If President Sirisena went ahead with the executions, he, as a Buddhist, would never be able to sleep peacefully as the ghosts of the four hanged convicts would haunt him forever, national list United National Party (UNP) MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne said yesterday.
“President Sirisena has on more than one occasion gone back on promises and commitments, the latest being his outburst against the 19th Amendment which he himself spearheaded, now calling it a curse. I will not be surprised if he goes ahead with the executions and claim a few years later that he had made a mistake,” he said.
The clear policy of the Sri Lankan Government was the non-implementation of the death penalty and the President could not go against a Government policy. “In view of the clear policy of the Government as evident from its continued commitment at the United Nations and the non-implementation of the death penalty from 1976 onwards, the President’s act of implementing the death penalty violates Government policy,” Dr. Wickramaratne said.
He said that under Article 42 (1) of the Constitution, it was the Cabinet of Ministers that was charged with the direction and control of the Government.
“Further, major parties in Parliament are opposed to the resumption of the death penalty. The President is duty-bound to seek the views of Parliament. In the circumstances, the President’s decision to resume the death penalty is irrational, unreasonable, arbitrary and violative of Article 12 (1) of the Constitution,” he said.
Wickramaratne also said that world’s top criminologists believed that the death penalty did not act as a deterrence for criminals.