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Friday, May 24, 2024

BASL statement on Public Security Minister Tiran Alles’s endowment of extrajudicial killings in Sri Lanka

STATEMENT BY THE BAR ASSOCIATION OF SRI LANKA:

RESOLUTION PASSED BY BAR COUNCIL CALLING FOR THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SECURITIES TO RETRACT RECENT STATEMENT AND FOR HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT TO REASSIGN THE PORTFOLIO OF PUBLIC SECURITY

At its council meeting held on April 27th, 2024, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka denounced the recent statement issued by the at the Katukurunda STF training camp’s passing out parade, which garnered widespread attention across various media platforms.

According to media reports, the Minister asserted, ‘Eliminating criminals from the country is not a sin. Don’t be afraid to use the weapon in your hand for the right thing, and we stand by you.

The BASL expresses grave concern over the aforementioned statement, deeming it in direct contradiction to the fundamental principles enshrined in the nation’s Constitution and the established procedures governing the criminal justice system. The dispensation of justice, including the imposition of penalties upon wrongdoers, is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the courts as mandated by the Constitution. Such actions must adhere strictly to due process, including thorough investigations and fair trials conducted in accordance with the law.

Given the alarming increase in extrajudicial killings, custodial deaths, and incidents of torture perpetrated by law enforcement in recent times, the Minister’s statement perpetuates a dangerous misconception that justice, sentencing, and punishment lie beyond the purview of the judiciary and can be administered arbitrarily, without adherence to due process.

The recurring pattern of irresponsible, arbitrary, and misleading remarks by the Minister underscores the urgent need for corrective action. As a custodian of public security, the Minister is duty-bound to serve the interests of the populace. However, the repeated dissemination of such misguided messages not only undermines public trust but also misguides law enforcement personnel.

Therefore, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka emphatically calls for the immediate retraction of the Minister’s statement. The BASL calls upon His Excellency the President to forthwith remove Minister Tiran Alles from the portfolio of Public Security as he  by his repeated statements encouraging impunity and callous disregard for the rule of law, demonstrated that he is no longer suitable to hold that office. Furthermore, the BASL reaffirms the sacrosanct principle that the authority to mete out punishment must remain vested solely in the courts, operating within the bounds of established legal procedures.

Additionally, the BASL reiterates the fundamental right of every individual accused of an offense to undergo a fair and diligent investigation and to receive a fair trial, as guaranteed by the law and international conventions adhered to by civilized legal systems.

 

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