Presidential pardon? Why not?
Posted on May 13th, 2020

By Rohana Aryaratna Courtesy Ceylon Today

It is a proven fact that LTTE terrorists led by a mentally deranged criminal changed their terror tactics by disguising themselves as saviours of the Tamils from the Sinhalese scourge. By transforming the conflict into an ethnic issue, they could easily brainwash innocent Tamil civilians into becoming a combatant force sans military fatigues.

Makkal Padai Brigade

They named it the ‘Makkal Padai Brigade’ (Tamil civilian armed force) and trained its members to kill. The Brigade comprised of all ages ranging from 7 to 35, including even angry grandfathers. Hence on the advice of their theoretician who spent a luxurious life in London, or the Tamil diaspora, or maybe the bankrupt Tamil politicians, the LTTE changed their terror tactics into an ethnic war.

At present, the LTTE relics and their Western allies, who were down-hearted by the defeat they had to suffer at the hands of the heroic and patriotic Armed Forces, are trying to make amends, by bringing in so-called human rights organisations to instigate a worldwide prejudice against Sri Lanka, its rulers and the armed forces. 

The recent pardoning of Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has come in handy to these defeated and bankrupt elements. They have aligned their war crimes charges and so-called human rights violations alongside this pardoning issue. Western Nations, their lackey NGOs and the pseudo human rights groups who were dependent on the LTTE diaspora for various political reasons, have taken up this pardoning issue as a kind of world shattering news as well as an unpardonable offence.

Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake was one of the 14 suspects said to be involved in the murder of eight Tamil civilians, including two underage boys. As we earlier mentioned, LTTE terrorists had trained civilians including children and were using them as combatants against SriLankan soldiers. 

There had been several attacks launched by Tamil citizens and also due to the findings of the intelligence services about the existence of the Makkal Padai Brigade, Tamils wearing civilian attire were strictly barred from entering areas where the Army was located. 

Although the Army personnel were ever ready to lay down their lives in order to protect their motherland they too should be considered as human beings, not willing to get killed in a situation where it is not a face to face combat position. And as it is, they have been ordered to be more careful when meeting enemies wearing civilian attire.

It was revealed during the trial against Ratnayake that the nine displaced Tamil civilians had returned to Mirusuvil to collect their belongings and in the process had been arrested by the soldiers from a nearby camp. According to Maheswaran, the only survivor of the so-called massacre, these civilians had been stopped by two soldiers and later more soldiers had joined in the interrogation process.

You may call this speculation but we have to ask this question regarding the dependence on one witness who may have been angry and confused about the harassment as well as may be the failure of their alleged mission to attack the soldiers. And the other question is why was the circumstantial evidence and the versions of Ratnayake and others not considered as reliable evidence at the trial.

Was Maheswaran a reliable witness?

Why was Maheswaran unable to recognise or identify these nine soldiers? It can be argued that he was unable to do so due to the stressful and complicated mental condition he may have been experiencing at that moment. If a witness is governed by revenge or is in a stressful mental condition can his evidence be considered as reliable?

Be that as it may, of the 14 soldiers who were charged, nine were acquitted, four discharged and only one remained – Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake, and he was considered as the sole accused for the murder of eight Tamil civilians only on the evidence of Maheswaran who was unable to identify the other accused. Why was Maheswaran unable to identify the others who is said to have got involved in the crime? 

Wouldn’t it be due to his disturbed mind he was not able to identify them? If so can Maheswaran be treated as a credible witness?

In any case after a lengthy 13-year long trial out of the 14 soldiers charged for the controversial incident dubbed ‘Mirusuvil massacre’ where nine dubious Tamil civilians were killed, the soul accused Sunil Ratnayake was found guilty and was sentenced to death.  In other words Ratnayake who was found guilty of 15 charges, was ‘proved’ to have single-handedly killed all these 8 civilians.

Yahapalana regime pardons LTTE terrorists

Many members of the Armed Forces and the public felt that his conviction was unjustified, especially as a whole slew of convicted LTTE terrorists were pardoned by the Yahapalana regime.

With the pardoning of Sunil Ratnayake by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa the whole bandwagon of pseudo crusading gangs calling themselves human rights activists and instigated by frustrated Western nations and LTTE relics have condemned the President’s action as an unpardonable offence.

If these human rights activists are genuinely interested in redressing the wrong decision, why were they silent when the LTTE butchers who had murdered pregnant Sinhalese and Muslim women and children, were released by the previous Government? And if they are so concerned about justice, why did they not object when Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena were releasing hardcore LTTE ‘butchers’ who had butchered sleeping women and children, people in prayer, Buddhist monks in temples etc.

This concern for human rights seem to be a bluff that is used as a kind of an excuse to cover up the frustrations they had to experience after the Great Defeat. Under the SriLankan Constitution, the President has the arbitrary power to release anyone found guilty of criminal charges. And the President has acted accordingly.

President Trump grants clemency

Similarly in the United States where every act is seemingly performed according to Democratic principles, President Donald Trump had recently granted clemency to a former Navy Seal who had been found guilty of war crimes.

Chief petty officer Eddie Gallagher had been convicted of posing with the dead body of a teenage Islamic State terrorist, he had killed in Iraq in 2017. He had also boasted in an e-mail to a friend, after sending the above mentioned photograph that shows him holding the deceased captive by the head, saying ‘Good story behind this, got him with my hunting knife.’

After the President Trump’s action there was uproar from military leaders and the Navy Secretary Richard Spencer who had written a scathing opinion piece for the Washington Post attacking Trump, was ousted by the White House.

This is how things happen in a country like US where every action is said to be aligned with Democracy and also are very much concerned and worried about human rights state in other countries.

‘What’s sauce for the goose’ should be ‘sauce for the gander’ too. In conclusion I would like to add some excerpts from a speech by Justice A.H.M.D.Nawaz, President of the Court of Appeal: “So I articulate the proposition that law and justice cannot be distant neighbours. If they become distant neighbours in the hands of judges,the quality of justice is undermined and it reminds me of Jesus Christ who said  “the Sabbath was made for man and no man for Sabbath”. Justice must not be rigid and the rigour of the law untampered by milk of human kindness is not justice but akin to denial of it.”

Justice Nawaz continuing further said: “Instead of coalescence between law and justice, there has grown a dangerous distance between the two, and the law and lawyers have begun to lose much of their legitimacy among people whom they are unable to protect against injustice. 

All this is painfully true, but it is not the whole truth. I have watched with wonderment that there are other influences and traditions at the bar which never died and which must be crucial for the commitment we have made under the Constitution to bring real justice, dignity and freedom to all citizens of this extremely exciting country, of so much promise and richness: so much romance and cruelty.”


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