Parliament discussed alleged instances of politicians disregarding the law
The Parliament in July discussed some alleged instances of politicians disregarding the law or attempts to interpret the law in a self‐ serving manner in violation of the citizens’ collective rights states Parliament Watch in its latest report.
The observance of the rule of law is fundamental to the maintenance of democratic order in a country. The concept embraces the punishing of the guilty to ensuring good governance and fundamental rights that are guaranteed by the constitution promulgated in 1978.
The Declaration on the Rule of Law made by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Athens in 1951 states that a State is subject to the law and that judges should be guided by the Rule of Law, ensure its protection and enforcement without fear or favor in addition to resisting any encroachments by Government or political parties in the task of adjudicating justice.
However recent incidents that involved both the police and judiciary have raised serious concerns about whether the values of the above declaration and the Constitution are upheld in Sri Lanka.
Highlighting the citizens’ concerns over these infringements during regular debates and through a specific adjournment motion was United National Party (UNP) Member of Parliament (MP) Dayasiri Jayasekara.
The opposition legislators critiqued that incidents inspired by government politicians created a backdrop in which the law was rendered irrelevant in the eyes of the public. They claimed of alleged instances where the certain judge were brought under pressure allegedly by ruling party politicians to subvert justice.
To highlight the point, Jayasekera cited the instance where the National Freedom Front (NFF) staged a protest in front of the United Nations (UN) compound to demonstrate opposition to the appointment of a three member UN panel to investigate war crimes during the final phase of the Eelam War IV.
The National Freedom Front (NFF,) a constituent partner of the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) opposed the move by UN General Secretary Ban Ki‐Moon by laying siege at Colombo’s UN compound in early July by staging a fast unto death.
At the time of Police intervention, initially to clear the entrance to the UN Office, Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities, Wimal Weerawansa, who led the protestors reportedly telephoned Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa that resulted in the withdrawal of the Police from the scene.
Commenting on the protest before the UN compound on July 8, 2010 was Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G. L Peiris. He said the government would not obstruct any peaceful protest and emphasized that the government acted in compliance with both domestic law and Sri Lanka’s obligations to the international legal regime.
“The Government’s approach is based on a balance between two obligations. The Government of Sri Lanka has obligations to its own people. That is a domestic matter. The Government of Sri Lanka also has obligations under the international law. As far as our own people are concerned, the Government has a duty to protect peaceful demonstrations. The other side of the coin is our inalienable obligations under the international legal regime. We have the duty to protect the sanctity and the integrity of diplomatic precincts” he noted.
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