Monday 11 November 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

11 November  2019

A senior member of the Australian Tamil community said that we should ‘forgive and forget’. This was in response to our absence at the wedding of  a relative of ours – known to the lady as an association. I then said that to me the ‘structure’ was important and hence as an individual – I would confidentially accept the person to the extent I felt he was true but that the apparent position in my relationship was not mine alone to ‘forgive and forget’. The relationship is as per the customs and laws of our common environment and confirms our contribution to those structures. Damage to those structures would weaken our own protection from negatives in family environment – where we tend to be ‘free’. By opposing those who breach those protocols – we preserve our own protective armours.
This morning I learnt the shocking news that accused in the Royal Park Murder has been ‘pardoned’ by the current Sri Lankan President. Wikipedia includes the following message:

[On June 9, 2014 the Supreme Court approved the death sentence.
Royal Park murder convict on death row granted Presidential pardon (09-11-2019)
Nov 09 2019, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena in the final week of his term in office has pardoned a death row prisoner who was convicted of a murder of a Swedish teenager in 2005, local media reported.

Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal in 2012, overturning a 12 year prison term imposed by the Colombo High Court, sentenced Shermantha Jude Jayamaha in the murder of 19-year-old Yvonne Jonsson at the luxurious Royal Park Condominiums at Rajagiriya in July 2005
Recently, President Maithripala Sirisena said he would consider granting presidential pardon to Mr Jayamaha since he had served his term on good behavior while completing his doctorate in prison. "He went to prison at the age of 19 over an incident of impatience," the President said announcing his intention on the pardon request.
Chairman of the Office on Missing Persons Saliya Peiris questioned how the President chose Royal Park convict among thousands of convicts on death row to grant a presidential pardon.]

The Constitution of Sri Lanka provides as follows:
[34. (1) The President may in the case of any offender convicted of any offence in any court within the Republic of Sri Lanka –
(a) grant a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions;
(b) grant any respite, either indefinite for such period as the President may think fit, of the execution of any sentence passed on such offender ;
(c) substitute a less severe form of punishment for any punishment imposed on such offender ; or
(d) remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the Republic on account of such offence :
Provided that where any offender shall have been condemned to suffer death by the sentence of any court, the President shall cause a report to be made to him by the Judge who tried the case and shall forward such report to the Attorney-General with instructions that after the Attorney-General has advised thereon, the report shall be sent together with the Attorney-General’s advice to the Minister in charge of the subject of Justice, who shall forward the report with his recommendation to the President. ]

It is not clear whether the President went through the above process. If he did not – it is the duty of the Parliament – to institute action to protect the ‘structure’ of the Constitution of Sri Lanka which provides as follows:

[38 (2) (a) Any Member of Parliament may, by a writing addressed to the Speaker, give notice of a resolution alleging that the President is permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office by reason of mental or physical infirmity or that the President has been guilty of –
(i)             intentional violation of the Constitution,
(iv) misconduct or corruption involving the abuse of the powers of his office, or
(v) any   offence under any law, involving moral turpitude and setting out full particulars of the allegation or allegations made and seeking an inquiry and report thereon by the Supreme Court]
In  Democracy – elected members of Parliament are entitled to act as per their belief. It is an entitlement through their governing powers. If indeed – the President ‘believed’ that the perpetrator deserved his ‘pardon’ then Sri Lanka is headed by someone of weak civilization. According to Adaderena newsreport:
[Last month, President Maithripala Sirisena had said he may consider granting a Presidential pardon to the Royal Park murder convict, as he had served his prison term on good behaviour while completing his doctorate.]

Getting a doctorate does not in any way cure a person of murderous qualities. In fact higher education ought to have influenced the person concerned  to apply the law and reject any concessions personal to him.

The current President has seriously weakened his relationship with the Common Citizen of Sri Lanka. That is the heritage he shares with the position of Presidency.  This kind of abuse was indicated also by Mr Gotabaya Rajapakse. If Sri Lankans vote for Mr Rajapakse to become president – they confirm that murder is not a serious misconduct. Given that the victim was a dual-citizen with international grooming, this sends a strong warning to tourists – especially from the Western countries where the laws are quite harsh and where impeachment of the head of State  is used to cure the government of serious impurities.

Mr Sirisena has acted against the State by using personal / private  standards. Whether it be Tamil, Sinhalese or Muslim rebels who waged war in which people were killed – so long as they did so due to their Belief – they earned lesser punishment than this perpetrator. The release confirms ‘jungle’ laws and Sri Lanka’s President has demoted Sri Lanka to jungle level. If majority have earned that – status – then they would continue to elect such presidents.

Now that the Executive powers of the President have been trimmed – one ought to expect this kind of chaos in Sri Lanka. Presidential immunity is to cover ‘governing’ belief based decisions which would not be acceptable to those who follow the law. The President needs to be symbolic head to prevent this kind of abuse which places is a curse placed on the Presidency and the whole nation.

When we hold a position of belief – both sides of whatever we do come back to us. Executive power and therefore Accountability – helps share the responsibility with those above us by law.

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