Former SIS Head Culpable of Easter Sunday Attacks - SJB

By Gagani Weerakoon & Methmalie Dissanayake | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 24 2021
News Former SIS Head Culpable of Easter Sunday Attacks - SJB

By Gagani Weerakoon & Methmalie Dissanayake

Main Opposition, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) called on to name former SIS head Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena, an accused of the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Participating in the committee stage debate on budget 2022, Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriellla said in Parliament yesterday that SDIG Jayawardena who had allegedly failed to prevent the terror attacks and now is a State witness should be named an accused and prosecuted.

“The Court has that power to name him an accused. Actually he should be the main suspect. He received the information of the impending terror attacks more than ten days before it took place. He has testified that he did not pass that information to the President who was the Defence Minister. Suppose that we accept his version. Then he has committed an offence as per the provisions of the Penal Code. But today he has been set free. When Nilantha Jayawardena was asked to surrender his phone to the investigators he deleted all its details. That deletion shows that there was something to be hidden. It amounts to suppression of evidence. That offence would have alone been sufficient to name him a suspect,” MP Kiriella said.

“We call on the Court to do the right thing. Those in the judiciary must remember that they are bound by duty to do the right thing. It is only the judges who dispense justice in the right manner would go down in the history as judges. Those who support the Government in power will end up in the dustbin of history as corrupt judges,” the Chief Opposition Whip said.

He said that the former SIS Chief cannot be accepted as a State witness over the 2019 Easter attacks case, instead, the latter should be prosecuted.

 Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith says that justice is not delivered. “When would this be done? It seems that the Government does not want justice to be delivered in this case; instead, it wants some of those responsible for this carnage to be protected. The manner of watering down the charges is an indication. Now there was a Cabinet subcommittee chaired by Minister Chamal Rajapaksa to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry. That subcommittee made a separate report out of the PCoI report. That is selective dispensation of justice,” Kiriella said.

“Today we are debating the expenditure heads of the independent commissions, Supreme Court, Judicial Service Commission, etc. However, none of these commissions is independent after the 20th Amendment to the Constitution which placed them all under the whims and fancies of the Executive President. If one could recall the way the former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris tried to woo the former President Maithripala Sirisena to stay in the post of Chief Justice, the way justice is done could be understood. 

Mohan Peiris pleaded to the new President to let him continue as Chief Justice and promised to give judgments to the liking of Sirisena. Judges of the Supreme Court should not forget that instance which showed the erosion of all standards of justice and independence of the judiciary. I was shocked to hear of that offer by the Chief Justice. I am a lawyer and all my family members including my wife and two children are lawyers. We need an independent judiciary not one that dances to the tune of the Government.

 We have a history of judges upholding the dignity of the Supreme Court. In 1977, the then Government tried to control the judiciary, but the then Chief Justice Victor Tennakoon opposed to it. He did not succumb to the Government power. When a commission tried to strip Sirima Bandaranaike’s civic rights, the Court opposed it. The Government had to come back to Parliament to amend the laws to get it done. When the 19th amendment was in force the judiciary had its independence. We can remember the most recent instance when President Maithripala Sirisena, dissolving Parliament and we went before the Court challenging that decision. 

Chief Justice Nalin Perera and justices Priyantha Jayawardena, Vijith Malalgoda, Prasanna Jayawardena, Buvaneka Aluwihare and Sisira de Abrew stood for justice and ruled against the Government. They did not succumb to power of politicians. They could give that judgment then because  the independence of judiciary was there,” Kiriella said.

By Gagani Weerakoon & Methmalie Dissanayake | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 24 2021

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