Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C

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Home > Tamils - a Trans State Nation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Indictment against Sri Lanka: Introduction & Index > Indictment against Sri Lanka - the Record Speaks

The Charge is Ethnic Cleansing

RULE OF LAW - 1982

"Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law" - Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

"During the campaign for the December 1982 referendum to extend the life of Parliament without a general election, a Superintendent of Police seized 20,000 pamphlets of 'Voice of the Clergy' opposing the referendum proposal. A Buddhist monk, the secretary of the organisation concerned, complained to the Supreme Court, under Article 126 of the Constitution, that this act had infringed his fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. (The Pavida Handa Case in which S.Nadesan Q.C. appeared for the petitioner complainant)

On 28th February 1983, the Supreme Court held in his favour, and awarded 10,000 rupees damages against the Superintendent personally, together with costs. On the 2nd March 1983, the Government announced that the Superintendent would be promoted, and that the state would pay the damages and costs

That history soon repeated itself... On 8th March 1983, a former M.P., together with some others, went to deliver a letter of protest to the American Embassy in Colombo, where she was received courteously... On their way back, some police officers took away their banners...soon after (she) found herself under arrest, thrown to the floor and kicked. She too complained to the Supreme Court under Article 126 about an infringement of her fundamental rights...it (the Supreme Court) found that the arrest was unlawful and directed the Inspector General of Police to conduct further inquiries... That judgment was delivered on the 8th of June 1983. On the following day, the Acting Inspector General of Police announced the promotion of the sub-inspector who arrested her..

Two days after that, two of the Judges of the Supreme Court who had heard this case found their private houses surrounded by unruly mobs, shouting obscenities at them...It was a frightening experience, and no policemen was in sight. They tried to telephone the police , but found the lines mysteriously out of order ...and although the mobs arrived in public service buses and the disorders had clearly been organised in a concerted fashion, no one seems to have managed to this day to unearth anyone responsible: apparently, the relevant records of the bus station concerned have somehow been lost...

Such events are hardly calculated to encourage the judiciary to remain independent, or to enhance public respect for its members, their judgments, or the rule of law...

The President freely conceded that he had personally ordered the promotion of the two police officers (in June 1983), and the payment out of public funds of the damages and costs. This he said had been necessary to maintain police morale...at a time when he found the Supreme Court a hindrance to some of his policies... The conclusion is inescapable that he was deliberately seeking to teach the Judges a lesson in order to make them more pliable to the Executive's wishes. If that is so, these were grossly improper acts; but for the immunity from all suit which the President enjoys under article 35(1) of the Constitution, they might well have been criminal offences..."

"...the Government's lack of respect for the rule of law was evident in three cases in which a mantle of protection was thrown over officials who had exceeded or abused their powers.

In the first case two soldiers who had been arrested and remanded in connection with the shooting of a lame Tamil youth were released by the Magistrate on the instructions of the Attorney General. In the other two cases, the Government promoted police officers against whom the Supreme Court had passed strictures for exceeding their authority.

This was justified by the Government on the grounds that the police must be able to do their duty without fear of the consequences of adverse court decisions... In face of this it is not surprising that the police and army increasingly take the law into their hands." - Paul Sieghart: Sri Lanka: A Mounting Tragedy of Errors - Report of International Commission of Jurists 1984

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