13 January 2019
Jus Cogens or Charity begins at home?
During his Parliamentary speech on 09 January 2019, Tamil member of Sri Lankan parliament, Mr M A Sumanthiran referred to Jus Cogens principles in relation to inquiring into war-crimes. Mr Sumanthiran spoke also of Natural Justice. While the speech entertained the intellect, it is doubtful that majority Parliamentarians would have found it educational. The question is whether Mr Sumanthiran himself practiced them as a Parliamentarian.
I refer to the position of Leader of the Opposition being taken away from TNA leader – the Hon Rajavarothiam Sampanthan. In the case of Judiciary, Mr Sumanthiran explained his interpretation through the phrase ‘One Swallow does not a Summer Make’. Mr Sumanthiran was referring to the numerous unheard cases in relation to Tamil Journalists and also war-crimes. All this is naturally attractive to Tamil civil society leaders of international standards. But in democracy, the more appropriate principle to use is ‘Charity begins at home’. What action did Mr Sumanthiran take in a Court of Law to confirm the illegality of enforced dismissal of his own party in National parliament? I have not heard of any.
I endured much alienation pain when I was isolated by the very folks at my workplace when I took internal Administrative action followed by legal action – despite expecting ‘dismissal’. But that helped me complete my work-life in Australia at the highest possible common level – as the Financial Controller of the Faculty of Medicine within the University of NSW. The human resource structure was incapable of elevating me beyond that level. Now I appreciate that my happiness from being self-employed is far sweeter than working in a suppressed environment where my beneficiaries of my work feared expressing the truth as per their experience. Hence, like in Journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga’s case and more close to home, in the case of Tamil Journalists who were punished in limine / at primary level - of self-governance in this instance – the beneficiaries did not oppose the Administration. I did not fear losing. I feared infection of falsity.
I find Mr Sumanthiran lacking in courage to take legal action on the basis of breach of fundamental rights – without the support of majority race who share common culture with the Judiciary. As per the Christian saying ‘Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth’, I arranged for the gardener of our temple in Sri Lanka, to perform the Thai Pongal ceremony on Tuesday. The gardener is of junior sect within the toddy tapper caste. Had I been present – I would have played that role. But within the village, members of the more senior sect have elevated their status in wider world but continue to practice the caste system within themselves. That is one way to prevent reverse discrimination. The gardener’s family participated in public functions, as assistants to these seniors. Hence the promotion after the member of the senior sect became councillor in the February elections.
I believe I inherited that family temple because I respected most the family elders who established and maintained that temple. This is also the case with my inheritance of Jaffna pioneers in Education. Tamil political elders fought for Equal status which has been confirmed twice by winning the Leader of the Opposition in National Parliament. Until Mr Sumanthiran moves confidence motion in Parliament to decide through votes – he would lack the moral authority to expect judicial intervention followed by global powers through principles of Jus Cogens. One exceptional win(swallow) in partnership with majority race does not announce Independence of Tamils. It needs continuous flow of Truth in Parliamentary environment through all generations to be true and therefore flow through to the People.
It has been reported that Mr Sampanthan has stated that we did not need a general election to introduce a new constitution. The Island reports as follows:
[The new constitution should be passed in Parliament and taken before the people at a referendum and the people would decide whether it should become the supreme law of the country or not, and one did not need a general election for that, said TNA Leader R. Sampanthan in parliament yesterday. ]
Before changing the Constitution, its relevant provisions need to be fully used and known to have failed to deliver the results that one side or the other Believes to be true. TNA needs to follow this Due Process before engaging in the process of changing the constitution. They are yet to challenge Buddhism foremost clause through principles of Jus Cogens that they are preaching to other Parliamentarians to entertain and excite the more educated mind. Their case is dismissed by True Tamils of Jaffna, using Nature’s law.