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Monday, May 20, 2024

SRI LANKA: Attack on two courts – It is time for judges and lawyers to fight back

According to reports we have received a group of criminals sponsored allegedly by a minister has stone and attack the High Court and the Magistrate Court of Mannar yesterday 18 July. According to the report a Fishing Vadiya has been attacked by a group and on the basis of reports received by the Magistrate he has directed the police to apprehend the culprits.
Thereafter a minister is reported to have contacted the Magistrate with the view to influence the Magistrate to decisive from taking any action about the incident of attack on the Fishing Vadiya. The Magistrate has declined to listen to the Minister and has insisted that the court order to be carried out. It is thereafter that a group of criminals have attacked both the Magistrate Court as well as the High Court. The judges of the lower courts are expected to meet to discuss this issue.

A clash between fishermen of Uppukulam and Vedithaltivu in Mannar left several people injured yesterday (July 18). AHRC Photo

The incident comes as no surprise. Political attacks on the courts, direct and indirect have been continuing for long time now. The politicians in the ruling parties are resisting the attempts by courts to maintain the rule of law when their supporters are the allege culprits of crimes. In the overall political stream of the country subordination of the courts to the politicians has become a rule. This subordinations is popularly known in the country as politicization. Limited attempts to counteract such politicization taken by the parliament by way of the 17th amendment to the constitution were resisted by the government by passing the 18th amendment to the constitution.

The recent incidents relating to Julampitiye Amare glaringly exposed the depth to which political interferences have sunk in the country. A man allegedly accused of 24 murders and fifteen arson attacks and other serious crimes was able to move freely while the courts were issuing warrant after warrants for his arrest. This instant mealy one among tens of thousands of cases where legal process have been touted due to political influence.

It is time for the judges and for lawyers to fight back to protect the law, judicial process and also the judges themselves. The cost of failure to fight back would be to let the easy completion of the down slit of the law and the legal system of Sri Lanka. If lawyers and the judges will not fight back there is no one else to take their place.

The warning that comes from the incidents in Mannar need to be taken seriously, if the law and legal process are not to perish altogether.
photo: A clash between fishermen of Uppukulam and Vedithaltivu in Mannar left several people injured yesterday (July 18). AHRC Photo


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