SRI LANKA: The absence of justice hurts even more than murder 

We have received a rather strange comment on our previous statement Duminda Silva is above the law by a Mr. Rohan Salgadoe which we quote below:

Please note. This picture might hurt and make the family members of Mr. Lakshman Premachandta aggrieved further which should not be the policy of AHRC. The family had suffered enough and why should you add to it.

This rather hypocritical comment may not deserve a reply. However, perhaps unintentionally the commentator has pointed out something relating to the hurt that is caused by the knowledge that, not only the murderers, but also the country’s justice system has betrayed the survivors of the families of the victims. In this particular instance the family happens to be that of the late Baratha Lakshman Premanchandra, who was assassinated, allegedly by a group of persons lead by Duminda Silva. Now the family that is suffering from this murder is also learning that justice has been systematically denied to them. There are literally tens of thousands of others in Sri Lanka who are also undergoing this same suffering.

One’s sense of belonging to community is based on the premise that the community will stand by anyone of its members if he or she suffers an injustice or is exposed to serious harm by way of crime. The belief in justice is what makes the belonging of a community meaningful and purposeful.

In Sri Lanka today powerful politicians belonging to the government can ensure that any person can be deprived of justice altogether. There is no longer an imperative that everyone should be treated equally before the law. The constitution itself has displaced the notion of equality before the law by placing the executive president above the law and the jurisdiction of the courts. On that basis today the executive can raise anyone above the law and Duminda Silva is one of those persons who have been raised in that manner. Others will point out other persons who have been ‘privileged’ in the same manner.

When justice is not possible within one’s society one is pushed to the wall and is crushed to a situation within which all possible human reaction against injustice is being denied. There could be no worse suffering for anyone who has suffered injustice to know that instead of justice what exists within one’s society is hypocrisy and injustice.

There is no way to save a person in this predicament as long as the country remains in a state of denial of justice. When the government protects the alleged criminals instead of the victims of their crimes the government imposes the worst form of suffering on people than the crimes which they originally suffered.

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-168-2011
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Victims assistance & protection,