How international war crime probe threat fostered MR’s grip

Source Daily Mirror

Since the end of war, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the ex-President kept a nation; mostly its Sinhalese villagers in the rural hinterland petrified by the simple mention of a bogeyman: an international war crime trial. Of course, his nemesis in the West and the fringe groups of the Tamil diaspora unleashed it on him; and later MR and his acolytes began nurturing it. It provided a smokescreen for all his grotesque abuses. The sheer mention of the word was so terrifying that it dwarfed the real terror unleashed by real white vans. Continue reading “How international war crime probe threat fostered MR’s grip”

“The dog fight for portfolios” – Laments a retired SLAS Patriot

Empty rhetoric

(Island Opinion Page)

It is indeed a pleasure to read your truthful, hard-hitting constructive editorials which seem to be , as the saying goes, Casting pearls before swine, as authorities concerned, specially the governments taking no action, due to sheer ignorance, lack of understanding, don’t care attitude or to enhance their personal image rather than national interest, for which they seem not to know they have entered parliament. Your statement ‘ When governments get comfortable or steamroller majority they get intoxicated with power and their leaders act like druggies. Continue reading ““The dog fight for portfolios” – Laments a retired SLAS Patriot”

Is KP being cleared?| Monitors to oversee cabinet’s “Activities”!| FM’s Strategies

No Crimes Involving KP Transpired So Far, AG Informs Court

No Crimes Involving KP Transpired So Far, AG Informs Court
(Asian Mirror)

No Crimes Involving KP Transpired So Far, AG Informs Court.

The Attorney General’s Department informed the Court of Appeal that no crimes involving Kumaran Pathmanadan alias KP have been transpired so far in their examinations regarding a writ petition filed at the courts.

The examination is being carried out by the AG Department regarding an application for a writ of mandamus filed by JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath seeking the arrest of KP and to produce him before courts.

The Court of Appeal earlier directed the AG to conduct an examination on the 193 allegations in the petition which include money laundering and procurement of arms. The AG informed court today that the examination is still ongoing and requested for more time to complete it.

Granting the request, the Court of Appeal postponed the hearing to October 28.

National Council of Citizens representatives with legal powers to counsel and monitor govt. with P.M.’s blessings

(Lanka-e-News)

After the commencement of the administration of the new government , a national Council comprising citizens and members of professional organizations will be established to proffer advice and to monitor the government’s activities. This council will be incorporated into the constitution and vested with legal powers . Ranil Wickremesinghe communicated this to representatives of citizens and professional organizations.

The P.M. made this revelation on the 28 th at Temple Trees when he met with the representatives of 110 citizens and professional organizations ,who signed the people’s agreement with the UNF prior to the general elections , and extended support to the UNF. 110 people’s representatives including Ven .Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera and Saman Rathnapriya attended this meeting on the 28 th. The P.M. also requested the representatives to swiftly send him the names of the representatives to be appointed to the proposed Citizens national council.

The P.M. responding to the question posed by the citizens’ representatives about the consequences of granting portfolios under the concept of the proposed national government to defeated corrupt ministers , he said , permanent solutions should be searched fast for the national issues of the minority as a result of the war .Hence the two main issues of the country should necessarily be brought together , in which circumstances the expectations of all cannot be fulfilled 100 % . It is by making certain sacrifices , answers to the main issues should be secured , he added.

No matter what , the laws will be continued to be enforced against the corrupt irrespective of party differences . Towards this end , he is expecting the support of the representatives of the citizens and professional organizations through their actions, the P.M. further noted.

A leader of the citizens and professional organization chain, Saman Rathnapriya expressing his views on this today to Lanka e news said ,based on the ministries of the new government , his chain has decided to form citizens and professional monitoring committees in respect of every ministry .

The support of the existing trade unions and citizens organizations are expected in this direction. It is hoped that the minister in charge of the relevant ministry and the monitoring committee work in liaison , and for that the P.M.has given his blessings , Saman Rathnapriya revealed to Lanka e news.

The ‘People’s agreement’ signed between the Citizen’s organizations and the P.M. before the general elections can be read by clicking here .

What is the unholy haste impelling AG to release PP to Gota saying nothing incriminating against him ? Who took 16 million bribe?

(Lanka-e-News)

Shocking stories shaking the entire country to its foundation are doing their rounds at Hultsorf that a high rung officer of the Attorney general’s (AG) Department had stooped most degradingly and disgracefully to collect a bribe of Rs. 16 million secretly! When the ex defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse is incriminated under the Gun ordinance ; explosive device ordinance; Prevention of terrrism Act (PTA) ;money laundering Act and many others , it is a most perplexing and crucial question , how a recommendation was hurriedly sent to the CID by the AG that there aren’t sufficient grounds to file legal action against ex defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse in this present climate and context when there is already an on going investigation (many others in the pipeline) in which serious incriminations against him have surfaced ?

Based on reliable sources , three senior lawyers of the AG’s department who are no longer employed there but engaged in the legal profession still, have got together and given this colossal bribe to this high rung officer of the AG’s department.

Lawyers Kuwera De Soysa, Dulinda Weerasuriya and Nalinda Indratissa were officers in the AG’s department for some time. They are now three prominent practising lawyers. Hultsdorf informed sources are of the view that they should know the inside out of this sordid transaction.

It is an undisputed fact that there is a backlog of cases filed by the police and CID at the AG’s department where AG’s recommendations have been held back for many years. Then how come pertaining to Gotabaya’s case which commenced in 2015, such jet speed expeditious attention was paid to give AG’s recommendation ? The CID officers who are deeply in their toils hoonestly discharging their duties duly with a view to bringing crooks and criminals to book are naturally baffled over this unholy haste shown by the AG to recommend the release of the passport of Gotabaya, the ex defense secretary .

While long delays are common at the AG’s department, what prompted the department to act so hastily in Gotabaya’s case ? One simple example which bears testimony to the delays at the AG’s department is : when the necessary investigation report along with the other relevant suspicious documents and rgeisters were forwarded to the AG’s department to get its recommendation in relation to a massive fraud involving many millions of rupees, in which the suspect had made forged documents pertaining to a land belonging to a German couple , and has also cheated the State tax department in colossal amounts , the AG’s department has still not responded several years after the request was made to the dpeartment for its recomendation. This is only one of the many such instances of delays experienced at the AG’s department where procrastination is a matter of routine.

The case No. of this massive fraud was 769/12 CM when it was forwarded to the AG’s department for its recommendations . A businessman with powerful political connections from Kalutara has made the fraudulent deeds of transfer Nos. 793 and 400. The case No. is B 7108/12 when it was filed at the Kalutara magistrate court.

When this is the lethargic state of affairs in the AG’s department , how come it acted with such great enthusiasm to release the ex defense secretary Gotabaya without permitting the filing of cases when he is implicated in so many criminal cases under the Gun ordinance , explosive device ordinance , PTA and money laundering Act ? This action of the AG’s department has rudely shocked the entire judiciary . Specially , legal luminaries of Hultsdorf are in the process of probing into this issue.

This controversial order given by the AG that there aren’t grounds to file legal action against ex defense secretary Gotabaya despite such glaring criminal incriminations against him , necessitated the Galle chief magistrate Nilapuli Lankapura to release the passport (impounded earlier by court) to Gotabaya to travel abroad.

In other words , the gateway is now open for Gotabaya to bolt from the country before he is taken into custody in the Prageeth Ekneliyagoda case.

Diplomatic corps briefed on Ekneligoda case
FM on MS-RW strategy to change SL’s dierction

(Island)
article_image
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that as much as the government needed invaluable support of the international community in terms of technical expertise in the setting up of domestic mechanisms and assistance for peacebuilding related efforts such as resettlement, infrastructure development, and providing psycho-social support, the administration was of the opinion the time has now come to focus on strengthening economy. A stronger economy would be key to ensuring long-term peace and stability and preventing the recurrence of conflict, the minister said.

Minister Samaraweera was addressing the Colombo-based diplomatic community on Aug 28. The minister discussed national government, political stability, accountability issues and economic plans.

The Minister said: “Following the Parliamentary election last week and the victory of the United National Front for Good Governance led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the new Parliament as you know will convene on the 1st of September, next Tuesday. The Cabinet, reflective of the formation of what we call a national or unity government, is expected to be formed shortly thereafter.

This new Government under the leadership of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, aims to overcome one of the main ills that plagued our country since independence – that is the temptation of political parties to follow a narrow path of confrontation in order to achieve short-term political gains over the long-term interests of the people of our country.

The formation of a National Government will ensure the formation of national policies and the passage of important legislation including the provision required to adopt a new Constitution that will include a Bill of Rights that takes into account not only civil and political rights but economic, social and cultural rights as well. A Constitution that addresses the requirements of all citizens and communities; one which would allow greater participation for the public in decision making processes relating to matters in their respective areas. These measures, we expect, would enable more accountable and more responsible government in the country. Such a Constitution, we believe, with electoral reform and restoration of stronger Parliamentary government would be essential to ensure reconciliation and durable peace with justice and rule of law.

President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe work with full realization, that, in order not to allow the country to slip back into unfortunate conflicts such as the insurrections in the South and the problems in the North that led to terrorism, it is important that all citizens must feel that they are equal partners with equal rights. They are firm in their resolve to address the root causes which led to the conflict as recommended in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.

This brings me specifically, to an issue which has, and continues to receive a lot of media attention. This relates to the nature of Sri Lanka’s engagement with the United Nations, the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and his Office.

Last few years saw Sri Lanka drift from this position of engagement. Our relations with the UN system as a whole became strained especially following the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.

As you all know, the change of Government on January 8th enabled Sri Lanka to once again seek to pursue policies of engagement with the international community and international organizations including the United Nations.

In this context, I gave priority, soon after assuming office in January, to establish contact with the UN Secretary-General and with the High Commissioner for Human Rights while also reaching out to our bilateral partners to renew our ties.

Soon after my meeting with the UN Secretary-General on the 13th of February in New York, he dispatched the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Mr. Jeffrey Feltman to visit Sri Lanka at the end of February – early March to follow-up on our discussions. Mr. Feltman called on President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe as well.

At the end of his visit, he addressed the media. He made the point that: “As requested by Sri Lanka, the United Nations is committed to assisting in the process of accountability and reconciliation, through the Peacebuilding Fund and other facilities, as appropriate. But it is first and foremost for Sri Lankans themselves to shape how to address issues of the past in order to find a common future.”

You are all aware that soon after the end of the conflict in 2009, the previous Government did two important things:

One, the Government made a Joint Statement with the United Nations at the conclusion of the UN Secretary-General’s visit to Sri Lanka in May where it undertook, on behalf of the people of this country, to take certain steps including on accountability.

Soon thereafter, on the 27th of May 2009, Sri Lanka proposed a Resolution in the UN Human Rights Council titled ‘Assistance to Sri Lanka in the promotion and protection of human rights’ which was adopted by the Council. This Resolution too contained a series of measures to be taken by Sri Lanka including endorsement of the Joint Statement between the Government and the UN.

Thereafter, the Government appointed the Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation which made a series of recommendations for implementation.

There is full realisation, Your Excellencies, that it is the lack of commitment to address issues locally – i.e. meet the promises made to one’s own people locally and carry out the duties towards one’s own citizens as well as realise the promises made in international fora coupled with the general breakdown of the rule of law and democratic space in the country over the years following the conflict that led to the call by the Human Rights Council in March 2014, for an international investigation on Sri Lanka.

This lack of commitment on the part of the previous Government, to carry out its duties towards its own people changed with the election of President Sirisena on the 8th of January 2015.

As you are aware, item 93 of President Sirisena’s manifesto in January expressed the intention of the common candidate, if elected, to address issues of accountability through national independent judicial mechanisms.

Moreover, on 4 February 2015, the Government, through its ‘Declaration of Peace’, promised to ensure non-recurrence of such tragedies in this country.

The President, Prime Minister and Members of Government have consistently stressed the importance of achieving meaningful reconciliation for durable peace and prosperity in the country on several occasions. The President has stressed many times that the greatest challenge that we have is to unite the minds of the people from the North and the South for a national reconciliation framework. On the 19th of May 2015 at the Armed Forces Day in Matara, the President emphasised that a process of reconciliation involves searching for the truth, achieving justice, dispelling fear, doubt and mistrust among all communities and building trust among communities.

Since the 8th of January, the Government has taken a series of steps including strengthening civilian administration in the North and the East, releasing land to their original owners, resettling the internally displaced, strengthening freedom of expression, and working with the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Reconciliation as you know will take time. It is an essential process for our country involving the broad areas of truth seeking, justice, reparations and non-recurrence. It also involves the important element of consultations to ensure ownership of processes, guarantee long-term sustainability and ensure that the deep grievances of all communities and within communities are addressed. Therefore, the mechanisms that we aim to set up and the processes that we aim to set in place will have to be evolved through wide consultations.

Accountability or truth seeking will at no point be a witch hunt the way some sections of our society are already attempt to portray. It will be about upholding the rule of law and building confidence in the people of all communities in the criminal justice system and the importance of being accountable.

It is about creating a culture in the country where society at large values the concept of being accountable not only in terms of criminal liability but in every sense including public accountability. Our objective is to create a culture based on the rule of law to prevent impunity for all violations including for violations of human rights.

This process is already underway. Justice that has long proved elusive is now becoming a reality and Sri Lanka’s courts are again vigilant in protecting all its citizens. The alleged perpetrators responsible for the massacre of eight civilians, including three teenagers and a five-year-old child, in Mirusuvil, Jaffna in the year 2000 were tried, and one of them was found guilty, in June this year. Our law enforcement officers are also now able to investigate without hindrance many of these cases. In fact, four members of the armed forces were arrested this week in connection with the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda. By exposing such miscreants who tarnished the image of the armed forces over the years, we will be able to regain the armed forces’ lost reputation as one of the most disciplined and professional armies in the region. As we restore the armed forces credibility, we look forward to contributing to peace and stability around the world through greater engagement in peace-keeping and humanitarian activities.”

Cohabitation with bad-fellows

(Sunday Times Editorial)

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe must surely be thinking to himself why on earth he suggested a National Government given the way we understand he has had to fight tooth and nail to have his party-men slotted into key Cabinet posts. The undercurrents of Cabinet-forming under the MoU with the SLFP seemed daunting. He could have probably run the Government with the seats his party received at the August 17 general elections, but the noble yet challenging goal of aiming for the magic 150 seats to garner a two-thirds majority of the 225 seat Parliament to change the Constitution and run an administration of national unity has its painful headaches. Continue reading “Cohabitation with bad-fellows”

Disgruntled Prof TV Cries Foul

History repeats Itself but In a new guise (Original Title)
article_image
Sirimavo Bandaranaike

by Tissa Vitarana Source  Sunday Island

Just as the UNP came back to power in 1977 promising to establish a “dharmishta samajaya”, it has now come into power in 2015 promising to establish a “yahapalanaya”. On the former occasion the UNP alone got an overwhelming mandate from the people, capturing 5/6ths of the seats in Parliament. But this time it has got only 106 members elected in a 225 member Parliament, and that too as an alliance. Thus rather than forming an unstable minority Government, with support from the TNA and probably the JVP, it has opted to form a stable coalition Government with the direct participation of the right wing of the SLFP (SLFP/RW).

The 1977 defeat of the SLFP/LSSP/CP, Centre-Left, Coalition Government was achieved by the SLFP/RW ganging up with the UNP and American-led Imperialist forces to break up that powerful Alliance by getting the LSSP, which had 19 MPs, expelled in 1975 by the Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. The subsequent departure of the CP completed the process. The impact of the global economic, oil and food crises, facilitated the process. The split in the SLFP, with the departure of leaders like Maithripala Senanayake, T.B. Ilangaratne, Anura Bandaranaike and Vijaya Kumaratunga, in 1981 to form the SLMP further weakened the SLFP. The LSSP strength in Parliament dropped to zero in 1977, but together with other progressive forces it opposed the anti-national, anti-people, anti-democratic, pro-imperialist policies of the UNP Government from outside Parliament.  Continue reading “Disgruntled Prof TV Cries Foul”

A bitter truth: We are shadows of the USA and the West

Fallout Of US-Sri Lanka Rapprochement

Source Sunday Leader

Stand not too close to the rich man lest he grabs thee and not too far away lest he forgets thee’ is the pragmatic maxim practiced by nations living in the shadows of big powers although the policy is not articulated in such terms.

Sri Lanka is far away from the United States and the West, yet it could be said that we are in the shadows of these powerful nations and its allies even in the region. Good relations with the United States and its Western allies pay dividends. Sri Lanka need not kowtow to these nations but could still maintain good relations if we restrain ourselves from thumbing our noses at them. Continue reading “A bitter truth: We are shadows of the USA and the West”

Eight Takeaways From Sri Lanka General Election

By Col. R. Hariharan Source Sunday Leader

After the din of recently concluded general election in Sri Lanka is over, the United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has been sworn in as Sri Lanka’s prime minister. He is poised to work with a national unity government. There are eight takeaways from the election and its aftermath that can help in visualising the future course of events in the island nation.

Cartoon from Ceylon Today

1. Positive trends: A number of positive trends have emerged both in the conduct and in the aftermath of elections. People have shown that whipping up of Sinhala nationalist rhetoric or holding up the bogey of revival of Tamil separatism is not enough to win elections. They would rather prefer clean governance than ostentatious of display of power by the rulers. The peaceful conduct of elections holds a lesson for other South Asian nations: if the national leadership is determined it can ensure the government, administration and election commission come together, without working at cross purposes, to conduct peaceful elections. The abhorrent trend of local politicians waving pistols and intimidating the public that had invaded the body politics in recent times – the election has shown they will have to change their act. Continue reading “Eight Takeaways From Sri Lanka General Election”