(Text of Jaffna District MP M.A.Sumanthiran’s Speech in Parliament on 21.09.2023)
Thank you presiding member for the opportunity to say a few words.
The previous speaker concluded by saying there is Karma and those who caused this carnage will suffer eventually. His words have already come true. The former President who is supposed to have engineered this and come to power was chased away by the people of this country from that seat in an unprecedented way. So karma does perhaps follow according to his belief.
Many people who said we cannot allow any International Investigation – that’s a violation of the sovereignty of this country – are now calling for International investigation. That is also a turnaround. When we said an International investigation would be the only independent inquiry into the excesses that were said to have been committed during the civil war, then they said “no, our Constitution doesn’t allow it”.
Constitution says nothing about that. In fact, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs when he was in the opposition presented a private member’s bill in which he provided for International judges to inquire into allegations against Superior Court Judges. He did not think that that was unconstitutional at that time. Many today do not think that it is unconstitutional.
It is not unconstitutional. In any case with regard to the Civil War, there have been international inquiries. There was a panel of experts report and there was an OISL inquiry and those reports are available. Government also agreed to a Hybrid Court in 2015, and later, resiled from that endorsement and said we are withdrawing our co-sponsorship.
I’m reminding these matters because even in a matter where the state and another party were involved in a battle, the only possible independent inquiry can be an international one because the state was one side to the conflict. Of course there have been many inquiries as I said, but there has to be prosecution stemming from that.
Coming to the Easter bomb attack, when the Parliamentary Select Committee reported its findings in October 2019, we very specifically pointed to what is being said now. Even in the executive summary, we raised a question as to whether this was done in order to create in the country, a call for a strong leader with the presidential elections due to happen later in the year. We said that because everything pointed towards that, but there was no hard evidence.
But all circumstantial evidence pointed towards that and now that is slowly but surely being revealed. The channel 4 revelations, again, I must say many today accept what the channel 4 has revealed with regard to the Easter bombing. The same channel 4, several years ago, put out two documentaries Killing Fields and Killing Fields 2. Lots of things were said about that. But even those who decried those are now placing their reliance on the documentary now released.
We know that what it says is true because there are several instances that we are personally aware of, which fit in with the story that is being told there and I want to refer to one matter that is not altogether in the channel 4 revelation, but in Azath Moulana’s voice recording and his statement made to the OHCHR he has revealed this.
But before doing that, I must make a disclosure in terms of the Code of Conduct for parliamentarians, Clause 19, about my involvement in some of these matters I have appeared. I appeared in the high court in Batticaloa when honourable Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan was granted bail. I appeared for the aggrieved party and objected to bail being granted in November, 2020. And so, I have some involvement in the matter. I must disclose it in terms of clause, 19 of the Code of Conduct for parliamentarians.
I must also refer to Standing Order 83 ( 1), which says “the personal conduct of certain personalities, including judges should not be subject to reference in a speech in Parliament.” I’m saying that because I’m going to refer to some conduct but that’s not personal conduct. But I’m going to refer to conduct of Judges in their official capacity. So I’m not violating any standing orders.
Azath moulana very clearly sets out how Pillaiyan was granted bail first and then released from that case, He mentions names of Judges although I can mention it here I’m not mentioning the names of judges for propriety’s sake.
When a confession made by a co-accused was admitted in evidence by the High Court of Batticaloa, he says, there was a meeting, which he attended along with the judge. And it was planned that an appeal would be made, and that judge would then dismiss that confession as inadmissible evidence and that in fact happened.
The name of the judge he mentions is a judge who gave that order. Incidentally, that judge who is a judge of the Supreme Court today – and this is a very serious matter – he was an accused in a bribery case, a few years ago in the Magistrate’s court in Colombo. He was prevented from sitting as a judge during that time. But when Government changed, that charge before the magistrate court was withdrawn. Later he was promoted and now he’s a sitting judge of the supreme court. Isn’t this a shocking thing that is happening in the country?
Now apparently it was he who had a meeting planned and said, I will rule that this confession is inadmissible, and the Attorney General can thereafter say, there is no evidence to continue to prosecute Pillaiyan. Attorney General apparently objected to this, and I must salute former AG Dappula de Livera for that. And he has mentioned, Deputy Solicitor General Madhawa Tennakoon also not wanting to accede to these requests.
Now, I know some of these to be true because when I appeared in the high court before a special judge – and Azad Mawlana says how that special judge came to be appointed. Because the Judge who was sitting there had refused to comply with this and wanted a transfer out and he was transferred to Colombo, and we know that he was transferred to Colombo.
And another Judge who was sitting in Vavuniya at that time was approached to do this. And that judge in order to get out of this difficult situation had said, the parliamentarian who was killed Joseph Pararajasingam was a Catholic, if a Hindu or a Muslim judge releases Pillaiyan there’ll be suspicion so let’s find that a Tamil Catholic Judge, and he spoke to a Tamil Catholic judge and got him appointed to Batticaloa as a special judge to hear this bail application. And that is how the matter was taken up in the Batticaloa High court.
Hon. Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan interrupts
என்னுடைய பெயரை சுமந்திரன் அவர்கள் தொடர்ந்து சொல்லிக்கொண்டிருக்கிறார், சுமந்திரன் அவர்கள் நீதிமன்றத்தை பற்றி என்னுடைய வழக்கை பற்றி பேசிக்கொண்டிருக்கிறார். என்னை இந்த நாட்டின் நீதிமன்றம் விடுத்துள்ளது……
Hon. Sumanthiran continues…..
I knew, that’s why I clarified. It is not a point of order, and I appeared before the High court of Batticaloa, before that special judge. And I objected to bail and the judge was taken aback. He said that I had no status to appear. It’s all a matter of record. It’s all a matter of record. And he adjourned proceedings. Took about half an hour’s recess, probably made some telephone calls, then came and said “ah… ok you make your submissions” and still granted bail. That day we couldn’t leave the courtroom in Batticaloa,<strong> (Hon. Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan continues to interrupt ) –
There, he is still making a threat ….. there were people lined up and we had to be given special protection to go out of the court room that day. Channel 4 shows that, shows how when he came out all the crowd that was there to greet him because they knew, that he was coming out that day. All this had been planned.
I am a witness to many of these things that happened, and that is why I am placing it on record here and nothing about Pillaiyan. Everybody knows about Pillaiyan and somebody has said that he is very soon going to publish a list of murders he has committed.
Nobody cares about him but I am concerned about the judges who are still serving who have been party to this great betrayal of the trust of the people.