Judiciary will face a crisis if PCoI recommendations are implemented – Prof de Zoysa
ECONOMYNEXT- A top political scientist is warning that the Judiciary will face a crisis of confidence if recommendations made by a Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) will be implemented by the courts to release dozens of court cases against ministers and others from prosecution.
Retired Senior Professor of Political science at University of Peradeniya M.O.A. de Zoysa told a seminar organized by the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) yesterday that the PCoI on Political Victimisation is intervening and directly affecting the work of the Judiciary.
“It will have a huge effect on the independence of the judiciary and its function in search of justice,” he added.
The PCoI has recommended that cases against several Ministers be dropped because these were attempts by the last government to victimize these individuals. One case, in particular, that of Power Minister Udaya Gammanpila relates to an alleged fraud committed by the politician against an Australian investor.
De Zoysa also said that the Attorney General’s (AG) Department should be held responsible for filing the court cases associated with political victimisation that was investigated by the presidential commission, as they have given wrongful definitions to those cases.
He the PCoI is recommending the withdrawal of some of the cases in the courts and added according to media reports by appointing a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry to implement the recommendations of the PCoI appointed to probe incidents of political victimization, the government is trying to remove the civic rights of the people who had filed those cases.
“Now the problem is who were victims of this political revenge and how did these allegations come. First of all, we should understand what it is meant by political victimisation,” he said.
He said political victimisation is defined as any intentional physical harassment, persecution, intimidation, threat or any action done to suppress, bring down or completely stop the political activities of a member in the opposing parties by using political power in an unjust manner.
However, he said no harm was done to the people who were brought forward by the commission to be politically victimised, physically or in another way.
“All these cases are about the misuse of public funds and power, so in order to investigate them, legal actions have been taken in a proper manner. How is it defined as political victimisation? It is true these individuals were close friends of the former government, but how can the wrongdoings done by them be defined as political victimization,” he added.
Moreover, he said that these allegations against them were not levelled by the politicians in the former government. The police did investigations into those allegations and then handed over the reports to the AG and after the AG had studied them very carefully he filed court cases against them.
“So then who has done the wrong thing here? It is the police and AGs department that should be responsible for defining the law here. If we say the police doesn’t know the law, they seek legal assistance from the AGs office before going to courts, then it is the AGs office that has given it a wrong definition. So who should be punished? The involved officers in the AGs department who gave the wrong definition to the law,” Prof de Zoysa said.
He said that through these kinds of incidents the whole judiciary will face a crisis.
Further, he said that the people in the government who are using political power should keep in mind that their power is not eternal, “They should again go in front of the people to take a mandate from the people. If they take that second mandate they can be in power, if the people choose differently in 2023 and if another person comes to power they will appoint a commission and say the decisions of this commission are wrong and they should be punished what will happen. This will continue without an end,” he added.
So he said that it is clearly visible that these one-sided decisions were taken based on the needs and wants of one party.
Also, he said If the judges know the law and if they are independent then they will rule out these court cases at the hearings saying that they are based on political victimisation and that there is no need to appoint a commission and ask to withdraw them from courts. (Colombo/Feb01/2021)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe Edited by Arjuna Ranawana