under the name of democracy. The powerful will blatantly flout the law being assured that no adverse consequences will follow.
5.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The executive and the Ministry of Defence of which the president’s brother is the secretary, will be the only important political institutions in the country. De jury the executive president will be more important but de facto, the Ministry of Defense will be of greater importance. These two political institutions will devour the powers of all and even determine what is murder and what is not.
6.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The younger generation of the country will grow up not knowing what the rule of law means. They will see the law of the mighty and the law of the jungle as quite normal. What kind of moral and ethical attitudes they will imbibe is hard to guess. Can they be blamed if they would say, like one of the young men who wrote to us recently, “I have to live in this Godforsaken country.” The younger generation that does not have the benefit of an organised and decent society is the one that deserves the greatest attention.

Obviously it is not enough to ‘cry for the country’. It is time to come to a reckoning about what has, in fact, happened. The sooner the people realise that the very foundations of their beliefs have been lost the better it will be for all. Then more sane and sober reflections will emerge and it is these reflections that will give rise to mature approaches to fight for a law-based society.

# # #ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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12 Responses to “SRI LANKA: It is not enough to ‘cry for the country’-The implications of the failure to prosecute Duminda Silva”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    In this instance, I totally agree with the Asian Human Rights Commission’s view. If the evidence given by the editor of the Sunday Leader is used for prosecution of Sarath Fonseka in the white flag case, why can’t they make note of what editor says and take legal action against the man who instigated killing of their own party member Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, just because Premachandra was against drug peddlers. As Douglas says The people of Sri Lanka are at the present moment lamenting ” Aney, Anichchan. Mokada Me Wenne”. (Alas, what is hapepning). After winning and eradicating the ruthless “terrorism”, this Govt. is unable to win the war against its own clan of “Terrorists”.( Read Whither Sri Lanka? Mahinda Gunasekera Canada

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    These implications are all rubbish.

    This is not the first time a MP or a senior politican was involved in killings.

    Remember JRJ was the second accused of the SWRD Bandaranayaka murder case in 1959?

    He killed with impunity. Nothing happened to him.

    Same with that Batalanda murderer in 1989.

    Did any of these “implications” happen? No. Its not different this time.

    The right approach is to ABOLISH the executive presidency.

    But the opposition is not supporting that. They NEVER did. Why? Because they are WORSE criminals and they too need this IMPUNITY.

    Those who shy away from the need to ablish the executive presidency are the real PROTECTORS of criminals.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    Asian Human Rights Commission has no credibility. No one gives a flying f*rt about them.

    They SELECTIVELY take up cases and exaggerate matters to favour their POLITICAL motives.

    However, the killers must be punished.

  4. OaO Asithri Says:

    Indeed, is it not strange that I have never seen any protest from this Asian Human Rights Commission when the LTTE racist-separatist terrorists were carrying out mass killings in Sri Lanka?

    Yes, I do not recall this so called AHRC ever writing a note of protest to the Western nations asking that LTTE’s lifeline, the thousands of millions of Dollars/Pounds/D-Marks fundraising that was being done in the West then be snuffed out so that innocent civilians in Sri Lanka would not die by horrific bus/train/supermarket/office-building bombings, the bombings that went on for 30 years with not a pip of a protest from this AHRC.

    Virtually all Sri Lankans agree on the need for justice (re. this shoot-out) and the duty of the GOSL to bring the guilty parties to face consequences, irrespective of their political connections.

    However, the danger is when avowed anti-SL elements such as this Fredrica Janz and this AHRC come out of the woodwork and parasitically use these unfortunate events to surreptitiously further their own vile agendas.

    OaO Asithri

  5. Leela Says:

    Let’s be honest, in spite of few miscreants and few mishaps Sri Lanka that Janz says she wanted to cry is; today, a relatively free country.

    When I cried for Sri Lanka, LTTE had been blasting our buses, trains and public places with their suicide bombers maiming and killing the old young and the sick and few editors like Janz were mollycoddling the terrorists. I say; Janz cries for Sri Lanka not only because she and her clique failed to put their chosen man at the helm but they couldn’t change the leadership of their beleaguered party.

    See the difference between the Sri Lanka that Janz wanted to cry and I wanted to cry.

  6. sarath Says:

    I agree with the asian human Rights organisation not becuase that is is an unbiased organisation becuase on principle rule of law is essential. We can’t justify by saying that UNP did this when JR was there or AHO didn’t raise when LTTE did this to us. If we allow such fundamental mistakes then we are on the wrong side of the justice. We must think in the position of Paratha’s family and think what would I do if that happens to me. It is not party politics, It is about the principle of the country and its people. Politicians come and go but the principles on which we build the nations will stand for ever.
    God Bless the Nation.

  7. aravinda Says:

    Where was this “Asian Human Rights Commission’ when 6million were murdered in Vietnam, Kampuchea and Laos? Where was it when 750,000 civilians were slaughtered in Iraq? Where was it when Atomic bombs were dropped on civilian populations in Japan? Where was it when LTTE, financed from overseas terror supporters killed 70,000 in Sri Lanka? This is another ploy to destabilize Asian countries and retard their development.

    What happened in Sri Lanka need to be investigated and guilty punished. Sri Lankans can do it. Others and mind their own business. We would never hear this AHRC criticize Human Rights abuses in Baharain? Why is that? I Suppose they are too rich and home to an American base.

  8. AnuD Says:

    OaO ASithri:

    When are we going to admit that our country has a problem and stop thinking and analyzing everything in terms of Listen only to those who supported war against LTTE ?

    JRJ’s deputy defence minister, a retired DIG from upcountry had been accused for killing his own brother.

  9. douglas Says:

    I, in my opinion do not respect or hail this Asian Human Rights Organization as a true and honourable custodian of Human Rights. Their inaction and blatant observance of silence during the thirty years of atrocities committed against humanity by the Terrorsit outfit called LTTE, proves beyond reasonable doubts that this is an organization that could be bought over for anything and every thing.

    Having said that, I do not hesitate to agree with what is said about this particular situation of the murder that took place on the eve of a local election in Kollonnawa. That is because, we Sri Lankans are capable of assessing situations on merit of each case and will never be bought over for anything which puts us in comfortable seats.

    Unfortunately, even the Powers occupying the high positions in the Government make idiotic statements when interviewed by the press and give ample opportunity for these organizations to make capital out of situations. I am referring here to the press interview given by cabinet Minister Rajith Senaratne to Dail Mirror reported on Oct. 20, 2011. The very caption says “Gota didn’t know about underworld links”. He continues to say to a question refering to Defence Secretary, quote ” Defence Secretary is not a politician and he is new to the country. He has bee living in America for a long time. Even the President accepts that he doesn’t know much about these people; therefore if anyone calls him he will go there for some function. I don’t think that the Defence Secretary would have ever known about the underworld movements or weaponry or any of this”.

    Just imagine to what level this person in authority – Minister in Government, put the whole administration to disrepute and provide ammunition to this type of organizations waiting like hawks to destabilize the country. Of course, it must be stated that this Minister is yet to deny this statement, and if not, we will have to accept it as true reporting. In the same manner, the Director General of the Media Centre of the Defence Ministry had cleary stated that Mr. Duminda Silva is not a “suspect” indicating that he is not guilty of any crime.

    What do you think of all these developments? The whole country, meaning the public, refer to this person as “kudu Duminda” and it is well known and identified as a “kingpin” in the drug trade and a notorious person who has connections to the underworld and a questionable character. But ironically, of all the people, Defence Secretary, who is a hero to us, is not aware of his involvements even though he is the “Supervising Minister of the Ministry of Defence. Please note, this is the opinion of the Minisrter, Rajiths Senaratne.

    The question now is: how much we can defend or hide from the outside world, when our own “Powers” are committing the worst crimes?

    Can we blame all the time on previous regimes and go on committing the same crimes? Then why the people wanted a change? Didn’t we ask for a change for the better in terms of peace, better living conditions, prosperity to us and our country?

    I know a large number of expatriate Sri Lankans are working very hard day and night to help our country and the Government to win the next war on terrorism i.e. the war already declared by the Western Powers and NGOs aligned with the LTTE rump. But do we, our Government, carry on with the administration of the affairs of the country in an accountable and crditable manner to help win that remaining war?

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    It is NOT AHRC’s observation that is bullsh*t. That is a common observation.

    The problem is it’s conclusion which it cunningly calls “implications”.

    Please understand that the 2 are different.

    The observation – the barbaric incident of Kolonnawa
    The bulls*t – AHRC trying to play politics with its own set of BS “implications” which are totally rubbish.

    It is an old POLITICAL trick to make use of a disaster to push a cunning political agenda.

    STF has already started to crack down on the underworld. Barring one criminal (Duminda Silva) other criminals are already in custody which is a very good start. These moves should be commended while condemning not arresting DS.

    In the long run people should force the government to get rid of this executive presidency. If the position is not there, no one will be above the law. Most people who cry run away when these REAL solutions are needed!!

  11. Lorenzo Says:

    Duminda Silva is still way better than the Batalanda mass murderer, traitor, child molester, Gonawala Sunil’s de facto wife, the illegal CFA criminal, LTTE agent and alleged homosexual (which is illegal in SL) sex offender and biggest loser RW.

    When the “gamarala” is very hungry he sees devils as tasty food but hold on. Eating a devil is worse than going hungry.

    Or the stranded thirsty man sees sea water as a divine drink but if he drinks it he will be worse off than not drinking anything at all.

    Lets be clear on the COMPARATIVE good/bad while demanding best justice.

    We cannot exchange the Kolonnawa p* for the Batalanda p* or vice versa. Law should be applied to both.

  12. jimmy Says:

    in my opinion there should be justice for Bharath
    It is sad the way this man died

    stop using bad words. Sometimes your writings make me sick
    who cares Bharaths sexual preferences man? whether he is a homosexual or bi sexual or hetero sexual or Zoophilia
    The man was shot and the criminals should be punished

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