SRI LANKA: Proposing Mohan Peiris as CJ belies the claim that the impeachment was all about integrity 

It has been reported that the name of Mohan Peiris has been proposed as one of the names for the office of Chief Justice by the Sri Lankan government. If the role of the chief justice is to be that of a stooge of the government perhaps there is hardly anyone more suited to the post that Mr. Peiris.

The proposal of Mr. Mohan Peiris belies the government’s argument that the reason to move for an impeachment against Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake was on the issue of integrity.

What integrity can Mr. Mohan Peiris claim? He has worked hand-in-glove in almost every activity that has ended in scandal in recent times. Whether we are speaking about enforced disappearances or blatant abuse of authority to forgive criminals and to prosecute innocent persons or covering up any of the scandals relating to the government, Mr. Mohan Peiris has a hand in all these matters. The whole world is aware of his attempt to cover up the state’s responsibility for the enforced disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda. He blatantly lied before the United Nations Committee against Torture and the world media saw him do so. Later, before a Sri Lankan court he stated the very opposite of what he had said before this august treaty body of the United Nations.

The manner in which he abused his position as Attorney General is well documented, published and commented upon by many persons. We do not wish to repeat here the long list of wrong doings that are attributed to him.

The attempt to place Mr. Mohan Peiris in the position of chief justice confirms the fears repeatedly expressed during the impeachment debate that the aim of the government is to destroy the Supreme Court altogether. What the public needs to fathom is the reasons for this scheme of the Rajapaksa government to destroy the Supreme Court altogether.

It is obvious that the government is aware of what it is doing and what it intends to do in the future and that it will cause serious violations of the rights of all citizens. Naturally the citizens are going to be aggrieved and will want to seek protection. The habit of turning to the courts for protection has been well established in Sri Lanka and now the government wants to send the very clear message that the courts are no place for citizens to contest the actions of the government.

The government also wants to suppress all judges who do not fall in line with the government and perform the function of frustrating the people’s aspirations for justice.

The government wants the people to abandon all hopes of finding justice in the courts and cultivating this sense of hopelessness has become necessary for the very survival of the government.

It was the will of the government to impeach the Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake by hook or by crook. It is the same approach that the government is following in trying to appoint their man to the post of Chief Justice.

The people do not owe the obligation of obedience and cooperation for these kinds of schemes of any government and the only way the people can protect their own self interests is to withdraw cooperation for such schemes.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-016-2013
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Judicial system,