Rajapaksas Close Ranks Behind Gotabaya as Presidential Candidate

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Is Mahinda Playing Fair by Gota in the Presidential Candidacy Issue? Was the heading of an article by this writer that was published a fortnight ago in the “Daily Mirror”. Let me begin this week’s article by excerpting five relevant paragraphs from the D.B.S. Jeyaraj column of March 9th 2019. Here are the first four paragraphs from the beginning of the article –

pic via: facebook.com/gotabayar ~ Feb 17, 2019

“Is former President Mahinda Rajapaksa playing fair by his younger brother Gotabaya as far as the presidential election candidate issue is concerned? This question has popped up in the minds of many observers of Sri Lanka’s political landscape in recent times. Although the Rajapaksa brothers present an outward image of monolithic unity, the political grapevine has hummed many times about strong political differences existing within the ‘Kurakkan Sataka’ clan. This has been particularly so in the case of a family decision on publicly announcing the candidate for the presidential election this year”
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Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne Refuses Bail to Central Bank Ex-Deputy Governor , Chairman of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd and Three PTL Drectors Charged Under Artile 56 of Stocks and Securities Ordinance and Remands all Five Until April 5


By A.J.A.Abeynayake

Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne refused bail to Chairman of Perpetual Treasuries Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Pattinige Samarasiri and three directors of Perpetual Treasuries (PTL) when they were produced before her yesterday in connection with the bond scams.

The suspects were remanded till April 5.

The defence counsel argued that the suspects had been charged under the provisions of article 56 of Stock and Securities Ordinance and requested the court to grant them bail under any condition.

Continue reading ‘Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne Refuses Bail to Central Bank Ex-Deputy Governor , Chairman of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd and Three PTL Drectors Charged Under Artile 56 of Stocks and Securities Ordinance and Remands all Five Until April 5’ »

Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Chairman Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius Arrested at his Residence at 10.55 am by CID Despite Family Members Allegedly Telling Police he was not at home

By Hemantha Randunu

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank and the Chairman and three Directors of the Perpetual Treasuries (Pvt.) Ltd. (PTL) were arrested by the CID, yesterday, in connection with the Central Bank bond scams.

They are former Deputy of the Central Bank Pattinige Samarasiri, PTL Chairman Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius and PTL Directors Mutturaj Surendran, Chithraranjan Hulugalle and Pushpamithra Gunawardena.

Four CID teams were deployed to arrest the suspects.

Continue reading ‘Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Chairman Jeffrey Joseph Aloysius Arrested at his Residence at 10.55 am by CID Despite Family Members Allegedly Telling Police he was not at home’ »

Ex-Central Bank Deputy Governor Pathinige Samarasiri along with Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Directors Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran and P.Gunewardene Arrested by CID.

A deputy governor of Sri Lanka’s central bank and directors of a dealer in government securities linked to the biggest securities scam in the island have been arrested, police said.

Retired Deputy Governor Pathinige Samarasiri, directors of Perpetual Treasuries Chithra Ranjan Hulugalle, P Gunewardene and Muthuraja Surendran was arrested by the criminal investigation department, police spokesman Ruwan Gunaskera said.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Central Bank Deputy Governor Pathinige Samarasiri along with Perpetual Treasuries Ltd Directors Ranjan Hulugalle, Muthuraja Surendran and P.Gunewardene Arrested by CID.’ »

Is Mahinda Playing Fair By Gotabhaya In The Presidential Candidacy Issue?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Is former President Mahinda Rajapaksa Playing fair by his younger brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as far as the Presidential Election candidate issue is concerned? This question has popped up in the minds of many observers of Sri Lanka’s political scene in recent times. Although the Rajapaksa brothers present an outward image of monolithic unity, the political grapevine has hummed many times about strong political differences existing within the “Kurakkan Sataka” clan. This has been particularly so in the case of a family decision on publicly announcing the candidate for the Presidential election this year.

at Nainativu Nagapoosani Amman-Feb 2013

While it is “unofficially” presumed that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is the chosen candidate, the fact remains that the former defence secretary is yet to receive the green light from sibling Mahinda “officially”. This is all the more striking because Gotabhaya has been going ahead resolutely with the spadework necessary for being a presidential contender in 2019. This gives rise to the belief that Mahinda has already sanctioned Gota’s candidacy and will announce it at the right time. What jars however are some acts of commission and omission by Mahinda that seem to run contrary to the ‘Gota as presidential candidate’ project. This makes many feel – though few have dared to express it openly – that the “Medamulana Machiavelli” may be having other ideas and is not playing fair by Gota in a political sense.

Of course it must be said that a powerful segment of Pro-Rajapaksa loyalists would “pooh -Pooh” these doubts. They would say – and are saying- that there are no chinks in the Rajapaksa armour and that the family is “marching to a single drum”. There may be minor points of disagreement among family members but they are all firmly united on the presidential candidacy issue. Mahinda being politically astute is only biding his time to make the announcement at the right time. He may be wanting to protect Gotabhaya from being “politically persecuted” by delaying the announcement. Furthermore there are some who opine that the Rajapaksas are projecting an image of dissension and division as a political tactic to put opponents off their guard. At the right time the Rajapaksas would announce Gota’s candidacy and close ranks behind him.

One obvious factor that cannot be ignored in the current scenario is the political desperation of the Rajapaksa dynasty particularly Mahinda Rajapaksa. With the ex-president being debarred from contesting the presidency again, it is of the utmost importance that the candidate endorsed by him should romp home the winner. A defeat would result in the eventual decline and fall of the Ruhunu Rajapaksas. Right now the Rajapaksa camp candidate with the best possible chance of winning the poll seems to be Gotabhaya Nandasena Rajapaksa. A Gotabhaya victory would ensure the consolidation and preservation of the Rajapaksa family’s political fortunes. Hence the family has no option but to rally around Gotabhaya in the final analysis. Those rooting for Gotabhaya would subscribe to the above stated view. Indeed Gota himself has been operating on that premise.

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Another Overseas LTTE Plot to Use Underworld Gangs to Allegedly Assassinate MA Sumanthiran MP ? 12 Suspects Arrested and Detained for Investigation by Police Colombo Crimes Division.

Twelve suspects were arrested in connection with a plot to assassinate an active Tamil politician, the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) told court last week.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne allowed the CCD to detain the 12 suspects for questioning about the alleged assassination plot.

The arrested persons included members of the underworld and persons with connections to the LTTE.

The CCD told court that their investigations had revealed plans to kill a Tamil politician on the instructions of LTTE cadres living overseas.

Police declined to name the Tamil politician in its report to court, but sources said the target was likely TNA Jaffna District MP and TNA spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran. The suspects will be produced in court again on April 26.

Continue reading ‘Another Overseas LTTE Plot to Use Underworld Gangs to Allegedly Assassinate MA Sumanthiran MP ? 12 Suspects Arrested and Detained for Investigation by Police Colombo Crimes Division.’ »

Former Navy Commander Jayantha Perera and Ex-Naval Intelligence Chief Ananda Guruge Allegedly Implicated in CID Investigations Into Disappearances of Vadivelu Loganathan and Ratnasami Parmananda Reportedly Abducted in Wellampitiya on January 11, 2009.

By

Maneshka Borham

The now famous CID investigation into the abduction and murder of 11 youth by a Navy extortion gang, helped sleuths to break open a secondary racket involving a separate group of naval personnel, including high ranking officers, to abduct businessmen for ransom

In June 2010 the gang robbery unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) led by its OIC Inspector Nishantha Silva commenced an investigation into a suspected abduction for ransom racket run by Naval intelligence teams at the time. As investigations into the case of 11 missing youth believed to have been abducted by the group intensified over the years, explosive revelations in court recently implicated Naval top brass including several celebrated former Commanders of the Navy.

But perhaps now in a remarkable plot twist, through evidence unearthed by the CID during investigations into the disappearances, the Police sleuths have been led to yet another group of Navy intelligence officers embroiled in possible abductions including its former Chief of Intelligence Rear Admiral Ananda Guruge.

Continue reading ‘Former Navy Commander Jayantha Perera and Ex-Naval Intelligence Chief Ananda Guruge Allegedly Implicated in CID Investigations Into Disappearances of Vadivelu Loganathan and Ratnasami Parmananda Reportedly Abducted in Wellampitiya on January 11, 2009.’ »

Tamil National Alliance Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP Places Lankan Government in a Spot and Puts Tamil Political Rivals in the Shade


The Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) Member of Parliament M.A. Sumanthiran’s constitutional justification for seeking foreign judges to serve in the proposed Judicial Mechanism to try alleged war crime cases, has put the government in a spot, and his Tamil rivals in the shade.

In a statement in parliament on Friday, Sumanthiran said that there is no constitutional bar to the appointment foreign judges to Lankan counts.

He was responding to the statement of the Sri Lankan government in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 21 that the Lankan constitution does not allow foreign judges and lawyers to function in Lankan courts, and if they were to be allowed, the constitution has to be amended with a two third majority and a referendum to boot.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP Places Lankan Government in a Spot and Puts Tamil Political Rivals in the Shade’ »

After Weeks of Hate Campaign Spearheaded by Mahasona’s Dan Priyasad and Namal Kumara the Tamil and English Letters in Newly Installed Signboard at Bottom of Adams Peak – Sri Pada – Sivanolipadamalai Defaced with Black Tar by Vandals.

By

Maneshka Borham

The Police commenced an investigation this week into the defacing of the newly installed signboard at the bottom of the steps leading to Sri Pada on the Hatton-Nallathanniya trail. The tri lingual signboard displaying the name of the revered mountain, and its Tamil translation in particular appeared to have irked certain Sinhalese nationalist elements.

A gathering attended by a handful of people, led by the notorious Dan Priyasad of the Mahason Balakaya and Namal Kumara of the VIP assassination plot fame thought it fit to protest against the new board and its perceived threat in Colombo last week. Some others handed in complaints to Police Headquarters as well.

Threats

After two weeks of threats to destroy or deface the board by the groups and individuals connected to the duo on social media, it appears that finally someone among them or an individual influenced by the sentiments had followed through. As a result on Tuesday the Tamil and English translations of the Peak’s name chiseled on the signage as Sivanoli pada malai and Sri Pada had been painted over by an unidentified person with what appeared to be black tar leaving the text illegible.

As the act of vandalism left residents in the area disgruntled and the Police had to be called in to difuse the situation. Visiting the site, Hatton Superintendent of Police, Ravindra Ambepitiya, had taken steps to discuss with the residents and restore calm by promising to apprehend the suspects. Calling a meeting with the villagers, SP Ambepitiya had prevented the matter from escalating and causing discord among the residents in the area based on this minor incident on the day someone had painted over the names in black. “We have made the people understand and resolved the issue but this is not a major incident” he said when contacted by the Sunday Observer. According to SP Ambepitiya steps have also been taken to clean and restore the sign board.

Meanwhile, the Police has commenced an inquiry into the incident, and are hoping to nab the suspects through CCTV footage of the site. The Governor of the Central Province, Maithri Gunaratne too has put his foot down. Claiming he will not tolerate acts that may incite racism, the Governor has directed the Police to nab the suspects whose intention was to cause racial discord among the people through this dastardly act.

Continue reading ‘After Weeks of Hate Campaign Spearheaded by Mahasona’s Dan Priyasad and Namal Kumara the Tamil and English Letters in Newly Installed Signboard at Bottom of Adams Peak – Sri Pada – Sivanolipadamalai Defaced with Black Tar by Vandals.’ »

Several “Sharks”Being Investigated For Bribery and Corruption Were Prominent Psrticipants at Grand Tamasha Held at Shangri-La Hotel by Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption(CIABOC)

By

Anurangi Singh

Just a day after the grand tamasha that took place at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, to launch the ‘National Action Plan for combating bribery and corruption’, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), promptly went before the Colombo Magistrate, and, based on technical grounds, withdrew cases filed against MP Johnston Fernando. The cases pertained to his failure to disclose his assets and liabilities for four years, commencing 2011.

The main banquet hall at Shangri-La, was jam-packed with over a thousand invitee guests- ranging from the first citizen of the country himself, the Speaker, Opposition leader, politicians, clergy, representatives of the legal sector, law enforcement authorities, representatives of diplomatic missions, school children and various others. CIABOC, prior to the occasion, told media that they expect a crowd of ‘about 1,200’, however, the turnout seemed to exceed that modest number. The organizers had prepared a separate area for the VIPs to have lunch as it was impractical for the main ballroom to handle such a vast gathering.

The photo booth certainly seemed to be a crowd pleaser, if the long queue in front of it was anything to go by.

The press kit contained booklets explaining the five-year National Action Plan and a badge that the participants wore after taking the pledge, which proclaims that they will ‘continue to work with integrity’. A song, specially composed for the occasion, was played.

Continue reading ‘Several “Sharks”Being Investigated For Bribery and Corruption Were Prominent Psrticipants at Grand Tamasha Held at Shangri-La Hotel by Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption(CIABOC)’ »

Happy Birthday Prime Minister ! Ranil Wickremesinghe Deserves Our Deep Appreciation and Admiration for not Capitulating to the Coup and Standing Straight as the Legal and Constitutional Premier of Sri Lanka.

By

Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Recently at a workshop that focused on the events of October 26 and thereafter, a participant remarked that the one thing that stood out with respect to the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was his ability to maintain grace under pressure for the duration of the coup against the Constitution.

There are many who have alluded to his gentlemanly qualities in politics and his famous departure from Temple Trees without fuss when the election result was unfavourable. His behaviour throughout the coup, when he stood as the constitutional and legally elected Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, must be added to his profile as a leader with a keen sense of constitutional propriety and most importantly, with a sense of the conventions of parliamentary democracy.

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt in their work, ‘How Democracies Die’ have written about the importance of mutual tolerance and institutional forbearance for a fully functioning democracy. These values are not translated into constitutional articles per se but underpin the political culture as deeply embedded values that have also become conventions in the parliamentary sense and make the constitution work as it is intended to. Wickremesinghe is perhaps the only politician who now embodies this, after decades in politics and government.

Continue reading ‘Happy Birthday Prime Minister ! Ranil Wickremesinghe Deserves Our Deep Appreciation and Admiration for not Capitulating to the Coup and Standing Straight as the Legal and Constitutional Premier of Sri Lanka.’ »

Justice in Sri Lanka is About the Clash of “Non Equals” Like the Families of Missing Children and the “More Than Equals” Like The Navy Personnel Under Investigation for Allegedly Abducting Those Children For Ransom

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Accountability in Sri Lanka was always about the working of the criminal law. And Justice was always about the clash of the ‘non-equals’ with the ‘more than equals.’ In that clash, seldom have the ‘non-equals’ triumphed in this country, as bitter lessons of our legal history so persistently teach us.

Refresher in institutional memory

Those who are appalled at the recent ruling of the Supreme Court preventing the arrest of ex-Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda in connection with an ongoing investigation into the abductions of children for ransom while the parents of the children stood helpless in Court, may therefore be gently nudged towards a refresher course in institutional memory.

As frequently reminded in these column spaces, meeting a constitutional challenge on separation of powers in asserting the Rule of Law and the primacy of the Constitution is one thing. Standing firm against cacophonous screeching in Court and outside, that national security trumps all, that military men are heroes who stand above the law, that those who ‘saved’ the country must be protected at whatever cost and that anyone who dissents from this view is a traitor, is an entirely different matter altogether. That is a crucial distinction by and of itself.

Continue reading ‘Justice in Sri Lanka is About the Clash of “Non Equals” Like the Families of Missing Children and the “More Than Equals” Like The Navy Personnel Under Investigation for Allegedly Abducting Those Children For Ransom’ »

Silver Park Petroleum (pvt)Ltd Owned by Family of India’s DMK politician Jagathrakshakan Was Formed on Feb 21st 2019 Just 6 Days After Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama Submitted Cabinet Paper For Rs 685.5 Billion Oil Refinery Project in Hambantota

By Namini Wijedasa

The son of a controversial Indian politician from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is a director in, not just one, but two companies recently incorporated in Sri Lanka. The second was set up ostensibly to implement a US$ 3.85 billion (Rs 685.5 billion) oil refinery project in Hambantota.

But the initiative is mired in confusion. The Sri Lankan Government first announced the involvement of the Omani Ministry of Oil and Gas. However, Oman swiftly denied it had any part in the multibillion dollar investment.

This contradicted multiple documents –including Cabinet and Board of Investment (BOI) papers the Sunday Times has seen–that conclusively say the Omani Ministry will hold a 30 percent stake in the relevant joint venture with the remaining 70 percent going to Silver Park International (Pte) Ltd of Singapore.

The BOI then issued a statement admitting that “there is no agreement that has been signed between Oman’s Ministry of Oil and Gas and Silver Park International Pte Ltd with regard to equity arrangements of the project.”

But the Oman Oil Company “has registered their firm intention to participate in equity up to 30 percent, subject to reaching agreement between the parties”, it said, indicating that the Omani participation had been heavily overplayed well before a deal was made.

Yesterday, the Development Strategies and International trade Ministry circulated an “urgent” media statement, announcing that Oman’s Oil and Gas Minister Mohammed Hamad Al Rumhi had arrived in Colombo with the Chief Executive Officer of Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Co (ORPIC) for the groundbreaking ceremony of the oil refinery in Hambantota. This, too, said ORPIC “has expressed its firm interest” in partnering with Silver Park International in the project.

Continue reading ‘Silver Park Petroleum (pvt)Ltd Owned by Family of India’s DMK politician Jagathrakshakan Was Formed on Feb 21st 2019 Just 6 Days After Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama Submitted Cabinet Paper For Rs 685.5 Billion Oil Refinery Project in Hambantota’ »

Addl Solicitor -General Yasantha Kodagoda PC To Be Sworn in as Court of Appeal President as Constitutional Councl Unanimously Approves President Sirisena’s Fresh Nomination.

By

Manoj Colambage

Additional Solicitor General and President’s Counsel Yasantha Kodagoda is set to take oaths as President of the Court of Appeal, ending months of sparring and deadlock over the judicial appointment, the Sunday Observer learns.

Kodagoda was nominated to head the Court by President Maithripala Sirisena. The Constitutional Council yesterday unanimously approved the nomination by the President.

The nomination was believed to be in jeopardy when the Council sought the views of Chief Justice Nalin Perera on Kodagoda’s suitability to serve as the President of the Court. The Chief Justice declined to support Kodagoda’s nomination, instead proposing to the Council that Court of Appeal Judge Shiran Gooneratne be appointed as President of that Court.

Continue reading ‘Addl Solicitor -General Yasantha Kodagoda PC To Be Sworn in as Court of Appeal President as Constitutional Councl Unanimously Approves President Sirisena’s Fresh Nomination.’ »

“If Govt Does Not Honour Commitment Given in UNHRC Resolution to Set Up a Hybrid Court With Independent Foreign Judges The Tamil People May Demand an Entirely International Judicial Mechanism “States MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament.


By

Disna Mudalige and Camelia Nathaniel

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran made a stern appeal to the government to adhere to the time bound implementation of the UNHRC resolution which the country co-sponsored for the third time last Thursday.

Joining the Committee Stage debate in Parliament yesterday, Sumanthiran warned, “I want to make one thing very clear. The government of Sri Lanka has made these commitments thrice in writing. But if they do not adhere to this commitment of including independent foreign judges in the judicial mechanism, then we, the Tamil people will be left with no alternative but to move towards an entirely international judicial mechanism. That is possible and our people have been asking for this, asking that Sri Lanka be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC)”.

Continue reading ‘“If Govt Does Not Honour Commitment Given in UNHRC Resolution to Set Up a Hybrid Court With Independent Foreign Judges The Tamil People May Demand an Entirely International Judicial Mechanism “States MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament.’ »

Consensus Resolution on Sri Lanka Passed by UNHRC Gives Colombo the Right to Decide What Would be Implemented and To What Extent a Recommendation Would be Implemented.

By P.K.Balachandran

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)’s resolution on the rights situation in Sri Lanka, which was passed in Geneva on Thursday through consensus, meets Colombo’s requirements.

Resolution 40/L.1 not only gives two years’ extension for the implementation of resolution 30/1 of 2015, but also says that the recommendations will be implemented “with the concurrence of the Sri Lankan government.”

This gives Colombo the right to decide what will be implemented and to what extent a recommendation will be implemented. It gives room to the Lankan government to fulfill its wish not to implement the recommendation for a Judicial Mechanism with foreign judges and lawyers to try alleged cases of war crimes.

Continue reading ‘Consensus Resolution on Sri Lanka Passed by UNHRC Gives Colombo the Right to Decide What Would be Implemented and To What Extent a Recommendation Would be Implemented.’ »

Sri Lanka Co-sponsored Resolution Passed Without Opposition Through Consensus by United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday through consensus passed a resolution giving the government of Sri Lanka two more years to implement the resolution 30/1 of 2015, ie: until March 2021.

After the resolution was adopted the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, said that the passing of the resolution 40/L.1 is a mark of recognition of Sri Lanka’s political commitment and the progressive steps already taken by the Government since 2015 towards ethnic reconciliation, assurance of human rights and accountability.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Co-sponsored Resolution Passed Without Opposition Through Consensus by United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.’ »

Should We Not Feel Great and Proud That Lord Naseby a White Lord of the UK Our Former Colonial Master Helped Us By Reducing The Number Of Alleged Civilan Deaths to 8000 From 40000?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The UNCHR has adopted the resolution on Sri Lanka, without a vote. We have two more years to give further proof of peace building and reconciliation.

Don’t we feel great about using the Lord Naseby facts to strengthen our case?

Shouldn’t we feel even greater that the number of Tamil civilians allegedly killed at the final stages of the war has been reduced to about 6,000 (as Lord Naseby says) and not that hugely bloody 40,000 as claimed by the Tamil Diaspora?

Should we also not be proud it was a white Lord of the United Kingdom, our former colonial master, who helped put this record straight, and not any Brown Sahib, with whatever punditry, from our part of the world?

Isn’t it also great that we were able to use the Lord Naseby facts in response to a resolution proposed by his home country – the United Kingdom, together with other western powers? We have shown how Whites can be used to fight the Whites! Are we learning from New Zealand?

A cause for greater joy is that for two more years, and even after, we can well ignore those nearly 6,000 or more Tamil civilians who may have allegedly been the victims of War Crimes. Just remember one thing…our War Heroes never killed innocent Tamil civilians; their victims were all terrorists.

Continue reading ‘Should We Not Feel Great and Proud That Lord Naseby a White Lord of the UK Our Former Colonial Master Helped Us By Reducing The Number Of Alleged Civilan Deaths to 8000 From 40000?’ »

Mahinda Takes Decision With Rajapaksa Family’s Approval To Nominate Brother Gotabaya as Sri Lanka Podujana Party Candidate For 2019 Presidential Elections: Gota Commences Renunciation of US Citizenship Process.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Former Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary and Retired Colonel of the Sri Lankan Army Gotabaya Nandasena Rajapaksa generally Known as Gota is likely to be nominated as the official candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Party(SLPP) at the forthcoming 2019 Presidential elections.

Former President Manhinda Rajapaksa and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

After a prolonged period of indecision and speculation, the decision to nominate Gotabaya as candidate was taken by former President and current leader of the opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa with the concurrence and approval of other politically engaged members of the extended Rajapaksa family.

The key decision was taken on Thursday March 14th at the Wijerama road residence of Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo after a meeting in which six members of the Rajapaksa family involved in active politics were present.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Takes Decision With Rajapaksa Family’s Approval To Nominate Brother Gotabaya as Sri Lanka Podujana Party Candidate For 2019 Presidential Elections: Gota Commences Renunciation of US Citizenship Process.’ »

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana Makes Statement at UNHRC in Geneva Rejecting Proposals to Appoint International Judges for Judicial Mechanism, Establishing an UN Human Rights Office in Sri Lanka and Setting up a Fixed Timeline for Transitional Justice Process.


Sri Lanka today rejected UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s proposals to establish an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Sri Lanka and calling to implement a detailed and comprehensive strategy for the transitional process with a ‘fixed timeline’.

“We all are eager to see results. However, pressing for time bound benchmarks to show quick results on decades old, sensitive and complex issues, is bound for failure,” Foreign minister Tilak Marapana in a statement to the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council said.

Sri Lanka also rejected calls for setting up an international judicial mechanism to probe alleged human rights violations during the final phase of the the war, claiming that non-citizen judges are not allowed according to country’s constitution.

He also said that as a sovereign state, Sri Lanka must set its priorities in addressing the well-being and sustainable peace for her people. Various historical, cultural, and religious sensitivities therefore need to be managed while pursuing the ultimate objective of upholding and protecting human rights.

“In developing these transitional justice mechanisms, Sri Lanka does not believe there is justification for the setting up of an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sri Lanka,” the minister said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana Makes Statement at UNHRC in Geneva Rejecting Proposals to Appoint International Judges for Judicial Mechanism, Establishing an UN Human Rights Office in Sri Lanka and Setting up a Fixed Timeline for Transitional Justice Process.’ »

Singapore Refutes President Sirisena’s Allegation of Sheltering Ex-Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran While Faulting Sri Lanka For not Providing Documents Seeking Extradition.

Singapore rejected Wednesday Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s allegation it was sheltering a former central bank chief wanted for fraud, saying Colombo failed to provide documents to support its extradition request.

Sirisena on Monday accused Singapore of sheltering Arjuna Mahendran, one of his country’s former central bank chiefs wanted in connection with a high-profile $74 million insider trading scam.

Sirisena said he appealed to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in January to return Mahendran, who is believed to be in Singapore, but claimed nothing had been done.

Continue reading ‘Singapore Refutes President Sirisena’s Allegation of Sheltering Ex-Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran While Faulting Sri Lanka For not Providing Documents Seeking Extradition.’ »

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Flays Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa For Misleading the Public Through Falsehoods about the Co-sponsored Resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has criticized former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for challenging the Geneva Resolution on the basis of disclosure made by Lord Naseby in the House of Lords. Samaraweera issued the following statement in response to Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement dated17 March 2019 instructing the government on what its position should be when the UN Human Rights Council that is at present meeting in Geneva discusses Sri Lanka’s progress on national reconciliation:

“In his statement, as usual aimed at hoodwinking the masses, he assumes a commanding and almost martial tone. Packing it with misinformation to mislead the public, he seems to forget the small detail that he is no longer the President or even the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka – fake or otherwise. As the citizens of our country – Asia’s oldest democracy – remember very well, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s attempts to usurp the position of Prime Minister a few months ago failed miserably in the face of the determined resistance of our citizens and our independent institutions including our judiciary. My recommendation to Mahinda would be, in true friendship: lets put aside the airs. It really is impossible to engage in constructive dialogue if you give instructions and orders on policy to a government that is trying very hard to fix the several troubles that you yourself, your close advisors and those you appointed to high positions during your time as President created, especially since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.

“And let us be serious. Any advice on policy must be placed on facts, not on fake or exaggerated assertions, which a quick scan of Mahinda’s statement reveals:

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Flays Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa For Misleading the Public Through Falsehoods about the Co-sponsored Resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva’ »

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Tells UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Colombo cooperated with the UN, but there was very slow progress in delivering the 2015 commitments on accountability.

Sri Lanka’s has failed to fully implement its commitments to ensure accountability for war-time atrocities because of a lack of vision at the highest level of leadership in the county, the UN human rights chief said today.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told the council in Geneva that Colombo cooperated with the UN, but there was very slow progress in delivering the 2015 commitments on accountability.

Sri Lanka’s new government in 2015 promised to ensure an internationally- acceptable judicial mechanism to try war criminals and pay reparations to victims. However, Colombo is yet to set up systems to ensure justice for tens of thousands of civilians killed by both sides of the conflict.

“Implementation of resolution 30/1 (of 2015) needs to be more consistent, comprehensive and accelerated,” Bachelet said in her statement to the council while discussing Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Tells UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Colombo cooperated with the UN, but there was very slow progress in delivering the 2015 commitments on accountability.’ »

UN Human Rights Chief Michele Bachelet Tells Human Rights Council that Sri Lanka Could Slip Back to Conflict Unless it Addresses Through a Judicial Mechanism the “Worst Crimes” Committed During War

The UN human rights chief yesterday warned Sri Lanka it could slip back to conflict unless it addressed the “worst crimes” during the final stages of its ethnic war.

Michelle Bachelet told the Human Rights Council that Sri Lanka was yet to set up the special judicial mechanism as promised four years ago to try war criminals.

Sri Lankan Government troops have been accused of killing at least 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians in the final months of the island’s 37-year guerrilla war that ended in May 2009.

Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Chief Michele Bachelet Tells Human Rights Council that Sri Lanka Could Slip Back to Conflict Unless it Addresses Through a Judicial Mechanism the “Worst Crimes” Committed During War’ »

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Wants Sri Lanka to Implement a Detailed, Comprehensive Strategy for Transitional Process with a Fixed Timeline.

Presenting the report on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka to the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on Sri Lanka to implement a detailed, comprehensive strategy for the transitional process with a fixed timeline.

Acknowledging the Sri Lankan Government’s open dialogue and sustained cooperation with the OHCHR, Bachelet welcomed the operationalisation of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) and the establishment of the Office for Reparations and encouraged the Government to enable the two institutions to “function effectively and independently”, and to link them to a broader approach aimed at justice, real accountability and truth-seeking.

Continue reading ‘UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Wants Sri Lanka to Implement a Detailed, Comprehensive Strategy for Transitional Process with a Fixed Timeline.’ »

No Need To withdraw Itself From UN Resolution as Previous Co-sponsorship Was a Mere Formality That Served Sri Lanka’s Interests and Diluted International Interest

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

For years, foreign policy mandarins and their political bosses in this country lived and re-lived a lie that Sri Lanka’s destiny would be decided in Geneva. They were joined by the acolytes of the Tamil Tiger terrorists, their financers and paid and otherwise propagandists, who made the gullible in the diaspora part ways with their hard currencies, thinking that they were winning the war that the Tigers lost in May 2009.

That debate had lost its intensity since then, but, still there are those both in the South, and Toronto who prefer to live the old lie. In the meantime, UNHRC sessions have become a mere formality, though an unwanted and uneasy one for Sri Lanka.

As another session of the UN Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka is underway this week, the debate has shifted too. Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa who had demanded that the government withdraw its co-sponsorship of the resolution.

Continue reading ‘No Need To withdraw Itself From UN Resolution as Previous Co-sponsorship Was a Mere Formality That Served Sri Lanka’s Interests and Diluted International Interest’ »

Three Judge Supreme Court Bench Headed by Chief Justice Nalin Perera Issues Restraining Order Preventing “Activist Lawyer” Nagananda Kodituwakku From Practising as an Attorney -at -Law For Three Years After Hearing Defamation Case Filed by Justive Vijith Malalgoda.

The Supreme Court, yesterday, issued a restraining order preventing Nagananda Kodituwakku from practising as a lawyer for three years.

A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justices Sisira de Abrew and Prasanna Jayawardena issued the order over a 2015 defamation case.

The case was filed by Justice Vijith Malalgoda, while he was the President of the Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court initiated a disciplinary inquiry in respect of attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku’s conduct in the Court of Appeal on May 21, 2015 before the then President of the Court of Appeal justice Vijith Malalgoda, PC and justice H. C.J. Madawala, based on the complaint.

Continue reading ‘Three Judge Supreme Court Bench Headed by Chief Justice Nalin Perera Issues Restraining Order Preventing “Activist Lawyer” Nagananda Kodituwakku From Practising as an Attorney -at -Law For Three Years After Hearing Defamation Case Filed by Justive Vijith Malalgoda.’ »

Is This Govt Going to Push Forward the Counter Terrorism Act by Water Cannoning Trade Unions Protesting Provisions of the Bill?

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardena

In contrast to Colombo’s largely polarized sound and fury on the Counter-Terror Bill, it is refreshing to look at the manner in which South Africa has dealt with uncannily similar dilemmas of balancing national security imperatives and constitutional rights in bringing its counter-terror law into effect more than a decade ago.

Shared legacies of horrific state violence

There are indeed, much in common between South Africa and Sri Lanka in shared histories of horrific state violence. We have similar legacies of over-broad national security/emergency regimes that replaced the criminal procedure law and gave state agents the literal power of life and death over citizens across racial and ethnic lines. In more recent times, there are great similarities in dysfunctional state processes of both countries when the law is translated from theory to practice. This is important to recognise as this is why good legal provisions falter in the practically subversive context of state impunity unchecked by the Constitution. Indeed, this is the signal difference in contrast to functional Rule of Law countries, even if we are to recognise the retreat of the liberal rights culture in those countries as they face the brutality of global terrorism.

That said, there are notable differences between the two nations. As a senior legal practitioner and a celebrated South African rights advocate elaborated for my benefit in a measured discussion in Johannesburg a few days ago, South Africa’s Constitutional Court has proved itself to be a formidable bulwark against state repression. Even in tense economic times and uncertain political turbulence similar to what Sri Lankans face, it is a matter for pride that the South African Court has stood firm above the frantic winds of popular and political pressure.

Most importantly, it has unflinchingly refused to accept the dictate of the State in pleading national security to shield state action contrary to the Rule of Law. That is not something that we see frequently here. Our Supreme Court, even in the best of times and with the best of judges a decade or two ago, was not quite able to emulate that judicial fortitude. Now, that has got significantly worse.

Continue reading ‘Is This Govt Going to Push Forward the Counter Terrorism Act by Water Cannoning Trade Unions Protesting Provisions of the Bill?’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Wants Govt to Inform the UNHRC and UN Human Rights Commissioner That Sri Lanka Would No Longer Co-sponsor a Resolution Against Itself in Geneva.

The UNF government must officially communicate to the UN Human Rights Commissioner and members of the UNHRC that Sri Lanka will no longer co-sponsor resolutions against itself in the UNHRC; Sri Lanka does not accept the allegations made in OHCHR Report No: 30/61 of 28 September 2015 and will not set up a hybrid war crimes courts with foreign judges and prosecutors, Opposition Leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa says.

Issuing a media statement, Rajapaksa, yesterday, said the government must also repeal Acts No: 14 of 2016, No: 5 of 2018 and No: 24 of 2018, which were highly detrimental to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and the fundamental rights of its citizens and replace them with legislation more in keeping with Sri Lanka’s national interest.

“All members of the delegation representing the government, in Geneva, should clearly understand that anything short of the above will effectively, be a betrayal of the people of Sri Lanka.”


Full text of the Opposition Leader’s statement, titled The stand Sri Lanka should take in Geneva:

” The government has announced that they will co-sponsor yet another resolution against Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council. Resolution 30/1, the first such co-sponsored resolution in October 2015 committed the government to among other things, setting up a hybrid war crimes court with the participation of foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators and to removing by administrative means, individuals in the armed forces suspected of human rights violations even if there is insufficient evidence to charge them in courts. By co-sponsoring Resolution 30/1, the Sri Lankan government officially accepted Report No: 30/61 dated 28 September 2015 prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), which directly accused the Sri Lankan armed forces of many crimes including torture, enforced disappearances, deliberate targeting of civilians and the denial of humanitarian assistance to civilians.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Wants Govt to Inform the UNHRC and UN Human Rights Commissioner That Sri Lanka Would No Longer Co-sponsor a Resolution Against Itself in Geneva.’ »

At Least 170 Island -wide Suicides in 2018 By People Unable To Repay Loans Obtained From Microfinance Institutions; Highest Rates Among Women From Vavuniya, Jaffna and Batticaloa Districts.

By

Aanya Wipulasena

Exorbitant debts from loans provided by Microfinance institutions to failing businesses have pushed at least 170 people into suicide, islandwide,in the past year alone, with the highest suicide rates being reported among women, and area-wise in the Vavuniya, Jaffna and Batticaloa districts, Progressive Peasants’ Congress (PPC) shows. The suicide rates are just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger issue as unregulated microfinance companies continue to juggle with money and lives of the deprived.

The most recent suicide case related to Micro-financing is reported from Ela- Kimbulawala in the Polonnaruwa district where a 38-year-old father of one was driven to take his life despite his many futile attempts to pay off his debt.

The man had taken an initial loan of Rs. 80,000 and then a second amounting to Rs.30, 000, to pay off the former. In order to collect money to pay off the arrears, he has migrated to Colombo for masonry work. Failing in his endeavours, he returned to his village wherehe was confronted by debt collectors who has bombarded him in foul language, evidence given by his wife revealed. Later on February 28th, this year, he left his house, only for his body to be found hanging from a tree in a nearby forest, the next day.

Continue reading ‘At Least 170 Island -wide Suicides in 2018 By People Unable To Repay Loans Obtained From Microfinance Institutions; Highest Rates Among Women From Vavuniya, Jaffna and Batticaloa Districts.’ »

Sri Lanka’s System of Justice is now Facing an Entirely New Source of Threat, Because the Very Issue of Justice has been Excessively Politicised Blurring the Distinction Between Power and Justice.

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

The controversy over whether the former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda would be arrested captured public attention last week.

The saga has left the citizen concerned about the independence of the judiciary, and its responsibility to protect powerless and helpless citizens when their rights are repeatedly violated. It also highlighted the need to emphasize the court’s obligation to safeguard the principle of equality before the law.

The issue of Karannagoda’s arrest is centred on the abduction of 11 Tamil – speaking youth and their alleged subsequent murder, suspected to be carried out by a group of Sri Lanka Navy personnel during the war.

Investigations carried out by the CID have revealed that the alleged abduction and murder of these Tamil youth was part of an organised ransom racket.

It is to this investigation that the former Navy Commander’s name is now linked.

The media has revealed that according to the CID reports submitted to the court, the former Navy Commander had been aware of this abduction – for – ransom racket, but had done nothing to prevent it. There were also suggestions that if he had intervened, the lives of these eleven young boys could have been saved.

The Attorney General was preparing to file indictments against him in the High Court as a suspect in this case.

Abduction, enforced disappearance and murder are indeed grave crimes. Police arrest of suspects involved in such crimes is a routine course of action.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s System of Justice is now Facing an Entirely New Source of Threat, Because the Very Issue of Justice has been Excessively Politicised Blurring the Distinction Between Power and Justice.’ »

CIABOC(Bribery Commission)Goes After Sprats and Not Sharks! Most Cases Probed are Offences Involving Ten Million or Less by “Small People”: Only One Case Above 10 Million;Not a Single Case Filed for 25 Million and Above Offence.

By

Aanya Wipulasena

Over the past decade, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) has been exclusively probing graft cases involving ‘small people’, while cases of corruption of over Rs.10 million are left largely uninvestigated, a Right to Information application has revealed.

Good governance activist Chandra Jayaratne, wrote to President Maithripala Sirisena last week about the findings, citing information he obtained from the Bribery Commission by making an RTI filing.

The revelation comes ahead of the launch of the institute’s National Action Plan tomorrow.

“Warrant of Integrity: The Launch of the National Action Plan for Combatting Bribery and Corruption” will be held under the patronage of President Sirisena at the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo. CIABOC officials told the Sunday Observer that the venue, which will house over 1,200 guests during the occasion, was offered at “concessionary” rates. The Commission hopes to celebrate its ‘historic outcomes’ achieved over the past 10 years.

Jayaratne has learnt through the RTI application, that during the 10 years CIABOC has only filed one case (HCB/32/2017) where the alleged bribe was over Rs. 10 million, and no action was taken against a single case in which graft amounted to over Rs. 25 million.

Continue reading ‘CIABOC(Bribery Commission)Goes After Sprats and Not Sharks! Most Cases Probed are Offences Involving Ten Million or Less by “Small People”: Only One Case Above 10 Million;Not a Single Case Filed for 25 Million and Above Offence.’ »

Many Sri Lankans are fully aware that we are fortunate in our birthplace, but we do not realize that some sensitive and intelligent visitors share our sense of wonder

By

Yasmine Gooneratne

Sri Lanka recently received high praise from the writers of The Lonely Planet as a country they rate as Number One in a list of places which well reward visitors’ interest. Their views have been echoed by Hidden Travellers, a group of travel writers who aim to disclose the good as well as the bad features of the lands they visit.

Their findings, which are available on line, are admirably frank and balanced. They should be read by everyone involved in the hospitality industry and most especially by Government-controlled bodies such as the Tourist Board, Sri Lanka Railways, and the Ministry of Transport, whose activities bring them into close contact with visitors from abroad in ways, and at levels, often unknown to the managers of five star hotels and the visitors who have the means and good fortune to enjoy the luxuries provided by such hostelries.

Many Sri Lankans assume that Westerners who have money to spend on leisure travel, are wealthy. This, of course, is not the case. Not every visitor is well-heeled. Many are students travelling on strictly controlled budgets, so that they have to watch and account for every cent they spend. The more thoughtful and well-informed are not simply ‘out for a good time’ on our beaches and in our malls and restaurants, and they are perfectly aware that Sri Lanka is dependent on the ‘tourist dollar’ for her economic survival.

For tourism in this country to prosper, a balance has to be found that will provide visitors with comfortable, safe, and memorable experiences while at the same time allowing the locals they meet to earn a living and and make friends of these strangers, so that they will come again, and recommend our country to others. The latter is not easy for our people, who are (or used to be) traditionally reluctant to ‘push themselves forward’, and who indeed once considered such behaviour as contemptible and evidence of a lowly upbringing.

It’s hard for us, therefore, to sell ourselves and our assets to visitors without seeming ‘pushy’. But that, unfortunately, is what we are called upon to do by the tourism industry. It is obvious that we are not always very good at finding the balance, since ‘pushiness’, significantly, is at the top of the list of unpleasant characteristics that Hidden Travellers, a well-intentioned and perceptive set of observers, have recorded online as characteristic of the Sri Lankans they encountered in the course of their visit to our country.

Continue reading ‘Many Sri Lankans are fully aware that we are fortunate in our birthplace, but we do not realize that some sensitive and intelligent visitors share our sense of wonder’ »

The Original Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee Created 30 Years Ago is Now Indistinguishable From What Frames and Fuels Politics, Elections, society, institutions,Communications,Relations and Community

By

Sanjana Hattotuwa

Our wait for a telephone was just a few years. At the time, in the early 90s, we knew of families who were on a waiting list for close upon a decade. I was at school when Sri Lanka Telecom had installed the rotary device. Like the first mobile phones from Motorola to hit Sri Lanka, the unit weighed about the same as and was more akin to gym equipment than anything remotely akin to what is today considered a phone.

I was enthralled, and dialled, for no reason than to just use the telephone, a friend I had seen not more than an hour ago. He lived in Mount Lavinia. We both had five-digit phone numbers. We were both excited to talk at length about nothing of consequence before my father subtley reminded me that the call was expensive. It was the first time I learnt of peak and off-peak charges. It wasn’t yet possible to just dial an international number. That required prior approval and an up-front payment, in addition to hundreds of rupees a minute, depending on the country dialled.

There was no Internet. There was no web. Smartphones hadn’t been invented. Social media hadn’t been invented. I didn’t own or even have access to a computer. It was a purely analogue world, with the only sign of digital made by Casio and strapped to my wrist. The few conversations I had, at the time, were always prefaced by a few minutes of sheer wonder that the call connected, followed by amazement we were talking over a telephone.

Continue reading ‘The Original Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee Created 30 Years Ago is Now Indistinguishable From What Frames and Fuels Politics, Elections, society, institutions,Communications,Relations and Community’ »

“Proceedings in Karannagoda Case Show The Partisan Manner In Which The Judiciary and Attorney -Generals Dept Function in Matters Like These” States MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament.

TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran queried how Parliament can approve the President’s expenditure head when the President is trying to send a separate Opposition delegation to Geneva to represent himself when a government delegation is also attending the UNHRC sessions.

He noted that this is an important head of expenditure that has been proposed in this budget. “If one scans the figures that have been proposed one can see that the president’s office has the lion’s share only second to the elections secretariat. It’s almost Rs. 2,933 million more than the allocation for parliament itself which is Rs. 2,779 million.”

“I want to raise a few issues that has already been raised by the speaker who opened the debate today with regard to the disputes that exist between several personalities whom these expenditures have been proposed. All of these important offices seem to be at loggerheads and the smooth functioning has been disrupted thanks to the plot on October 26 last year.We are still reeling after that onslaught and all of these institutions are at each others throats. One important issue is the present sessions that are going on at the UNHRC and the announcement by the president that he intends sending three members to represent him and move away from the commitment Sri Lanka has given twice before with his blessings and then counter to that the Prime Minister’s and foreign ministers offices that they would co-sponsor the new resolution at the UNHRC sessions this year,” he said.

Continue reading ‘“Proceedings in Karannagoda Case Show The Partisan Manner In Which The Judiciary and Attorney -Generals Dept Function in Matters Like These” States MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament.’ »

Ex -Def Secy Gotabaya Rajapaksa Whose Passport Was Impounded in Connection With DA Rajapaksa Museum Case Given Permission by Permanent High Court Trial at bar Bench hearing Case to Travel Abroad Between Mar 26 to Apr 12.

By
Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa whose passport was impounded in connection with the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum case was yesterday temporally permitted to travel abroad by the Permanent High Court-at-Bar.

The Trial-at-Bar bench comprising High Court Judges Sampath Abeykoon (President), Sampath Wijeratne and Champa Janaki Rajaratne allowed Gotabaya Rajapaksa to travel abroad between March 26 and April 12.

Continue reading ‘Ex -Def Secy Gotabaya Rajapaksa Whose Passport Was Impounded in Connection With DA Rajapaksa Museum Case Given Permission by Permanent High Court Trial at bar Bench hearing Case to Travel Abroad Between Mar 26 to Apr 12.’ »

Northern Governor Dr.Suren Raghavan Obtains Memorandum From 8 Member Delegation Representing Families of Disappeared Persons Before Going to UNHRC In Geneva as Part of Govt Delegation.

By Manekshaw

A memorandum was handed over by the representatives of the aggrieved families of the disappeared persons two days ago to Northern Governor Dr. Suren Raghavan who is one of the five members of the delegation sent by President TMaithripala Sirisena to attend the UNHRC session in Geneva.

It was on the request made by Governor Dr. Raghavan, soon after he was handpicked by President Sirisena to be present at the 40th UNHRC session, a delegation of eight persons including mothers of the involuntarily disappeared persons had handed over a memorandum to the Governor highlighting their plight with regard to the disappearances of their beloved ones.

In the meantime former Provincial Councillors M. K. Sivajilingam and Ananthi Sasitharan had handed over a memorandum, last week, to the Northern Governor elaborating on the humanitarian problems in the North and the East to be tabled at the ongoing UNHRC session in Geneva.

Continue reading ‘Northern Governor Dr.Suren Raghavan Obtains Memorandum From 8 Member Delegation Representing Families of Disappeared Persons Before Going to UNHRC In Geneva as Part of Govt Delegation.’ »

Bangladesh Cricket Team in Christchurch to Play Third Test Against New Zealand was Arriving at Al Noor Mosque at Time of Shooting Were Not Affected and are all Safe.

Multiple fatalities were inflicted at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday when at least one gunman opened fire on worshippers, police said.

Witnesses told media that a man dressed in a military-style, camouflage outfit, and carrying an automatic rifle had started randomly shooting people in the Al Noor mosque.

The Bangladesh cricket team was arriving for prayers at the mosque when the shooting occurred but all members were safe, a team coach told Reuters.

Police said they had one person in custody but they were not sure if others were involved. Police advised people to stay away from mosques.

“As far as we know, the fatalities occurred at two mosques,” New Zealand’s Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.

Continue reading ‘Bangladesh Cricket Team in Christchurch to Play Third Test Against New Zealand was Arriving at Al Noor Mosque at Time of Shooting Were Not Affected and are all Safe.’ »

“Many of those directly affected by this shooting have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not”- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden

The New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arden has given a short speech responding to the shooting at mosques in Christchurch that has left several people dead.

Jacinda Ardern said the incident was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” and that the victims had chosen to make New Zealand their home. “They are us,” she said. “The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”

Here are her comments:

“Whilst I cannot give any confirmation at this stage around fatalities and casualties, what I can say is that it is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days.

Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.

Continue reading ‘“Many of those directly affected by this shooting have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not”- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’ »

Survivors of Horrendous Shooting at Christchurch’s Al Noor Mosque in New Zealand Provide Eyewitness Accounts of Their Terrifying Ordeal to Media.

By

Michael Mcgowan

Before the shooting starting, the Al Noor mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch was “peaceful, calm and quiet”.

“As it is when the sermon starts, you could hear a pin drop,” a man identified as Ramzan told reporters on Friday.

Then about 1.40pm during afternoon prayers, gunfire broke out.

“It started in the main room … I was in the side room, so I didn’t see who was shooting but I saw that some people were running out to my room where I was in, I saw some people had blood on their body and some people were limping,” Ramzan told reporters.

“It was at the moment I realised things were really serious.”

Continue reading ‘Survivors of Horrendous Shooting at Christchurch’s Al Noor Mosque in New Zealand Provide Eyewitness Accounts of Their Terrifying Ordeal to Media.’ »

49 Killed and 20 Injured in Mass Shooting of People Gathered For Afternoon Prayers at Two Mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand: 4 Suspects Arrested for “Right wing Extremist Attack”.

by

Lisa Martin

Forty -nine people have been shot dead and 20 injured in attacks at two mosques during Friday afternoon prayers in Christchurch in what is the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” as police uncovered multiple explosive devices attached to cars and commissioner Mike Bush urged all mosques across the country to close their doors for the time being.

Four people were taken into custody – three men and one woman – for what Ardern described as a terrorist attack. One person was later released. Ardern condemned the ideology of the people behind the shootings, saying: “You may have chosen us but we utterly reject and condemn you.

New Zealand’s threat level has been raised from low to high and none of the suspects were on terrorism watchlists, Ardern said.

Continue reading ‘49 Killed and 20 Injured in Mass Shooting of People Gathered For Afternoon Prayers at Two Mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand: 4 Suspects Arrested for “Right wing Extremist Attack”.’ »

Women and Children in North Being Sexually Violated by Maniacs and Filmed for Screening Abroad by Some Members of the Tamil Diaspora Alleges JVP Parliamentarian Bimal Ratnayake.

By Saman Indrajith

Women and children in the Northern Province were being exposed to a sinister racket of producing rape films sponsored by members of the same community who were resident abroad, JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake, yesterday, told parliament.

Participating in the Committee Stage Debate of the Appropriation Bill 2019 on the Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training and Skills Development and Youth Affairs, MP Ratnayake said that there was now a ‘rape film industry’ in the area.

“This is a tragedy. I think you all can remember the rape and murder of a school girl in Punguduthivu. That was not just a rape. The rapists filmed the brutal incident and they got paid for that similar to what is happening in the Northern Province and it is an open secret now. The real tragedy is that the racket is sponsored by the members of their own community who live abroad and return to the country, occasionally. They pay maniacs to rape women and children and to film those savage incidents. Then they sell those video tapes for large amounts of money.”

Continue reading ‘Women and Children in North Being Sexually Violated by Maniacs and Filmed for Screening Abroad by Some Members of the Tamil Diaspora Alleges JVP Parliamentarian Bimal Ratnayake.’ »

Could Sri Lanka Have “Ignored” the Resolution 30/1 Passed By the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Four Years Ago?

By
Shivani de Zylva

The commitments made by the Government of Sri Lanka four years ago at the UNHRC session in Geneva have had lasting impressions on its citizens. While some perceive the commitments of Resolution 30/1 (Res 30/1) as an international obligation that threatens our sovereignty or a political tool and a box ticking process, others even view the resolution as an unpatriotic mechanism that will result in the prosecution of our war heroes due to international intervention in our domestic affairs.

While such strong perceptions against its implementation even four years into Res 30/1 continue to come from within the country- it is important to look at this resolution from a different angle. In retrospect- Could Sri Lanka have ignored Resolution 30/1?

To answer this, it is important to look at how important the UNHRC (where the resolution was passed) is in its global standing, what effects its implementation will have on victims, and the message Sri Lanka would send out by ignoring the resolution completely.

Continue reading ‘Could Sri Lanka Have “Ignored” the Resolution 30/1 Passed By the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Four Years Ago?’ »

Central Bank Commissioned Study “Economic Development Framework for a Northern Province Master Plan” Provides an Opportunity for Discussion On Post -War Development of Province

By

Prof N. Shanmugaratnam

´Economic Development Framework for a Northern Province Master Plan´, is a study commissioned by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and carried out by a team of seven members with competence in relevant fields and knowledge of post-war conditions in the province. The study provides an opportunity for an open discussion on post-war development in the Northern Province.

Apparently, the first post-war Provincial Council (October 2013 – September 2018) did not find it worth creating a development plan as a means of collective action to address the challenges of socio-economic advancement of the war-torn community that had elected it to office with great enthusiasm and expectations.

Now, ten years after the end of the war and shortly after the end of the five-year term of the provincial council, we have a study, commissioned by a central government institution, that provides an opening for discussion and debate on the development of the province.

The study begins with an overview of the pre- and post- war economic and social conditions in the NP, and proceeds to present a framework for a provincial development plan. It highlights the destruction, displacement and depopulation caused by the protracted war and their consequences, and identifies some of the social and economic challenges of post-war development of the province. It makes the point that the official policy of post-war development had failed to yield satisfactory results because of the government´s failure to take these challenges into account. In the absence of a macroeconomic vision, the approach was reactive, piecemeal and project based.

´Soon after the war´, says the study, ´local production was subjected to a market shock as road connectivity resumed to the wider market with far more advanced production.´ This ´sudden reintegration with the market in the rest of the country´ along with credit expansion without due consideration to the vulnerabilities of war-affected households had contributed to ´widespread indebtedness and a rural economic crisis.´ There has been a growing financialisation of households. Indeed, for the poor in a neoliberal world, debt is a dangerous substitute for safety net – dangerous as it leads the poor deeper into a debilitating debt trap, and even to suicide under extreme conditions! Investments expected from the diaspora did not arrive in spite of the tax incentives offered. Apparently, tax incentives alone were not sufficient to attract investments into a war-ravaged region. There was a lack of understanding of the institutional and capacity deficiencies – and, one may add, of the post-war political environment in the NP.

Continue reading ‘Central Bank Commissioned Study “Economic Development Framework for a Northern Province Master Plan” Provides an Opportunity for Discussion On Post -War Development of Province’ »

Core Group on Sri Lanka Comprising UK, Canada, Germany, Montenegro and North Macedonia Present Resolution A/HRC/40/L.1 Titled “Promoting Reconciliation,Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka” at UNHRC In Geneva.

The Core Group on Sri Lanka, led by the United Kingdom on Monday tabled the Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

The Core Group on Sri Lanka, comprising Canada, Germany, Montenegro, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland presented the resolution A/HRC/40/L.1 titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’.

Reaffirming Human Rights Council resolutions 30/1 of 1 October 2015 and 34/1 of 23 March 2017 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, the draft resolution 40/1 welcomed the positive engagement of the Government of Sri Lanka with the High Commissioner and the Office of the High Commissioner since October 2015.

Continue reading ‘Core Group on Sri Lanka Comprising UK, Canada, Germany, Montenegro and North Macedonia Present Resolution A/HRC/40/L.1 Titled “Promoting Reconciliation,Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka” at UNHRC In Geneva.’ »

Ex-Def Secy Gotabaya Rajapaksa Files Writ Ptition Seeking Quashing of Order Made on Feb 20 by Permanent High Court; Appeal Court Fixes Matter for Hearing on Mar 26

By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday directed Petitioner Gotabaya Rajapaksa to re-issue notices pertaining to his Writ Petition contesting the Order of the Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar, which is hearing the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum Case, on the Respondents.

The Bench comprising Justices Achala Wengappuli and Arjuna Obeysekere fixed the matter for 26 March.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Def Secy Gotabaya Rajapaksa Files Writ Ptition Seeking Quashing of Order Made on Feb 20 by Permanent High Court; Appeal Court Fixes Matter for Hearing on Mar 26’ »

Ex-MP Sivajilingam says he Handed Over Letter Seeking Independent International Investigation Into Alleged War Crimes and Violationsto Northern Province Governor’s Secretary to Be Submitted to UNHRC In Geneva By Suren Raghavan

By Dinasena Ratugamage

A special note would be sent to the UNHRC via the Governor of the Northern Province, Suren Raghavan, former Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, M. K. Sivajilingam said.

Sivajilingam said that after learning that Raghavan would attend the UNHRC sessions, as a representative of the President, he had handed over the letter to the Secretary to the Governor a few days back.

“I went there with former Northern Provincial Council minister, Ananthi Sasitharan and a few others. This letter contains a resolution passed by the Northern Provincial council.”

According to Sivajilingam one of the proposals in the letter was made by the former Northern Provincial Council, Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran. It stated that there should be an independent international investigation into alleged war crimes and human rights violations that took place in Sri Lanka during the war.

Continue reading ‘Ex-MP Sivajilingam says he Handed Over Letter Seeking Independent International Investigation Into Alleged War Crimes and Violationsto Northern Province Governor’s Secretary to Be Submitted to UNHRC In Geneva By Suren Raghavan’ »

The Politics of Demonizing Federalism and Depicting It as Separatism

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The year was 1985. Junius Richard Jayawardene was the Sri Lankan President while Rajiv Gandhi was Prime minister of India. The New Delhi facilitated talks between an official Sri Lankan Govt delegation and six entities representing the Sri Lankan Tamils were going on in the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu during the months of July and August. The Sri Lankan delegation was led by President Jayewardene’s brother H.W.Jayawardene. The Tamil side comprised the then premier Tamil political party the TULF and five Tamil armed organizations namely the PLOTE,LTTE, TELO, EPRLF and EROS.

There was much excitement in the country and the Thimphu talks was the talk of the town. There were many discussions about a viable alternative being formulated to replace the separatist Tamil Eelam demand. Much of the debate centered around a power sharing settlement on federal lines. I was then working on “The Island” and wrote a weekly column on Tamil affairs titled “Behind the Cadjan Curtain”. I had also returned from India after meeting with many Tamil political and militant leaders based in Tamil Nadu. The well-known media personality Richard de Zoysa was then trying to work out a special feature for “Rupavahini” on reactions of the “common man”to the Thimphu talks in Sri Lanka. If I remember correctly the Rupavahini chairman then was M.J.Perera while the Director-General was Anura Gunasekera. Richard wanted me to help out with the feature and I readily agreed. One day Richard asked me to drop in at the TV studio to view some footage relating to the project. These were random, man in the street type of interviews. The interviewees from different walks of life were asked questions about the ethnic conflict, separate state,division of the country, political solution, devolution and a federal arrangement etc. Most of the answers were in the affirmative. There was also a visible authenticity about the opinions expressed.
Continue reading ‘The Politics of Demonizing Federalism and Depicting It as Separatism’ »

Hearing Of Fundamental Rights Petition Filed By Ex-Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda By Three -Judge Bench Of Supreme Court Provides Illuminating Insight Into How The Justice System Works In Sri Lanka


By

Manoj Colambage

For 10 long years, Sarojini Naganathan has gone from court house to court house, in a seemingly endless search for her only child, Rajiv.

On Thursday, when former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda’s fundamental rights petition seeking to block his arrest by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was taken up by a three judge bench of the country’s apex court, there she was again, a sad-eyed woman of about 50 years, wearing a simple black sari, sitting erect and attentive through a marathon five hour hearing.

Already, the difference between how the justice system treated her and the former Navy Commander was striking. For years, various police stations and courts refused to even entertain a complaint from her about her son’s abduction and disappearance, even long after her family’s emissaries had negotiated with senior navy officers, including Karannagoda, to secure her son’s release. A Habeus Corpus Application filed by Naganathan in 2011 has yet to see a judgment.

But after a lengthy and meticulous CID investigation has finally led to the arrest of over a dozen Navy Officers, and the former Navy Commander himself was named the 14th Suspect by the CID, Naganathan had a glimmer of hope that justice would be done. In its B report of February 22, the CID named Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda as the 14th suspect in the murder of 11 young men abducted in Colombo in 2008. A decade long investigation has found that the kidnappings were part of an elaborate racket by Sri Lanka Navy men, to abduct the children of wealthy families and extort money from their parents.

Yet on the same day that the CID was to name Karannagoda as a suspect and seek his arrest, February 22, the former Navy Commander filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking to block his arrest.

On February 28, when the Admiral’s fundamental rights petition was initially taken up, the Attorney General’s Department told court that indictments against the former Navy Chief were “framed and ready to go”. On that day, despite repeated entreaties from Counsel for Karannagoda, the AG told Court that the Department was unable to provide an undertaking that the CID would not arrest the suspect, who was at the time, a fugitive from justice.

Continue reading ‘Hearing Of Fundamental Rights Petition Filed By Ex-Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda By Three -Judge Bench Of Supreme Court Provides Illuminating Insight Into How The Justice System Works In Sri Lanka’ »

Sri Lanka’s Draft Counter Terrorism Act is a Whole Lot of Bad With Some Good Thrown In.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Sri Lanka’s draft Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) is not a curate’s egg of mostly good with a little bit of bad thrown in. Rather, it is the reverse. The draft Act is a whole lot of bad with some good thrown into the unappealing mixture.

Ingenious traps by ‘deep state’ security agents

Certainly it is not the same perverse creature inhabiting the initial CTA drafts. But to cheer that seeming advance is to fall into the precise trap that those who are well-schooled in the sly tricks played by Sri Lanka’s artful state agents will avoid with a jaundiced eye.

These are ingenious traps set by ‘deep state’ security agents who have learnt to survive Governments and political regimes with consummate ease. Flippant assessments of the gazetted draft CTA are a deadly mistake. Unquestionably this is an aggravation of the existing counter-terror regime, not a reduction, as blissfully believed by some.

Those first drafts of a supposed Counter Terror framework staggered the nation as their contents were preposterous. In analysing the drafts ‘leaked’ to this newspaper at the time, it was pointed out in these spaces that, if this was the cure for the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA, 1979), then ‘the cure was worse than the disease.’ Granted, the gazetted Bill is absent the most outrageous clauses.

Some may even suspect that the perversity of those drafts may have been on the calculated assumption that the outrage would subside once the clearly perverse clauses were taken out.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Draft Counter Terrorism Act is a Whole Lot of Bad With Some Good Thrown In.’ »

“If There is All Round Development of the Country And There is Economic Equality a Tamil Person Could be Prime Minister of Sri Lanka” Says Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

By P.K.Balachandran

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Sri Lankan Defense and Urban Development Secretary and younger brother of the country’ fifth President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is confident of getting elected as President of Sri Lanka at the end this year.

He said in an interview here on Wednesday, that his confidence rests on his belief that Sri Lankans are yearning for a “non-mainstream, ethnically unbiased and an economic and social development-oriented leader” to wrench the country from the morass it has been stuck for three decades.

Known to be a hardliner on the ethnic issue dividing the majority Sinhalese from the minority Tamils and Muslims, Gotabaya however believes that he can get the votes of the minorities on the basis of his ethnically non-partisan and economic development agenda.

“People are tired of mainstream politicians who only think of votes and care little for the genuine development and progress of the people. I am not a mainstream politician and that is the advantage I have,” he said recounting his achievements in the developmental field as a top administrator in the Mahinda Rajapaksa government from 2005 to 2014.

Even if the minorities, especially the Tamils, are swayed by ethnic considerations, he could win with enhanced support from the Sinhalese majority, Gotabaya believes.

Continue reading ‘“If There is All Round Development of the Country And There is Economic Equality a Tamil Person Could be Prime Minister of Sri Lanka” Says Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Throws a Lifeline to Ex-Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda By Preventing Imminent Arrest by Police Over Case Concerning Abduction for Ransom and Murder of Youths by Navy Personnel.

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Thursday prevented the imminent arrest of retired admiral Wasantha Karannagoda in connection with murder, but he was ordered to make a statement to the CID which he has been avoiding.

A three-judge bench allowed the former navy chief’s application to block the police Criminal Investigations Department from arresting him in connection with the abduction and murder of 11 young men between 2008 and 2009.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Throws a Lifeline to Ex-Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda By Preventing Imminent Arrest by Police Over Case Concerning Abduction for Ransom and Murder of Youths by Navy Personnel.’ »

Sri Lankan President Sirisena Renegades on Pledges Given to UN Human Rights Council That His Govt Would Investigate Allegations of Human Rights Violations During The War.

Sri Lanka’s president went back Wednesday on pledges to the UN Human Rights Council to investigate war-time atrocities, saying he did not want to “re-open old wounds”.

Sri Lankan government troops were accused of killing at least 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians in the final months of the island’s 37-year guerrilla war that ended in May 2009.

President Maithripala Sirisena said he will formally ask the United Nations rights body to reconsider a 2015 resolution which called for credible investigations into alleged atrocities.

“It is a decade since we have established peace in this country,” Sirisena told reporters at his official residence in Colombo. “I want to tell them (the UN) not to pressure us.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan President Sirisena Renegades on Pledges Given to UN Human Rights Council That His Govt Would Investigate Allegations of Human Rights Violations During The War.’ »

What Will the “South Asian Trump” Sirisena’s “Janadhipathi Thunkattiya”(Presidential Trio) Comprising Amunugama, Samarasinghe and Raghavan Do At the UNHRC In Geneva?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

What exactly will the special Presidential Trio sent to the United Nations Human Rights Council – UNHCR – in Geneva do?

Will Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe and Northern Governor Dr. Suren Raghavan, be a rival team to the official Sri Lankan diplomatic team led by our Ambassador in Geneva?

There are contradictory and rival attitudes here about the UNHCR’s Resolution on Sri Lanka, adopted in 2015. Many, who are from the Sinhala majority and are supportive of pro-Sinhala Buddhist policies in governance strongly oppose it. It is their democratic right. There are also many, especially those from the Tamil minority, and also from the Sinhala majority who are supportive of it, again a democratic right.

What is the third line that President Sirisena and his Chosen Trio will present to the UNHCR, this country and to the world community? It certainly is more than a mere diplomatic puzzle, and will fall in line with the baffled political thinking of President Sirisena, who has been showing for some time that he does not agree with the Resolution.

Continue reading ‘What Will the “South Asian Trump” Sirisena’s “Janadhipathi Thunkattiya”(Presidential Trio) Comprising Amunugama, Samarasinghe and Raghavan Do At the UNHRC In Geneva?’ »

“We Will Protect war Heroes But Not Criminals” says Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Who Wants the Law to Apply to Wasantha Karannagoda if Ex-Navy Chief Had Done anything Wrong.

By

Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana

The law should apply to former navy commander Wasantha Karannangoda if he had done anything wrong, Field Marshal and MP Sarath Fonseka said today during the debate on the second reading of the Budget.

He said the former navy commander should be penalized if he was found guilty on the charges which he was facing.

Continue reading ‘“We Will Protect war Heroes But Not Criminals” says Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Who Wants the Law to Apply to Wasantha Karannagoda if Ex-Navy Chief Had Done anything Wrong.’ »

CID Chief Investigator Nishantha Silva Probing Cases of Attacks Against Journalists and Abduction For Ransom By Navy Called “Hangman” and “Villain” in Scathing Attack in Courts by Romesh de Silva PC.

Romesh De Silva PC launched a blistering attack on CID Gang Robberies Branch OIC Nishantha Silva, the lead investigator in the controversial Navy abductions case that has garnered wide public interest.

De Silva PC said that in February 2015, IP Silva had been handed over the investigation into the alleged abduction racket by the Navy, on the basis that a proper job had not been done on the probe that far.

De Silva PC referred to the CID sleuth as a ‘hangman’ and ‘villain’ in his submissions before the Supreme Court yesterday, as he tried to make the case that the police investigation that had allegedly found Karannagoda to be a suspect set for indictment by the Attorney General in the grisly abduction racket, for aiding and abetting the murders of the 11 boys, was filled with bad intentions and conducted in a partisan manner.

Continue reading ‘CID Chief Investigator Nishantha Silva Probing Cases of Attacks Against Journalists and Abduction For Ransom By Navy Called “Hangman” and “Villain” in Scathing Attack in Courts by Romesh de Silva PC.’ »

Justice Kumudini Wickramasinghe Recuses Herself From Court of Appeal Bench Hearing Writ Petition Filed by Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Contesting Order Issued by High Court Trial at Bar.


By S. S. Selvanayagam

Justice Kumudini Wickramasinghe yesterday recused herself from being a member of the Court of Appeal Bench, which is taking up the Writ petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Petitioner Gotabhaya filed his Writ petition contesting the order of the Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar which is hearing the D. A. Rajapaksa Museum Case.

The Bench comprising Justices Kumudini Wickramasinghe and Mahinda Samayawardhana deferred the Writ Petition for 5 July.

Continue reading ‘Justice Kumudini Wickramasinghe Recuses Herself From Court of Appeal Bench Hearing Writ Petition Filed by Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Contesting Order Issued by High Court Trial at Bar.’ »

Six Samples of 319 Skeletal Remains Unearthed in Mannar Mass Grave Found to be Centuries Old from 1499 to 1719 Period According to Carbon Dating Report by Beta Analytic Institute of Florida in USA

By
Sithum Chathuranga and Romesh Madusanka

The Carbon dating report from the Beta Analytic Institute of Florida, USA has revealed that the skeletal remains found in the Mannar mass grave dates back to a period between 1499 and 1719 AD (Anno Domini).

However, the analysts are of the opinion that it was impossible to determine the specific time period.

Skeletal remains of 325 bodies were recovered during the investigation carried out for 155 days. Skeletal remains of 318 bodies have so far been unearthed including those of 29 children

Six samples of skeletal remains were sent to the laboratory in Florida for carbon testing on January 23, 2019.

Continue reading ‘Six Samples of 319 Skeletal Remains Unearthed in Mannar Mass Grave Found to be Centuries Old from 1499 to 1719 Period According to Carbon Dating Report by Beta Analytic Institute of Florida in USA’ »

Supreme Court Orders Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Should Not Be Taken Into Custody By Police On The Basis Of Sworn Affidavits by Ex-Navy Chief That He Would Not Interfere With Witnesses or Leave the Country

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda to be present at the CID next Monday to record a statement.

Karannagoda would submit an affidavit to the Supreme Court to the effect that he would neither interfere with witnesses at the High Court trial nor leave the country. In respect of that undertaking the petitioner Karannagoda should not be taken into custody, the court said.

The proceedings of the hearings were terminated on the basis of the undertaking to give sworn affidavits to the court.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Orders Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Should Not Be Taken Into Custody By Police On The Basis Of Sworn Affidavits by Ex-Navy Chief That He Would Not Interfere With Witnesses or Leave the Country’ »

9 Page Petition Filed Before Supreme Court by JC Weliyamuna PC On Behalf of Victim Rajiv’s Mother Saroja Alleges that Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda First Complained Against Sampath Munasinghe Out of Spite Because Ex-Navy Chief’s ADC Had an Illicit Love Affair With His Wife Asoka.

A love triangle may have helped trigger investigations into what has become Sri Lanka’s worst abduction and murder case by a rouge unit under former navy chief Wasantha Karannagoda, the Supreme Court was told.

Documents filed in the highest court suggest that the horrendous kidnappings and killings took place right under the nose of Admiral Karannagoda who was initially the complainant, but later turned out to be one of its main suspects.

The alarm was raised in May 2009 when Karannagoda complained to the police against his own Aide de Camp, Lieutenant Commander Sampath Munasinghe with whom he had a personal issue.

Karannagoda accused Lt. Commander Munasinghe of collaborating with terrorists, but in the initial police complaint there was no mention about the abductions and killings carried out by navy personnel. However, the navy’s intelligence unit had weeks earlier informed Karannagoda about the gruesome goings on.

The love triangle came out into the public domain when the mother of a victim filed a petition with the Supreme Court on Tuesday. She wants to be a party against Karannagoda’s application seeking an order to prevent his imminent arrest.

Continue reading ‘9 Page Petition Filed Before Supreme Court by JC Weliyamuna PC On Behalf of Victim Rajiv’s Mother Saroja Alleges that Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda First Complained Against Sampath Munasinghe Out of Spite Because Ex-Navy Chief’s ADC Had an Illicit Love Affair With His Wife Asoka.’ »

Britain’s Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Sri Lankan Tamil Asylum Seeker in Landmark Judgement Pointing to “Well -established Evidence of Extensive Torture by Sri Lankan State Forces in 2009”.

By

Vidya Ram

Britain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favour of a Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seeker’s claim that the Home Office was wrong to reject his contention that he was tortured back in Sri Lanka, and asked the Upper Tribunal to look at the case afresh, in what is considered a landmark judgment.

The Supreme Court, in its judgment, also pointed to “well established evidence” of “extensive torture” by Sri Lankan state forces in 2009.

The individual — named as KV — arrived in the U.K. in 2011 and claimed asylum, alleging that he was tortured by Sri Lankan forces on suspicion of association with the LTTE. He had “five long scars on his back and two shorter scars on his right arm,” which were the clear “product of branding with a hot metal rod.”

Continue reading ‘Britain’s Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Sri Lankan Tamil Asylum Seeker in Landmark Judgement Pointing to “Well -established Evidence of Extensive Torture by Sri Lankan State Forces in 2009”.’ »

“No Force On Earth Can Make Me Or Us Reveal the Confidential Sources From Whom We Obtained Defence Ministry Documents About the Rafale Deal” States “The Hindu” Newspaper Publishing Group Chairman N. Ram.

N. Ram, Chairman of The Hindu publishing group, responded strongly to Attorney General K.K. Venugopal’s argument in the Supreme Court that the Rafale deal documents were “stolen” and those publishing them were guilty under the Official Secrets Act.

“We did not steal the documents from the Ministry of Defence, we got them from confidential sources and no force on earth can make me or us reveal the source of the documents, because we have given our word,” said Mr. Ram.

“Secondly, we have published this information obtained through investigative journalism in the public interest, significant information that was withheld or suppressed despite repeated demands made in Parliament and outside.

Thirdly, an unintended consequence of alleging that we have published ‘stolen documents’ has been authentication of the documents by the government itself; you need no further evidence that this is the real thing, the real deal.”

Continue reading ‘“No Force On Earth Can Make Me Or Us Reveal the Confidential Sources From Whom We Obtained Defence Ministry Documents About the Rafale Deal” States “The Hindu” Newspaper Publishing Group Chairman N. Ram.’ »

Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara Tells Court that Attorney -General Will File Indictments in Colombo High Court Against Former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and 13 Others.

By
Shavini Madhara

The Attorney General will file indictments before the Colombo High Court against former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda and 13 other suspects.

They are accused of being involved in the abduction and forced disappearance of 11 youth in 2009.

Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara made this remark when the magisterial inquiry into the abduction and disappearance of 11 youth was taken up before court yesterday.

SSC Bandara further informed court that the CID had begun investigations into the abduction and disappearance of 11 youth based on a written complaint by the then Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda to the CID DIG on May 28, 2009, against his personal security officer, then Lt. Commander Nilantha Sampath Munasinghe, following which the CID was able to unravel the Navy’s involvement in the abductions.

Continue reading ‘Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara Tells Court that Attorney -General Will File Indictments in Colombo High Court Against Former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and 13 Others.’ »

Tamil Musician and Another Youth Carrying Red Flag with Tiger Emblem Taken off Geneva Bound Flight at Heathrow Airport and Taken for Questioning To Metropolitan Police’s Counter-terrorism Headquarters in Earl’s Court in London.

COUNTER-TERRORISM police arrested a Tamil musician at Heathrow airport hours before he was due to perform at a UN summit in Switzerland.

Vakeesan Thangavel, 36, was surrounded by armed police on Monday morning after he boarded a flight bound for Geneva.

Officers allegedly shouted: “You are attempting terrorism! You have got a flag!”

Continue reading ‘Tamil Musician and Another Youth Carrying Red Flag with Tiger Emblem Taken off Geneva Bound Flight at Heathrow Airport and Taken for Questioning To Metropolitan Police’s Counter-terrorism Headquarters in Earl’s Court in London.’ »

Brig. Priyanka Fernando’s Lawyer Told British Court That the Throat -Slitting Gestures Made by His Client at Demonstrators was Part of the 10 Part Job Description of the Defence Attache at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London.

MAKING slit-throat gestures at Tamil protesters was part of the job description for Sri Lanka’s military attache in London, Westminster Magistrates Court heard today (Mar 1).

Barrister Nicholas Wayne made the extraordinary argument in defence of his client, Brigadier Priyanka Fernando.

The soldier was caught on camera running his fingers across his throat while standing guard outside the Sri Lankan High Commission last year. The Brigadier left the country days later.

A British judge has since found him guilty of causing “harassment, alarm and distress” to Tamil complainants who brought a private prosecution, but the Brigadier claims he has diplomatic immunity.

Continue reading ‘Brig. Priyanka Fernando’s Lawyer Told British Court That the Throat -Slitting Gestures Made by His Client at Demonstrators was Part of the 10 Part Job Description of the Defence Attache at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London.’ »

Peoples Commission on Land will Commence Conducting Public Hearings and Focus Group Discussions To Gather Information and Views From People on Land Related Issues on a District by District Basis from March 8th 2019

(Text of a Press Release Issued on March 6th 2019 on behalf of the Peoples Commission on Land initiated by the Peoples Alliance for Right to Land(PARL)

The People’s Commission on Land is initiated by the People’s Alliance for Right to Land (PARL), a network of displaced communities, civil society organizations and activists working on land related issues across Sri Lanka.

The purpose of this Commission will be to develop a framework for a national land policy based on the views and opinions of communities whose right to land and natural resources have been violated or threatened.

Issues relating to lands and their use have led to many social, economic, financial and political issues for people in Sri Lanka. Conflicting claims on lands based on vested interests have led to numerous conflicts in the recent past.

Continue reading ‘Peoples Commission on Land will Commence Conducting Public Hearings and Focus Group Discussions To Gather Information and Views From People on Land Related Issues on a District by District Basis from March 8th 2019’ »

If President Sirisena Gets Sri Lanka To Withdraw Its Co-sponsorship of UNHRC Resolution it will Only Re-inforce Belief That Sri Lankan Govts Do Not Honour Promises To Deliver Justice to Minorities.

By

Col R Hariharan

President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to be seriously examining the implications of withdrawing from the US-backed UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution Sri Lanka had co-sponsored in September 2015. By co-sponsoring the resolution, Sri Lanka was committed to set up a tribunal with international participation to investigate allegations of war crimes committed by the army as part of its accountability for human rights aberrations during the Eelam War.

The President’s rethink on the resolution comes on the eve of the 40th annual session of the UNHRC being held in Geneva from February 22 to March 25. It will be taking up the review on Sri Lanka on March 20 when the core group consisting of the UK, Canada, Germany, Macedonia and Montenegro is expected to urge the Council’s support for the resolution once again. Though the US is not part of the Core Group as it had quit the Council, it has continued to work with Sri Lanka government on the implementation of the UN resolution.

Continue reading ‘If President Sirisena Gets Sri Lanka To Withdraw Its Co-sponsorship of UNHRC Resolution it will Only Re-inforce Belief That Sri Lankan Govts Do Not Honour Promises To Deliver Justice to Minorities.’ »

“Enterprise Sri Lanka” Scheme for Providing Loans to Young entrepreneurs will be Strengthened and Expanded Under 2019 Budgest Announces Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

By
Disna MudaligeCamelia Nathaniel and Menaka Indrakumar

The Government yesterday rolled out sweeping incentives for all social segments of the country presenting an all-inclusive Budget for the year 2019.

The Budget also included a series of new proposals to meet revenue targets and successfully confront the fiscal challenges.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, delivering the 2019 Budget speech themed ‘Focusing on Empowering the People and Nurturing the Poor’, announced that all public servants would receive an additional allowance of Rs.2,500 from July 1, and that a pension adjustment would be made on the same day to remove all pension anomalies who retired before 2016. Despite the economic woes, the Government has made an additional allocation of Rs 40 billion for the increase of public servants’ allowance and Rs.12 billion to rectify the pension anomalies.

In his two hour and fifteen minutes long Budget Speech, the minister also reminded the House that the salaries of public servants have been increased by 107 percent during the period of the current government.

Continue reading ‘“Enterprise Sri Lanka” Scheme for Providing Loans to Young entrepreneurs will be Strengthened and Expanded Under 2019 Budgest Announces Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.’ »

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Presents People -Friendly Budget With Emphasis on Enterprise That Would ” Empower the People and Nurture the Poor”.


True to expectations, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday presented a people-friendly Budget for 2019, balanced with maintaining policy consistency and reforms for the private sector, though the Opposition and some analysts were wary
.

A segment of Samaraweera’s proposals were targeted at increasing economic competitiveness, while others were focused on providing voter incentives for an election year, and revenue-generating measures. The Budget for 2019 was titled “Enterprise Sri Lanka -Empowering the People and Nurturing the Poor.”

Predictably, the Government increased the salaries of public sector workers, by giving an interim allowance of Rs. 2,500 per month from 1 July. Payments to a range of social segments, including the elderly, armed forces, differently-abled, and Samurdi beneficiaries, were also listed out. A significant segment of the Budget was also dedicated to policies aimed at increasing women’s participation in the formal workforce, and encouraging entrepreneurship.

Budget 2019 also raised production tax on cigarettes by Rs.5 per stick, production tax on hard liquor 750 ml by Rs.63, and a beer can by Rs.9. Given the high debt repayments in 2019, and moderate reserve levels, the Government opted on the side of caution and increased costs on small vehicles, deviating from the usual practice of reducing prices during election years. Accordingly, production tax on vehicles less than 1000cc has been increased by Rs.175,000, and for less than 1300cc by Rs.500,000.

Production taxes on electric vehicles less than 70KW will be reduced by Rs.175,000. Three-wheelers of 200cc will see their production tax increased by Rs.60,000.

The core of the Budget was focused on measures to increase exports, attract investment, promote key industries such as tourism, and improve skill levels of the workforce. However, Samaraweera had tough words for the private sector at the start of his speech, insisting that the Government was on the side of companies that were willing to be competitive.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Presents People -Friendly Budget With Emphasis on Enterprise That Would ” Empower the People and Nurture the Poor”.’ »

“If We Have a Truly Independent Judiciary and Independent Commissions Today- and I Believe We Have Begun The Process- Much Of The Credit Must Go To Shibly Aziz” – Radhika Coomaraswamy

(Text of a Lecture delivered by Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy on 2nd March 2019 at an event held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute in Colombo, commemorating the life of former Attorney – General Shibly Aziz PC, who served as a member of the Constitutional Council)

I want to thank the organizers for having invited us here today to pay tribute to this great man. I want to particularly thank Shibly Aziz’s wife Fathima. In life she was Shibly’s rock of Gibraltar and today she is the main driving force behind this event and other activities being done in his name. Shibly has talented sons and Afdhel Aziz’s book Strange Fruit once kept me company on a long flight across the Atlantic with its sensitive portrayal of people and the diversity endemic to our culture. Its story of love and loss is really a larger story of Sri Lanka; its beauty as well as its portrayal of areas that were once the heart of darkness.

For a long time I knew Shibly as an acquaintance with whom I shared similar interests. We rarely met except at social events and what we discussed was not much more than the weather. So when we were put on the Constitutional Council together, I must confess we were both slightly wary of each other. After all he had been a former Attorney General whose briefs included the protection of state interest in courts of law. I came from a human rights background. Our calling, on the other hand, required us to be watchdogs of the state and its activities, contesting areas where state activities were wrong or downright criminal.

In the beginning Shibly and I had a few bumps on the road in shortlisting names for the larger council. We also had differences about issues outside the law such as the personal laws of our respective communities. At one point Shibly looked exasperated and just put his head in his hands

Nevertheless within weeks we struck common cause. We were both strong believers in independent judiciaries and commissions. We desperately wanted institutions that would exist without bias, without political interference; judiciaries and commissions that receive the confidence of the public who saw that the decisions were fair and just. We wanted justice to be done as well as seen to be done. We felt it was our national duty.

A lot of discussion these days about the Constitutional Council saddens me. I would like to say something about the Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions today because I feel that will be the best way to honour Shibly who was a fervent defender of these ideas in the sessions of the Constitutional Council.

Continue reading ‘“If We Have a Truly Independent Judiciary and Independent Commissions Today- and I Believe We Have Begun The Process- Much Of The Credit Must Go To Shibly Aziz” – Radhika Coomaraswamy’ »

12 Year old Nishi Uggalla of Sri Lankan Origin With an IQ Higher Than That of Albert Einstein Wins Britain’s Channel 4 TV’s Child Genius 2019 Competition

By
Dr.Upul Wijayawardhana

The remarkable win of 12-year-old Nishi Uggalla, from Manchester, on Saturday night’s (2nd March) final of the Channel Four’s Child Genius competition was, no doubt, a proud moment for all Sri Lankans domiciled in UK. But it was much more because she made it ultra-special and won the hearts of everyone who watched the programme by an inspiring acceptance speech. Further, she was different from all the other contestants; whereas all the others were driven by their parents or relations, Nishi was the driving force herself.

Child Genius is an annual competition open to children from the age of eight to twelve years where they are challenged on spelling, maths, memory, vocabulary, geography and science. Of the hundreds auditioned, 19 came for the final cut and numbers were reduced daily through the week of the competition, to 6 on the final day. After the first round, the two getting the highest marks went head-to-head on a buzzer round, the first to get ten points being the Child Genius 2019.

Continue reading ‘12 Year old Nishi Uggalla of Sri Lankan Origin With an IQ Higher Than That of Albert Einstein Wins Britain’s Channel 4 TV’s Child Genius 2019 Competition’ »

CID Observes that the Lives of youths Abducted and Confined by Navy Personnel for Ransom Could Have Been Saved if Former Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Who Had Prior Knowledge of these Happenings Had Acted in a Timely Manner Instead of Abetting or Concealing Information.

By Ranga Jayasuriya

Sri Lanka’s effort to find a closure to the victims of the protracted terrorist war is obstructed by two ideological extremes, each feeding into the agenda of the other. On one extreme end of the scale, Sinhala ultra-nationalists and electoral calculations of Southern politics have opposed almost all on-going and past initiatives to prosecute military officials implicated in even the most blatant human rights violations. Similarly, self-serving machinations are pushing back against a Cabinet memorandum to appoint a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the release of military occupied land to their owners and to a new constitution .

On the other extreme, the LTTE rump, their affiliated groups and paid coolies are hell-bent on discrediting the Sri Lankan state for defeating an egregious terrorist group that they bankrolled for nearly two decades. The annihilation of the LTTE was a fait acompli and is beyond the reversal within the available means of the Tamil separatist campaign. (Unless of course, yet another government in Colombo hides its head in the sand to be rudely woken up by another bus bomb as it happened for three times in the short independent history both in the South and the North). The demand for an international investigation is therefore the consolation prize for losing the Eelam war.

If Sri Lanka is to move forward, the government should address reasonable grievances of war victims, and prosecute the perpetrators of at least some of the well documented violations of human rights. It should do so on its own accord, dictated by its own calculations of national interest- and not necessarily because its European friends want it to do so. Or because the government wants to appease the Tiger loving Tamil diaspora and their local partners.

Continue reading ‘CID Observes that the Lives of youths Abducted and Confined by Navy Personnel for Ransom Could Have Been Saved if Former Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Who Had Prior Knowledge of these Happenings Had Acted in a Timely Manner Instead of Abetting or Concealing Information.’ »

Is Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda to be the Sacrificial Lamb at the Altar of the 40th UNHCR Sessions?

By Sharmini Serasinghe

The 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva is currently underway. The report on Sri Lanka will be formally submitted on the 20th of March.

Less than a week before the Geneva Sessions commenced on the 25th of February, former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda’s impending arrest hit the headlines as the 14th accused in connection with the investigations into the abduction and killing of 11 youths in 2008-2009.

Lest it be forgotten, it was he, the then Navy Commander, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda who in May 2009, made the initial explosive revelations of a gruesome abduction for ransom racket by some officers serving in the Sri Lanka Navy. Investigations into the racket began immediately, but fell by the wayside soon after.

Save a few amongst the disgruntled Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora and the incumbent government, no one really gives a damn for these ‘Geneva sessions’ anymore.

Continue reading ‘Is Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda to be the Sacrificial Lamb at the Altar of the 40th UNHCR Sessions?’ »

Ex-Def Secy Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa States Future Govt Would Ensure the People’s Right to Live Respectfully, Enhanced Religious Freedom, Eradication of the Underworld and a Disciplined Society.

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Vidyajothi Prof. M.S. Rizvi Sheriff on Saturday (March 02) declared that wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was not just another Rajapaksa but a man with immense talent, skill and vision.

The academic said that Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his opinion a man well worthy of securing the political leadership in Sri Lanka.

Prof. Rizvi said so at a public meeting organized by prominent businessman A L M Farris, at Elamaldeniya, Gelioya in support of ‘Eliya’, a civil society organization, promoting Gotabaya’s candidature at 2019 presidential election.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahanuwa District UPFA MPs Keheliya Rambukwella, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Dilum Amunugama and Anuradha Jayaratne, former Provincial Council members and Local Government were present.

Referring to how Rajapaksa had dealt with what he called the Development Plan for the City of Colombo, Prof. Sheriff asserted that Rajapaksa was suited for the leadership position.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Def Secy Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa States Future Govt Would Ensure the People’s Right to Live Respectfully, Enhanced Religious Freedom, Eradication of the Underworld and a Disciplined Society.’ »

Several Senior Naval Officers Hand-picked by Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Questioned by CID Have Indicated that the Former Navy Commander was Consciously Complicit in Allowing 11 Abducted Youths to be Killed.

By

Manoj Colambage

Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda inched closer to arrest last Thursday, with the Supreme Court delaying the consideration of a petition filed by the former Navy Commander seeking to prevent his arrest by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in connection with the murder of 11 young men alleged to have been abducted for ransom by the Navy in late 2008.

Just one day after he failed to present himself at the CID having been summoned to appear on Thursday February 21, Karannagoda, on Friday February 22, filed a Fundamental Rights Petition before the Supreme Court alleging that he was at risk of an imminent arrest by the CID. The petition was filed on the same day the CID investigating officer, Inspector Nishantha Silva filed a report in the Colombo Fort Magistrates Court naming the former navy commander as a suspect, on charges including conspiracy to commit murder, aiding and abetting murder, concealing information about a crime and making false statements to the police about a crime.

The CID has not presented material in any court that implicates Karannagoda in the suspected 2008 abductions of any of the 11 murder victims or in the extortion of money from their families. The evidence presented against the former Navy Commander by the CID is centered around his alleged role in the murder of the illegally detained youth in May 2009 after he was said to have been notified that their families were aware of the location at which they were being detained.

Karannagoda, in his affidavit and petition in the Supreme Court, written representations through his lawyers to the Attorney General, and in letters to the Inspector General of Police, has denied any role or involvement in the abduction and murder of the 11 youth. Thirteen naval officers under his command have been arrested and charged by the CID in connection with abduction, confining and murdering the 11 victims and extracting extortion money from their families.

Dispelling allegations that the victims were taken into custody by the navy as a part of a covert military or intelligence operation connected to the war against the LTTE, the CID has reported to the Colombo Fort Magistrates Court that all three armed forces, the Army, Navy and Air Force, had certified that no intelligence existed to justify suspecting any of the victims of complicity in terrorist activities.

According to reports filed in the Magistrates Court, several senior naval officers hand-picked by Karannagoda who were questioned by the CID have indicated that the former Navy Commander was consciously complicit in allowing the 11 youth to be killed. They include current Navy Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral J.J. Ranasinghe, Karannagoda’s Military Secretary Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando, former Navy Commander Admiral Travis Sinnaiah and former Director Naval Intelligence Admiral Ananda Guruge.

Continue reading ‘Several Senior Naval Officers Hand-picked by Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Questioned by CID Have Indicated that the Former Navy Commander was Consciously Complicit in Allowing 11 Abducted Youths to be Killed.’ »

Pakistan Releasing Indian Air Force Pilot Has Clearly Put The Ball In India’s Court But Imran Khan Too Must De-escalate Situation By Dismantling Terrorist Camps

By Col R Hariharan

With IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman back home from Pakistan and receiving a hero’s welcome, tempers have cooled down somewhat between India and its neighbour which were on the brink of a confrontation. These relations entered a potential conflict zone after 12 IAF Mirage 2000s carried out a carefully crafted mission to destroy the largest Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training centre in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. Apart from this, camps were destroyed in Muzaffarabad and Chakothi in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on February 26. India’s muscular response was to avenge JeM’s suicide bomb attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in J&K, killing 40 jawans.

Though India’s response came 12 days after the Pulwama attack, it was well-planned to cover political, diplomatic and military aspects. This was evident in the way the Air Force had meticulously planned to ensure total surprise. The IAF strike was supported by airborne early warning and control radar systems designed to detect and track aircraft, missiles and ships, and air defence cover by Sukhoi 30MKI aircraft, while Heron drones conducted surveillance of the LoC. In order to achieve total surprise, the Mirages were inducted directly into operation from Gwalior with Ilyushin (Il-78) aircraft providing mid-air fuelling facility. It was a demonstration of the IAF’s capability to carry out a complex air operation. Both Pakistan and China would have taken note of this to factor it in their strategic matrix.

India has made it clear that the operation was not against the Pakistan military or its people. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, in an official statement, called the operation “an intelligence-led operation” carried out in the early hours of the day. He said: “India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated.”

Continue reading ‘Pakistan Releasing Indian Air Force Pilot Has Clearly Put The Ball In India’s Court But Imran Khan Too Must De-escalate Situation By Dismantling Terrorist Camps’ »

Is Former Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Trying To Implicate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in Abduction and Murder of 11 Youths by Naval Personnel Case By Naming ex-Def Secy in His Fundamental Rights Petition?

Former navy chief, Wasantha Karannagoda, who is wanted in connection with the abduction and killing of 11 young men has for the first time involved former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in the case, court records showed.

Filing a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the prevention of his imminent arrest by the Criminal Investigations Department, Karannagoda has said that Rajapaksa was also aware of the case.

One of the key allegations against the war-time navy chief is that he did nothing to prevent the killing of the 11 men when their illegal incarcerations by the navy was brought to his attention in 2009.

The most chilling evidence against Karannagoda is that he knew about the abductions and the killings, but took no action to prevent them or secure justice for the victims. Involving Gotabhaya Rajapaksa adds a new dimension to the case.

Continue reading ‘Is Former Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Trying To Implicate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in Abduction and Murder of 11 Youths by Naval Personnel Case By Naming ex-Def Secy in His Fundamental Rights Petition?’ »

Ex-Defence Attache Brig. Priyanka Fernando Who Made Throat-Cutting Gesture at Tamil Demonstrators in London Was Not Covered by Diplomatic Immunity rules Westminster Magistrate’s Court in UK.

By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

The Westminster Magistrate’s Court ruled that Brigadier Priyanka Fernando was not covered by diplomatic immunity when he made a throat-cutting gesture.

When the case came up for hearing again in London on Friday, the judge said that his diplomatic immunity covered only what was in his job description, which was read out in open court during the hearing.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Defence Attache Brig. Priyanka Fernando Who Made Throat-Cutting Gesture at Tamil Demonstrators in London Was Not Covered by Diplomatic Immunity rules Westminster Magistrate’s Court in UK.’ »

Sri Lanka Along With UK led “Core Group” Will Co -sponsor Fresh Resolution at UNHRC In Geneva Envisaging the Continued Involvement of the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s Office To Assess Progress and Implementation of Recommendations.

By Namini Wijedasa

Sri Lanka, along with the Britain-led ‘core group’, will co-sponsor a fresh resolution at the UN Human Rights Council on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in the country, authoritative sources said.

The ‘Zero Draft Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ is already in circulation. Among other things, it envisages continued involvement of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and special procedure mandate holders in advising and providing technical assistance “on the promotion and protection of human rights and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka”.

Only last week, President Maithripala Sirisena told the Sunday Times Political Editor that Sri Lanka was considering withdrawing co-sponsorship of the resolution. He maintained that Sri Lanka’s armed forces have not committed ‘war crimes’ and that the worst crimes were carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The resolution also requests the OHCHR to continue to assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and “other relevant processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights”. It bears upon the OHCHR to present a further written update on Sri Lanka’s progress to the HRC at its 43rd session and a comprehensive report at its 46th session.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Along With UK led “Core Group” Will Co -sponsor Fresh Resolution at UNHRC In Geneva Envisaging the Continued Involvement of the UN Human Rights Commissioner’s Office To Assess Progress and Implementation of Recommendations.’ »

Draft Counter Terrorism Act Awaiting Amendments Needs to be Comprehensively Overhauled, not Just Tugged a Little Here or Pushed a Little There.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Verbal gymnastics indulged in by Sri Lankan politicians in respect of the draft Counter Terrorism Act (CTA), now before Parliament awaiting amendments from the sectoral oversight committee, are vastly entertaining in truth.

The ‘political hot potato’

Unlikely champions of constitutional rights are emerging from the Rajapaksa-led opposition. This week, the de jure head of the ‘Pohottuwa’ party GL Peiris held forth in full flood on the danger that the Bill poses to the rights of students, trade unionists and journalists (‘SLPP tears into Government over new Counter Terrorism Bill’, The Island, 26.02.2019). He was holding a difficult brief in terms of simultaneously arguing two distinctly paradoxical positions; both that the Bill would ‘facilitate’ terrorists and that it would hurt the rights regime.

From the Government side, head of the sectoral oversight committee, Mayantha Dissanayake, son of assassinated United National Party (UNP) heavyweight Gamini Dissanayake presented an equally difficult though more consistent defence of the Bill (‘The case for the Counter Terrorism Bill’, Sunday Observer, 24.02.2019). Peppered with references to what his family had undergone as a result of terrorism, this ‘political hot potato’ under his watch will be amended, he declared, ‘to ensure that we get it right.’

Both these views are not greatly reassuring.

Continue reading ‘Draft Counter Terrorism Act Awaiting Amendments Needs to be Comprehensively Overhauled, not Just Tugged a Little Here or Pushed a Little There.’ »

Westminster Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot Rules That Defence of Residual Immunity Will Not Apply to the Throat Cutting Gesture Made by Brig. Priyanka Fernando as it was not Part of the Duties of a Defence Attache.


The defence of residual diplomatic immunity did not apply to the throat-slitting gesture made by Brig Priyanka Fernando, former Defence Attache at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, as it was not a part of his official duties, a judge at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court decided this week.

However, the withdrawal of the arrest warrant issued against him still stands and court was adjourned till March 15 to consider further arguments.

Continue reading ‘Westminster Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot Rules That Defence of Residual Immunity Will Not Apply to the Throat Cutting Gesture Made by Brig. Priyanka Fernando as it was not Part of the Duties of a Defence Attache.’ »

Attorney -Generals Dept Wants Abduction and Murder of 11 Youths Case Against 14 Persons Including Ex-Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda To Face a High Court Trial at Bar without Jury.


By Ranjith Padmasiri

Former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda and other navy officers are to face a High Court trial-at-bar over the alleged abduction and disappearance of 11 youths, the Attorney General’s Department has decided.

The case is to be taken up without a jury in view of the public controversy it has created. In terms of the Criminal Procedure Code clause 450, the High Court trial-at-bar could sit without a jury.

The AG’s Department is to convey its decision shortly to the Chief Justice, who, in turn, will select the judges for the trial-at-bar.

Continue reading ‘Attorney -Generals Dept Wants Abduction and Murder of 11 Youths Case Against 14 Persons Including Ex-Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda To Face a High Court Trial at Bar without Jury.’ »

Five Parliamentarians Comprising State Minister Eran Wickramaratne and MP’s Vasudeva Nanayakkara, MA Sumanthiran, Vidura Wickramanayake and Tharaka Balasuriya Voluntarily Provide Details of Their Assets and Liabilities in the Public Domain.

By

Ajith Siriwardana

A group of five members of parliament from across party lines came together today to publish their declarations of assets and liabilities in the public domain, Transparency International Sri Lanka said.

It said in a statement that the five MP’s who came forward to do this included State Minister Eran Wickramaratne, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, M.A. Sumanthiran, Vidura Wickramanayake and Tharaka Balasuriya.

Continue reading ‘Five Parliamentarians Comprising State Minister Eran Wickramaratne and MP’s Vasudeva Nanayakkara, MA Sumanthiran, Vidura Wickramanayake and Tharaka Balasuriya Voluntarily Provide Details of Their Assets and Liabilities in the Public Domain.’ »

Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power Praises Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera for his Consistent Backing of Reconciliation, Inclusivity, Universal Human rights and for Standing by his Principles Always


By Uditha Jayasinghe

With democracy under threat around the world, former US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power yesterday called on Sri Lanka to protect its democratic ideals and institutions, so that fostering unity, promoting equality, and improving development remain key priorities.

Delivering a well-researched and eloquent speech at the ceremony to mark three decades since Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera entered politics at the BMICH, Power dwelt extensively on the achievements of Samaraweera, and the importance of adopting and maintaining liberal ideals in an increasingly divisive world. She hailed Samaraweera for his consistent backing of reconciliation, inclusivity, and universal rights, as well as always standing by his principles.

The event was attended by President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. Parliamentarians, diplomats, and public officials were also in attendance.

Power drew examples from around the world on how democracy has come under threat, partly from social media platforms, which have become a tool for spreading misinformation and influencing people in other countries. Alluding to concerns of collusion during the US presidential elections, and other instances, she called for gigantic social media companies to be held accountable, pointing out Facebook alone had more members “than Christianity.”

“For all of the good we know technology can do, rapid advances in fields from social media to AI to automation are also posing profound risks to our democracies. These tools are going to be decisive in global development going forward, but governments must confront their dark uses as well as their boundless possibilities,” she told a packed audience.

“I believe we need to dramatically increase our scrutiny of the effects of new technologies. That will require fresh thinking, critical perspectives, and bold steps by policymakers, to find a better balance than we currently have—a balance that takes into account the impact that tech is already having on politics and human rights.”

Continue reading ‘Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power Praises Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera for his Consistent Backing of Reconciliation, Inclusivity, Universal Human rights and for Standing by his Principles Always’ »

Justice Priyantha Jayawardane Recuses Himself From Three Judge Bench Hearing Fundamental Rights Petition Filed by Ex-Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoada Seeking Interim Order From Supreme Court to Prevent his Arrest.

By S. S. Selvanayagam

Justice Priyantha Jayawardane yesterday recused himself from the Bench which is hearing the Fundamental Rights petition filed by former Navy Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda seeking an Interim Order from the Supreme Court from being arrested.

The petition came up before the Bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justices Priyantha Jayawardane and Murdu N. B. Fernando and deferred for 7 March for support for granting Leave to Proceed.

Petitioner cited Officer in Charge Nishantha Silva and Director Shani Abeysekera of Organised Crimes Investigation Unit as well as DIG CID Ravi Seneviratne, IGP Pujith Jayasundara and Attorney General as Respondents.

Romesh de Silva PC with Sugath Caldera and Niran Anketell instructed by Sanath Wijeyawardane appeared for the petitioner. Additional Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne appeared for the Attorney General.

Continue reading ‘Justice Priyantha Jayawardane Recuses Himself From Three Judge Bench Hearing Fundamental Rights Petition Filed by Ex-Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoada Seeking Interim Order From Supreme Court to Prevent his Arrest.’ »

Annual Reports Reveal Plantation Companies Are Making Soaring Huge Profits and Managements Earn Enormous Incomes While Estate Workers Demanding 1000 Rupee Daily Wage Were Refused Under the Pretext of Being “Unaffordable”

By Saman Gunadasa

When over 100,000 estate workers went on strike last December to demand a 1,000-rupee ($US5.50) daily basic wage, the Planters Association of Ceylon, the representative body of the Sri Lankan plantation companies dismissed the demand, declaring it unaffordable.

The plantation companies made this claim amidst soaring profits for the majority of them, according to their latest annual reports. Moreover, the profits of the national tea broking companies, as well as those of the giant global tea companies—which ultimately manipulate the world market—are on the rise.

The tea companies have offered a paltry 20-rupee increase, raising the workers’ daily gross wage to just 750 rupees, while scrapping productivity and attendance based allowances.

Continue reading ‘Annual Reports Reveal Plantation Companies Are Making Soaring Huge Profits and Managements Earn Enormous Incomes While Estate Workers Demanding 1000 Rupee Daily Wage Were Refused Under the Pretext of Being “Unaffordable”’ »

The “Real Navy Sampath” Ex -Navy Lt.Commander Sampath Munasinghe Who Functioned as Former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda’s Security Contingent Head Re-arrested and Remanded.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Close on the heels of retired Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda filing a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court to prevent him being arrested in connection with the alleged wartime disappearance of 11 youth, the police have arrested ex-Lt. Commander Sampath Munasinghe alias ‘Navy Sampath,’ in connection with the inquiry.

Karannagoda’s case is to be supported on March 01.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) produced Munasinghe before Fort Acting Magistrate Jeevani Baddewela, who remanded him till March 01 pending inquiries in the absence of Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake.

Continue reading ‘The “Real Navy Sampath” Ex -Navy Lt.Commander Sampath Munasinghe Who Functioned as Former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda’s Security Contingent Head Re-arrested and Remanded.’ »

Indian National Merceli Thomas Who Was Alleged to be an Indoan Spy Involved in a Plot to Assassinate President Sirisena Cleared of Any wrong Doing by a Colombo Court and Discharged.

A man accused by Sri Lanka’s president of orchestrating a plot to assassinate him was cleared of any wrongdoing by a court in Colombo on Wednesday.

Investigators said there was no credible evidence the man was plotting to kill Maithripala Sirisena, who justified sacking his prime minister in October in part because cabinet was not taking the alleged threat against his life seriously enough.

But Magistrate Jayantha Nanayakkara discharged the accused Indian national Merceli Thomas without charge, concluding he was not a foreign spy and there was no evidence against him.

Continue reading ‘Indian National Merceli Thomas Who Was Alleged to be an Indoan Spy Involved in a Plot to Assassinate President Sirisena Cleared of Any wrong Doing by a Colombo Court and Discharged.’ »

“Lion King”May Prefer “Ineffective Elephant” Becoming President To Ensure “Elder Cub’s” Political Future Rather Than Allow “Tough Image Sibling “ or “Tree Jumping Monkey” Win Presidential Stakes

By W.D.

A few moons ago, we learnt of former Lion King Mufasa’s seven-year plan. The gambit was simple: safeguard his son Simba’s path to the throne by forging an unlikely alliance with King Rafiki, the baboon that had dethroned the lions.

No one in the animal kingdom predicted that Mufasa would act so hastily to implement his plans. He should have waited for the scheduled animal races, and supported Rafiki’s claim for re-anointment. However, Zazu, his horn-billed legal advisor, assured him that he could launch prematurely. But the plan was foiled, and his impatience cost him dearly.

We might recall that Rafiki had struck a deal with the elephants to defeat Mufasa and his pride. But this pact had reached its breaking point. By the time Mufasa and Rafiki announced their axis, the elephant world had become a hopeless and desolate place. Yet the premature launch of their plot breathed flesh onto the bones of these dying tuskers. They sprang to life and trumpeted a rallying call against the treachery of the king.

Continue reading ‘“Lion King”May Prefer “Ineffective Elephant” Becoming President To Ensure “Elder Cub’s” Political Future Rather Than Allow “Tough Image Sibling “ or “Tree Jumping Monkey” Win Presidential Stakes’ »

Sri Lankan Govt Terminates the Services of Senior Police DIG Ravi Waidyalankara With Effect From Feb 22nd as Head of Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID)

Sri Lanka’s government Tuesday terminated the services of Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) chief Ravi Waidyalankara amid serious allegations of graft, official sources said.

The cabinet of ministers at their meeting Tuesday discussed the future of Senior Deputy Inspector-General who is also suspected of passing sensitive information to two Singapore nationals implicated in the highly controversial MiG deal.

President maithripala Sirisena as minister of Law and Order presented the cabinet paper terminating Waidyalankara with effect from February 22, a proposal that was unanimously approved, a ministerial source said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt Terminates the Services of Senior Police DIG Ravi Waidyalankara With Effect From Feb 22nd as Head of Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID)’ »

Proposed Counter Terrorism Act Will Hinder the Rights of Workers, Trade Unionists, Journalists and Strike A death Blow to Social Movements warns SLPP Chairman Prof .G.L. Peiris

By Nuwan Senarathna

The Counter Terrorism Bill presented to Parliament will hinder the rights of workers, trade unions and journalist, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairman Prof. G.L Peiris said yesterday pointing out that it would reduce their capacity of demonstrating and going on strikes

“This Act will be used to suppress people who speak and stand against the ill treatments of the Government under any circumstance and this will be a death blow for social movements,” Prof. Peiris told reporters at Sri Vajirashramaya in Punchi Borella.

Continue reading ‘Proposed Counter Terrorism Act Will Hinder the Rights of Workers, Trade Unionists, Journalists and Strike A death Blow to Social Movements warns SLPP Chairman Prof .G.L. Peiris’ »

Former Sri Lankan Cricket Captain and Chief Selector Sanath Jayasuriya Suspended From Cricket for Two Years by International Cricket Council for Breaching ICC Anti-Corruption Code.

Sanath Jayasuriya has been banned from all cricket for two years after admitting breaching two counts of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code, the ICC said in a press release yesterday.

The former Sri Lanka Cricket Chair of Selectors admitted to being in breach of Article 2.4.6 and 2.4.7 of the the ICC Anti-Corruption Code, the release said.

Article 2.4.6 – Failure or refusal, without compelling justification, to cooperate with any investigation carried out by the ACU, including failure to provide accurately and completely any information and/or documentation requested by the ACU as part of such investigation.

Article 2.4.7 – Obstructing or delaying any investigation that may be carried out by the ACU, including concealing, tampering with or destroying any documentation or other information that may be relevant to that investigation and/or that may be evidence or may lead to the discovery of evidence of corrupt conduct under the Anti-Corruption Code.

Continue reading ‘Former Sri Lankan Cricket Captain and Chief Selector Sanath Jayasuriya Suspended From Cricket for Two Years by International Cricket Council for Breaching ICC Anti-Corruption Code.’ »

Observation of Hartal Coinciding With Commencement of 40th UNHRC Session in Geneva Shuts Down Tamil Majority Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

By
Meera Srinivasan

Families of forcefully disappeared persons in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province observed a hartal on Monday, demanding justice for war-time human rights abuses.

According to sources in the northern districts, most schools, shops and business establishments were shut, in an act of solidarity with the relatives of missing persons, some of whom have been agitating continuously for two years now in Kilinochchi district.


Missing relatives

The University of Jaffna was also closed, and public transport services came to a halt. Thousands took to the streets, holding placards with messages such as “Where is my son?”, “UN, do not give additional time for Sri Lanka for war crime investigations”, and photographs of their missing relatives. Almost all political parties representing northern Tamils and Muslims extended their support to the rally, local media reports said.

Continue reading ‘Observation of Hartal Coinciding With Commencement of 40th UNHRC Session in Geneva Shuts Down Tamil Majority Northern Province of Sri Lanka.’ »

Ex-Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Faces Imminent Arrest After Being Charged Under Penal Code For Several Alleged Offences Related to Abduction and Murder of 11 Youths by Naval Personnel.

Former navy chief, Wasantha Karannagoda, has been accused of conspiracy to murder and made a suspect in the internationally-condemned killing of 11 young men a decade ago.

Colombo Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake impounded the retired admiral’s passport on Friday after police named him the 14th suspect in the botched abductions for ransom carried out between 2008 and 2009.

The police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) told the magistrate that Karannagoda, 66, had also aided and abetted the illegal confinement of the 11 young men by navy personnel directly under him. He was also accused of concealing information as well as trying to mislead investigators.

The former admiral is accused of conspiring to commit offences under sections 296 and 338 of the Penal Code which carries death penalty on conviction. He is also accused under sections 199 and 200 relating to failure to inform about a crime and providing misleading information.

The magistrate was also told that the attorney general will indict Karannagoda and the 13 other co-accused in the high court.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Faces Imminent Arrest After Being Charged Under Penal Code For Several Alleged Offences Related to Abduction and Murder of 11 Youths by Naval Personnel.’ »

Former Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Files FR Petition in Supreme Court Seeking an Interim Order To Prevent His Arrest In Connection With Investigations Into Alleged Abduction and Murder Of 11 Youths by Navy Personnel.

By
S.S.Selvanayagam

Former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda today filed a fundamental rights (FR) petition in the Supreme Court (SC) seeking an interim order preventing him from being arrested in connection with the investigations into the abduction and killing of 11 youths in 2008-2009.

He cited OIC Nishantha Silva and Director Shani Abeysekera of the Organised Crimes Investigation Unit as well as DIG CID Ravi Seneviratne, IGP Pujith Jayasundara and the Attorney-General as respondents.

The petition is to be supported for leave to proceed by Romesh de Silva PC with Sugath Caldera instructed by Sanath Wijeyawardane on March 1.

Petitioner states as follows:

Continue reading ‘Former Navy Chief Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda Files FR Petition in Supreme Court Seeking an Interim Order To Prevent His Arrest In Connection With Investigations Into Alleged Abduction and Murder Of 11 Youths by Navy Personnel.’ »

Opinion Piece About Sri Lanka by British Politician Lord Naseby is Inundated With False and Misleading Claims and Provides an Incorrect Portrayal of the War.

By Taylor Dibbert

Sri Lanka’s civil war ended tragically in May 2009. Ten years on, the wounds of war remain unhealed. That has significant implications for the country’s future trajectory and ensures that, absent some big changes, a return to violence at some later date cannot be ruled out. Besides, victims and their family members deserve justice.

Unfortunately, a recent opinion piece by Lord Naseby, a British politician, is inundated with false and misleading claims. Naseby incorrectly describes how the war ended. He also paints a misleading portrayal of the current state of play. Moreover, his suggestion that the country no longer warrants international scrutiny is just plain wrong. I won’t rebut all the misinformation in Naseby’s piece, but let’s look at some key issues.

Continue reading ‘Opinion Piece About Sri Lanka by British Politician Lord Naseby is Inundated With False and Misleading Claims and Provides an Incorrect Portrayal of the War.’ »

“The Man Who Would Be King”: Remembering Anura Bandaranaike On His 70th Birth Anniversary

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

‘The Man Who Would Be King’ is the title of a long tale written by Rudyard Kipling in 1888. This very popular story was made into a successful film starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer by the well-known director John Huston in 1975.

Anura Priyadarshi Solomon Dias Bandaranaike~(February 15, 1949 – March 16, 2008)

The objective of this article however is not to write about the story or film but to focus on a man who had always wanted to be king but was never able to mount the throne. A man who was the son of two Sri Lankan Prime Ministers and was often referred to as the “Crown Prince” within the context of Sri Lanka’s dynastic politics. A man who held many high posts but was never the prime minister or president of this country and in that context was termed “the Crown Prince who was not crowned king”. I write of Anura Bandaranaike, known generally as Anura, whose 70th birth anniversary was commemorated on Feb 15th.
Continue reading ‘“The Man Who Would Be King”: Remembering Anura Bandaranaike On His 70th Birth Anniversary’ »

Marie Colvin: Courageous Journalist Who Lost an Eye in Sri Lanka and Her Life In Syria.

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Journalists in the line of duty are required to write about different people from all walks of life but it is very rarely that they write about themselves or fellow journalists. It is accepted as part of a scribe’s lot in life. As far as the fourth estate is concerned it goes with the territory. Sadly if at all we do write about a journalist it is only after he or she passes away. It is against this backdrop therefore that I write this week about a woman journalist who was regarded as the greatest war correspondent of her generation. I am of course referring to Marie Colvin who paid the supreme price seven years ago while covering the fighting in Syria.Some years before that she lost an eye while reporting in Sri Lanka.

Marie Catherine Colvin (January 12, 1956 – February 22, 2012)

Marie Catherine Colvin the respected war correspondent of Britain’s “Sunday Times” was targeted and killed on February 22, 2012 by Syrian forces as she reported on the suffering of civilians in Homs, Syria. At the time of her death, Marie Colvin was reporting from the Baba Amr Media Center, a makeshift broadcast studio run by Syrian media activists in a secret facility located in a residential building. The rocket attack also killed acclaimed French photographer, Rémi Ochlik, and injured British photographer Paul Conroy, Syrian translator Wael al-Omar, and French journalist Edith Bouvier.A Syrian photo journalist was also killed in the attack.
Continue reading ‘Marie Colvin: Courageous Journalist Who Lost an Eye in Sri Lanka and Her Life In Syria.’ »

Despicable Onslaughts on Judges on the Floor of the House by Rajapaksa Supporters are Part of a Well Orchestrated Plot to Undermine Even the Constitutional Minimum That we Have Now

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

It is a matter for raucous entertainment when Sri Lanka’s opposition Members of Parliament, some with the proud boast of associating with known racketeers and jumping from one party to another while others are taped offering bribes to legislators to cross the floor, accuse the country’s Constitutional Council (CC) of being ‘biased’ and ‘corrupt’.

The reality of a constitutional compromise

It is also no coincidence, as emphasised last week, that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his salivating faithful, along with President Maithripala Sirisena, have been launching ferocious frontal attacks at the CC since the frustration of their extra-constitutional coup late last year. These attacks have increased in intensity this week, necessitating an objective rebuttal with the expending of energy better spent on more productive matters.

That apart, this is no dewy-eyed defence of the CC as some would prefer. Equalizing the CC under the 19th Amendment with its predecessor under the 17th Amendment is a farcical exercise. Those who attempt it, though fully knowing better, should be ashamed of themselves. Under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution (2001) piloted by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the CC comprised of a majority of non-political members which by itself, distinguished that body from the pale shadow that came into being under the 19th Amendment.

Yet as realists would argue, (and I am differentiating these from the witless few who protest ostrich-like that the 19th Amendment has no flaws), this was a compromise brought about by the degenerative political environment in which that amendment was passed in haste. The fact that it contained inherent contradictions, ranging from a clumsily framed right to information to confused executive powers vis a vis the legislature as we saw all too well recently, was inevitable.

Continue reading ‘Despicable Onslaughts on Judges on the Floor of the House by Rajapaksa Supporters are Part of a Well Orchestrated Plot to Undermine Even the Constitutional Minimum That we Have Now’ »

CID has not yet Sought to Arrest Former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda Despite Having Reported Significant Evidence of his Possible Involvement in the Murders to the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court.

By

Maneshka Borham

Investigators of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) are closing in on a former top aide of former Navy Commander, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda in connection with the Navy abduction for ransom racket. According to sources, the aide, now a wanted suspect currently serving as a Chief Petty Officer in the Naval intelligence is believed to have been part of the abduction for ransom gang accused of kidnapping 11 youth from 2008 – 2009.

The suspect was summoned to the CID for questioning on February 6. Responding to the CID, a Deputy Solicitor General attached to the Navy had said that the officer cannot be produced to the CID for ‘national security’ reasons until after February 25. According to a Defence Ministry official the Navy has been asked to produce the suspect, escorted by a senior Navy officer, to the CID on February 26.

Karannagoda is now getting ready to file a Fundamental Rights petition to prevent his arrest by the CID in connection with the eleven murders, according to a prosecutor. A senior police officer said the CID has not yet sought to arrest the former Navy Commander despite having reported significant evidence of his possible involvement in the murders to the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court.

The former Navy Commander last year denied allegations that he had advance knowledge of the murders or had sanctioned them. Karanagoda made these denials after multiple witnesses including his former Naval Secretary, Rear Admiral Shemal Fernando, provided evidence of these allegations to the CID.

Continue reading ‘CID has not yet Sought to Arrest Former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda Despite Having Reported Significant Evidence of his Possible Involvement in the Murders to the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court.’ »

Confrontation Between Executive Presidency and Constitutional Council Has Resulted in Another Constitutional Crisis Where There is no Constitutionally Established Court of Appeal.

By

J.C.Weliyamuna PC

Sri Lanka today faces another constitutional crisis. At the centre of the crisis is the dynamic between the Constitutional Council, a creation of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, and the executive presidency, itself a creation of the 1978 Constitution. Both the executive powers of the President and the powers of the Constitutional Council are the laws of the land, set into stone through our country’s cherished democratic process. It is a grave threat to the foundations of our very democracy that several seasoned parliamentarians and lawyers, who should know better, are trying to trick the country into believing otherwise.

To understand the Constitutional Council and the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that created it, one must understand the dynamic that prevailed between the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government before the 19th Amendment was signed into law on May 15, 2015 by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, after being voted for by nearly every single Member of the 225-strong Parliament, including all but one MP of the UPFA.

Before this landmark piece of legislation became law, it was the case that the President of Sri Lanka enjoyed sweeping powers to unilaterally appoint and promote all judges, police officers, prosecutors and public servants in the country. The co-called Parliamentary Council acted as merely a rubber stamp for Mahinda Rajapaksa, who took control of Parliament, emasculated to the 17th Amendment and enacted the 18th Amendment with three specific objectives.

The first was to remove the two-term limit on the executive presidency so that he could effectively become President for life. The second was to abolish all authorities that could have acted as a check on the President’s power to make constitutional appointments. The third and final objective was to bring the entire executive branch of the Government on its knees to the executive president, who with almost royal prerogative had control over their appointments, promotions, transfers and welfare.

Continue reading ‘Confrontation Between Executive Presidency and Constitutional Council Has Resulted in Another Constitutional Crisis Where There is no Constitutionally Established Court of Appeal.’ »

If DA Rajapaksa Museum Trial Starts as On Feb 22 the Public Will Be Exposed For the First Time to Evidence In a Court of Law Alleging Illegal Conduct by ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

By

Manoj Colambage

If the D.A Rajapaksa Museum trial starts as scheduled on Friday (22), it will mark the first time the public will be exposed to evidence in a court of law, alleging illegal conduct by the former Defence Secretary after his lawyers spent years trying to stall criminal proceedings against him through a slew of investigations

An unanimous ruling last Monday (11) by the three-judge Bench of the Permanent High Court Trial, dismissing objections filed by President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva against the court’s jurisdiction to proceed with the trial of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and six others for charges including criminal misappropriation of Rs. 33 million of public funds for the construction of a mausoleum for Rajapaksa’s parents, may be the turning point for the former Defence Secretary’s nearly four-year-long effort to forestall various criminal proceedings against him.

While Gotabaya Rajapaksa has staked the most overt claim to a presidential candidacy of all his kin, by drawing attention to his discipline, patriotism and bravery, he remains the only member of the Rajapaksa family to shy from arrest and indictment. He sought and received superior court orders to block five different criminal proceedings against him over the last four years. Neither Namal nor Yoshitha Rajapaksa have sought residency or citizenship abroad, nor expressed the slightest hesitation to answer the charges against them in open court, notwithstanding the serious criminal charges they face.

The Criminal Investigation Department opened an investigation into the Defence Ministry’s complicity in the floating armouries of Nissanka Senadhipathi and Avant Garde Maritime Services. The new Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) began an investigation into the 2006 ‘MiG Deal’, and the Bribery Commission began investigating share price manipulation at Lanka Hospitals PLC, where Rajapaksa served as Chairman in his official capacity.

In March 2015, the Galle Magistrates Court ordered that the passports of Rajapaksa and four others be impounded, and their foreign travel barred, in connection with the floating armoury investigation underway by the CID.

On May 11, 2015, Gotabaya Rajapaksa filed Fundamental Rights Petition SC FR 163/2015 with the Supreme Court, seeking an order from the Supreme Court barring what he called his “imminent arrest”, which he characterized as an “imminent violation” of his Fundamental Rights. The case was heard on May 13, 2015 before a two-judge bench chaired by Justice Eva Wanasundera. Romesh de Silva PC and A. Sabry PC appeared for Rajapaksa. One judge, Buwenaka Aluwihare, recused himself from hearing the case.

Continue reading ‘If DA Rajapaksa Museum Trial Starts as On Feb 22 the Public Will Be Exposed For the First Time to Evidence In a Court of Law Alleging Illegal Conduct by ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »

Kusal Perera Scoring 153 N.O Puts on Unbeaten Last Wicket Partnership of 78 Runs With Vishwa Fernando Enabling Sri Lanka To Register Sensational One-Wicket Victory Over South Africa in Durban.

Kusal Perera carried Sri Lanka to a sensational one-wicket win on the fourth day of the first Test against South Africa at Kingsmead on Saturday as he hit a career-best 153 not out.

Perera and Vishwa Fernando put on an unbeaten 78 in a last-wicket partnership to secure Sri Lanka’s second win in 14 Test matches in South Africa.

Victory seemed unlikely when the ninth wicket fell with the total on 226, with the tourists chasing a target of 304.

Continue reading ‘Kusal Perera Scoring 153 N.O Puts on Unbeaten Last Wicket Partnership of 78 Runs With Vishwa Fernando Enabling Sri Lanka To Register Sensational One-Wicket Victory Over South Africa in Durban.’ »

The Main Choice at the Next Presidential Election will be Straightforward – Does Sri Lanka Return to Authoritarian Rajapaksa Rule or not.

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“We were on the Titanic and everyone knew it was hitting the iceberg”
– Eric Hobsbawm (Interesting Times)

In a few months, we, the Lankan voters, will be asked to make a choice that history may well term tragic. The UNP, the SLFP, the SLPP and the JVP have all expressed an interest in entering the presidential race. President Sirisena, if he is insensible enough to contest, will find himself in the ignominious position of vying with the JVP for the third place. At the next presidential election, the real battle will be between the nominees of the UNP and the SLPP.

A Rajapaksa victory will return Sri Lanka to the authoritarian path. Familial rule will be restored, alongside Rajapaksa-led militarisation of civil spaces. The freedoms gained in the last four years will either be rolled back (19th Amendment) or retained only as facades (the Right to Information Act). Extremism will become the norm (monk Galaboda-Atte Gnanasara will be as free as a bird) and violence the preferred solution to most problems (starting with dissent). Civil liberties will be undermined in the name of restoring discipline while Rajapaksa acolytes run riot with total impunity. It is instructive to remember that during the previous Rajapaksa rule, the monitoring MP of defence and his cohorts gunned down a presidential adviser in broad daylight; and a hand-picked head of a local council and his cohorts gang-raped a Russian tourist and murdered her British fiancé. That was how the haven of discipline worked in reality.

The main choice at the next presidential election will be straightforward – does Sri Lanka return to Rajapaksa rule or not. And it will be presented so by the two main contending formations – the SLPP as a promise and the UNP as a threat. The SLPP will use the ‘Mahinda magic’ to enthuse true believers into voting for a candidate who is not Mahinda Rajapaksa. The UNP will use the ‘Rajapaksa threat’ to recreate the moment and the mood of January 2015. The way the political landscape is today, the SLPP’s chances of success are substantially greater than that of the UNP.

Continue reading ‘The Main Choice at the Next Presidential Election will be Straightforward – Does Sri Lanka Return to Authoritarian Rajapaksa Rule or not.’ »

“When there is a war situation, there are certain things you must do. When the war ends, you do not repeat the same. You cannot judge a person by what he did during a war situation” – “ Ex Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in “Daily Mirror” Interview

By
Kelum Bandara

Since the defeat of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa four years ago, there has been speculation in the political circles that his brother and Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, known as an efficient administrator, would come forward as the next Presidential candidate.

His Viyathmaga movement was seen as a launching pad in this direction. Recently speaking at one of its meetings he publicly stated that if the people were ready for a Presidential election he was ready too.

The following are excerpts of an interview done with him for “Daily Mirror”

Q
You said that if the people were ready you were ready for the presidential elections. Is it an indication that you will contest the Presidential election at the end of this year?

A;
The most important person to decide on it is Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, many requests have been made from me and that is why I said so.

Q
Many people are talking about your US citizenship which is a barrier to contesting the Presidential Elections. Have you renounced it?

A;

That is finalised. No worry about it.

Q

In case, you become the candidate, what are your plans for the country?

Continue reading ‘“When there is a war situation, there are certain things you must do. When the war ends, you do not repeat the same. You cannot judge a person by what he did during a war situation” – “ Ex Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in “Daily Mirror” Interview’ »

Hangman Rope Trick Masterminded by Maithripala Sirisena for his “Ellungass Senakeliya” (Hangman’s Carnival) May Beat all Rope Tricks of Indian Magicians

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The debate about the Indian rope trick described as the world’s greatest illusion continues. But we have now moved to our own Rope Trick age. President Sirisena is showing signs of possibly beating all those Indian magicians by making a big performance of his own Rope Trick.

He cannot trust a Sri Lankan rope for his trick, with a possible May Day performance. It has to be imported – guess from where – India or China. There is a lot of rope in today’s dealings with those countries.

It is not any rope that is needed for this show of political chicanery. It has to be the Hangman’s Rope. He is no more satisfied with the ‘kaduva’ or sword against crime or corruption, about which he boasted a while ago. Whatever he has left of Yahapalana thinking, because most of it has now gone to ‘yamapalana’, now requires nothing less than the hangman’s rope.

Continue reading ‘Hangman Rope Trick Masterminded by Maithripala Sirisena for his “Ellungass Senakeliya” (Hangman’s Carnival) May Beat all Rope Tricks of Indian Magicians’ »

Depending Upon Toxicology Reports , the Singers Amal and Son Nadeemal Perera Along With 15 Others Are Likely to Be Released With a Fine and Ordered To Be Deported to Sri Lanka When Case Is Taken Up Before Courts in Dubai on Feb 27 Say Lawyers

By
Rukshana Rizwie

Singers Amal and his son Nadeemal Perera who were arrested at Makandure Madush’s son’s birthday party in Dubai are likely to be released on conditional bail. This is upon a settlement of a fine along with 15 others who would be deported to Sri Lanka once the case is taken up on February 27, lawyers told the Daily News.

“We spoke at length with Bur Dubai Police and the Public Prosecutor (PP). Nadeemal and Amal wish to return to Dubai for performances so we have requested that their visas not be revoked. Their visit was sponsored for by a third party and the duo did not have any knowledge that it was a party for Madush’s son. They have no links to any of the criminals who are under arrest,” lawyer Shabdika Wellappili told the Daily News from Dubai. “The Public Prosecutor has agreed that depending on the toxicology results, a lenient sentence would be passed and the duo with 15 others are to be deported.”

Continue reading ‘Depending Upon Toxicology Reports , the Singers Amal and Son Nadeemal Perera Along With 15 Others Are Likely to Be Released With a Fine and Ordered To Be Deported to Sri Lanka When Case Is Taken Up Before Courts in Dubai on Feb 27 Say Lawyers’ »

USA Should not Emphasise Human Rights and Democracy too Much When Working in Sri Lanka Says Ex-Navy Commander Dr.Jayanath Colombage to Visiting US Officials at Round Table Discussion.

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Former Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Admiral Dr. Jayanath Colombage, yesterday, told American officials including Assistant Secretary to the US Department of State Thomas L. Vajda that the United States should not place too much emphasis on human rights and democracy when working in Sri Lanka. He said so at a roundtable discussion on the Indo-Pacific Region held at the Taj Samudra in Colombo.

“Sri Lanka is in a dangerous situation. We have never been in this kind of situation before. Our economic growth is slightly above that of Afghanistan. This is worse that during the 30 years we had the war; even during the war the economy grew, Colombage said, stressing the need for significant US engagement with Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘USA Should not Emphasise Human Rights and Democracy too Much When Working in Sri Lanka Says Ex-Navy Commander Dr.Jayanath Colombage to Visiting US Officials at Round Table Discussion.’ »

While Many Lawyers Went To Dubai to Watch Interests of Arrested Persons , No Representative of the Police Has Gone to Monitor Investigations and Legal Action Against Makandura Madush in Dubai.

by Hemantha Randunu

Police have not sent a single representative to Dubai to monitor legal action against notorious underworld criminal Makandure Madush, Police sources claim.

However, several lawyers have gone to Dubai to represent the suspects and are feeding the media with wrong information, a senior police officer said, adding that the police should have immediately sent a representative to monitor the investigations in that country.

Continue reading ‘While Many Lawyers Went To Dubai to Watch Interests of Arrested Persons , No Representative of the Police Has Gone to Monitor Investigations and Legal Action Against Makandura Madush in Dubai.’ »

Two Individuals Were Behind Assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge, Disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda and Abduction -Assault of Keith Noyahr Says Ex Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa::: Is Gota Referring to Sarath Fonseka and Champika Ranawaka?

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said two individuals were behind the assassination of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, the assault on journalist Keith Noyahr and the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Mr. Rajapaksa said he was not involved in any of these things including the disappearance of Ekneligoda.

“We did not want to do such things. These were done purely for personal reasons by two individuals. I do not want to name them. Immediately after Lasantha’s killing, the then Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former MP Joseph Michael Perera categorically said in parliament that it was the work of the then army commander. After that when the army commander joined hands with them and decided to contest elections in 2010, they did not talk about it. Thereafter, they put the blame on me,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Two Individuals Were Behind Assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge, Disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda and Abduction -Assault of Keith Noyahr Says Ex Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa::: Is Gota Referring to Sarath Fonseka and Champika Ranawaka?’ »

Ranil Takes Potshots at Maithripala by Saying that Bankrupt Politicians Cant Come To Parliament and Make Baseless Statements Criticising Independent Commissions and Attacking The Judiciary Like a “Football”.


Criticising independent Commissions as well as attacking the independent Judiciary will weaken the control and eradication of narcotics, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

Speaking at an event in Maligawatte today, the Premier said bankrupt politicians cannot be allowed to use the Judiciary as a “football”, and if they come to Parliament and make baseless statements, the people will ultimately suffer the consequences.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Takes Potshots at Maithripala by Saying that Bankrupt Politicians Cant Come To Parliament and Make Baseless Statements Criticising Independent Commissions and Attacking The Judiciary Like a “Football”.’ »