Double Standards in PCoI Final Report
By Buddhika Samaraweera
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in a special statement announced, it appears that the final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into the Easter Sunday bombings has been prepared with a double standard by adopting a lax policy towards former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and a strict policy only on former President Maithripala Sirisena. The SLFP had appointed a special committee headed by its Senior Vice President, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva to review the final report of the PCoI and its recommendations.
The SLFP further claims, the PCoI has not properly investigated the information that Pulastini Rajendran alias Sara Jasmine, (the widow of Atchchi Muhammadu Muhammadu Hastun who carried out the suicide bombing at St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya) had fled to India with the support of a Police officer. The PCoI has ignored certain matters that could have been exposed through her, had investigation been properly carried out, it added. It also states, certain conclusions and recommendations have been made beyond the scope assigned to the PCoI. Certain recommendations have been made after studying matters which are not relevant to the PCoI’s scope at all; it stated and also mentioned that the SLFP’s general opinion is, that positive recommendations are not included in the PCoI report.
Adding further, former President Sirisena appointed the PCoI during his tenure based on three main factors, including the identities of local and foreign forces behind the Easter Sunday bombings, identification of the main motives of such forces and the presentation of recommendations for legal action against those directly or indirectly involved in the attack. The SLFP, in the statement, announced that it rejects many of the recommendations included in the PCoI report.
It further states, Sirisena took over the Ministry of Law and Order on 30 October, 2018 and that the PCoI has not mentioned about any responsibility for the attack on anyone who had previously been in charge of the said Ministry. In addition, it states that the perpetrators of the attack and the swords found in various mosques following the attack have not been adequately investigated.
“The PCoI has been tasked with examining whether former or current government officials were directly or indirectly involved in the attack, and it has not been given any authority to investigate the role of the head of state or political leaders, including ministers,” the statement further mentioned.
It also states, the PCoI’s recommendation that criminal charges be filed against an executive President, for it is an unfavourable precedent. It states that it is an undermining of the constitutional power of a head of state and added that such action targeting Sirisena will set precedent for bringing criminal charges against any head of state in future and that it is a dangerous and reckless act.
The SLFP also stated, it hopes to conduct an in-depth study of this report and its recommendations in the future and make a special statement in this regard.