By Sandun Jayawardana
The Attorney General’s Department will proceed with the case against former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda and former Navy Spokesman D.K.P. Dassanayake — accused in the abduction of 11 youths — unless there is a court order otherwise.
This is after the AG wrote to the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) inquiring into alleged political victimisation that it had no authority to order him to halt legal proceedings against former Admiral Karannagoda and Rear Admiral Dassanayake.
Earlier, the CoI had ordered the AG not to proceed with the case after the duo lodged complaints with the Commission on January 22 stating that the case was an act of political victimisation.
Both officers are facing charges in relation to the abduction and disappearance of 11 youths between 2008 and 2009. The case will be heard by the Permanent High Court at Bar comprising Justices Champa Janaki Rajaratne, Amal Ranaraja and Navaratne Marasinghe.
State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, the AG’s Coordinating Officer, told the Sunday Times that the AG, in his letter, had made it clear that the CoI had no statutory or legal authority to order the AG to refrain from performing his statutory functions in the case.
Ms. Jayaratne said under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, the CoI had no mandate to dispatch orders to the AG. “The Commission can only give a report to the President and make recommendations,” she noted.
A Commission official told the Sunday Times on Friday that the Commission had no comment on the matter.
The Commission is looking into political victimisation alleged to have take place from January 8, 2015 to November 16, 2019. It is expected to hand over its final report to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in six months.
The CoI comprises retired Supreme Court Justice Upali Abeyrathne, retired High Court Judge Daya Chandrasiri Jayathilake and former Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando.