, , ,

Identify Root Of Problem Of Impunity

( May 14, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Even as the government prepares to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the end of the war there are disturbing events that show up the failure of government by law as opposed to arbitrary power. War-time legacies must not continue to haunt the country. The incident where two police officers on night time duty on the road were abducted by armed men in a white van, stripped naked, and one shot dead, is symptomatic of a larger problem that has gone unaddressed. It is an extreme manifestation of a phenomenon that occurred regularly during the war in which people suspected of terrorism were bundled into vans and disappeared.

The continuation of abductions five years after the end of the war is totally unacceptable. So far it appears that the police are at a loss to find the perpetrators although they have the evidence of the surviving police officer and what he observed and heard. The National Peace Council is of the view that the failure to apprehend those guilty, and those who are behind the armed group in the van, is a clear manifestation of the breakdown of the Rule of Law . The brazenness of the action suggests that the perpetrators were confident that they enjoyed impunity. It is this deteriorating law and order situation that that calls for policy changes that address the roots of the problem

A creeping culture of impunity is being entrenched where some people seem to believe that they can get away with lawless behaviour. Lawlessness, all types of crimes such as armed daylight robberies, murders, rape and the sexual abuse of women, frauds of all type and corruption spreading into areas of national life confirms this slide. The recent brutal killing of a ruling party Urban Council member not far from Colombo is the latest addition to killings. There is also violence that targets religious minorities, the most recent being the torching of a Muslim-owned business by a mob led by religious clergy. It must be emphasized that the rule of law is the idea that all people will be punished if, and only if, they break the law. There is no impunity for anyone under the rule of law.

The police have declared their intention to find the perpetrators. We note that in the past there have been occasions when alleged perpetrators were apprehended but killed in shootouts or in attempting to escape. This led to the failure to investigate what motivated the perpetrators and who protected them. NPC affirms the importance of following due process which are transparent and whose integrity is protected by a system of checks and balances. If the Government wants the co-operation of the people in the fight against crime it must get back to following the Rule of Law, the de-politicization of the Police and the Judiciary by restoring the Independent Commissions.

| Statement issued by the The National Peace Council

ARCHIVES FROM AUGUST 2007 TO JANUARY 2015