Draconian PTA, Presidential Pardon to Criminals and Impunity to Security Forces

Gotabaya Rajapakshe

President Gotabaya Rajapakshe in his speech in the United Nations General Assembly in his ambitious statement said “Fostering greater accountability, restorative justice and meaningful reconciliation through domestic institutions is essential to achieve lasting peace. So too is ensuring more equitable participation in the fruits of economic development. It is my Government’s firm intention to build a prosperous, stable and secure future for all Sri Lankans, regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender.”

It is to be noted that his actions and moves were just opposite to what he promised considering his actions and inactions:Also a long list of emblematic cases which UNHRC and other Human Rights Organizations listed still remain unattended. Some of them are listed below:

[1] Killing of five [5] students in Trincomalee allegedly killed by the Sri Lankan Special Task force [STF] on January 02, 2006. So far no one has been held responsible for the brutal killings.

[2] Killings of 17 employees of the French INGO Action Against Hunger – ACF  [known as Muttur Massacre] were shot at close range in the city of Muttur – close to Trincomalee. In August 2006. The victims included 16 Tamils and one Muslim.

[3] Killing of Journalist and founder of Sunday Leader was killed on his way to work around 10.30 am on 8th January 2009. In April 2019 Wickkremasinghe’s daughter Ahimsa Wickremasinghe filed a civil suit against Gotabaya Rajapakshe [Now President of Sri Lanka] in the State of California. USA alleged Gotabaya Rajapakshe was behind his death.

[4] Killing of Mylvaganam Nirmalarajan Jaffna based Journalist on October 19, 2000. A group of gunmen stormed his house in Jaffna and brutally killed him. He was reporting for various news organizations including BBC Tamil and Sinhala, Tamil daily Veerakesari and Sinhala weekly Ravaya.

[5] Presidential Pardon of Sunil Ratnayake in 2020 who was found guilty of the massacre of Tamil civilians including a five year old child in Mirusuvil, Jaffna. This is one of the emblematic cases that traversed the criminal system in Sri Lanka with the highest Court of the land affirming the conviction. Despite no evidence to show a miscarriage of justice, a Presidental Pardon was granted, robbing the victims of accountability and undermining the justice system in Sri Lanka.

[6] Decision to drop case against  the formerNavy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda, a man who was wanted over the abduction and suspected to be involved in the killings of 11 youths, This latest announcement from Sri Lankan Authorities is drawing international condemnation, including from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Amnesty International.

[7] Earlier this year the Attorney General’s decision to discontinue the prosecution in the assasination of the Tamil MP and human rights activist Joseph Pararajasingam who was gunned down during Christmas Mass in 2005 in the Batticoloa Church. It is notable that one of the accused is S. Chandrakanthan  alias Pilliyan, a present Member of Parliament in the ruling government.

[8] Another interesting case that received wide attention was the decision by the Attorney General to withdraw the indictments against the finance minister Basil Rajapakshe [Brother of President Gotabaya Rajapakshe] and others related to the alleged misappropriation of public funds in the DIVINEGUMA DEPARTMENT.

[9] Appointing Retired Army Generals alleged to have committed war crimes in top posts in the civil administration of the country and assigning some to diplomatic posts to represent the  country is deplorable.

These few examples highlighted in this article are only an indication of the many setbacks in the judicial system in Sri Lanka. The failure of this system begs the question as to why victims should trust a rotten judicial system that continues to betray them.

Kumarathasan Rasingam – Secretary, Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Org.


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