BY RUWAN LAKNATH JAYAKODY
The new government must ensure the modernization of the system of governance, the overall framework of democracy and the rule of law along with the effective enforcement of the separation of powers, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) noted.
Director of Policy and Programmes at the AHRC and the Asian Legal Resource Centre and Right Livelihood Award/Alternative Nobel Prize Winner, Basil Fernando said that the double defeat suffered by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential election of 8 January and in the parliamentary elections concluded on 17 August, hopefully, marks the end of a long period of onslaught on democracy and the rule of law.
Now the issue is to place in a democratic apparatus and to practically undo the system of politicization that has prevailed over a long period which requires initiative, both from the government, as well as efforts on the part of leaders of various branches and departments of the government, he observed.
Allocation of funds is required to ensure that the law enforcement agencies will have the same facilities as those available to similar agencies in developed countries, he added.
Ensuring a competent and an independent judiciary is imperative as there is the problem of extraordinary delays in adjudication, Fernando explained.
“The new government will soon be tested on their promises to end corruption and to bring the perpetrators of such crimes at the highest levels and connections to government to book. Already, in the period since January 2015, public discontent about the slow performance of the new government in this regard has been heard. The excuse of the government so far have been that despite the results of the presidential elections, the new government has been a minority government, and that its performance had been obstructed by powerful politicians associated with the Rajapaksa regime.
Now, post 17, August, these excuses will not be available to the new government. People will eagerly wait to see tangible results in the curbing of corruption. In particular, people will eagerly await the results of many inquiries that have been announced by the Fraud and Corruption Investigation Division of the Sri Lanka Police since January into the conduct of powerful persons associated with the Rajapaksa regime.” he mentioned