Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the only issue that cropped up during discussions on the UN resolution was whether Sri Lanka’s judiciary is sufficiently strong enough for a domestic mechanism and not about the country’s armed forces.
Addressing the National Management Conference in Colombo today, he stated that the issue Sri Lanka has to face most of all is in regard to the judiciary.
“Is Sri Lanka’s judiciary sufficiently strong? What is the body blow we suffered when Shirani Bandaranaike was hastily removed as Chief Justice?”
“Actually during the discussion on the UN resolution, the only issue that came up and I was surprised was not about the armed forces but about the judiciary. Have you got a sufficiently strong judiciary?”
The Prime Minister said that in the discussions the Sri Lankan government finally took up the position that “we have to work through our domestic mechanism.”
“In that new mechanism we created, the domestic mechanism is not at the core of it. Which a lot of people are getting excited,” he said.
He said that the government’s objectives are national unity through finding out the truth and reconciliation. “Everyone agrees that we should find out the truth. But then, finding out the truth means reconciliation cannot suffer.”
He said that they have to look at the victims, what compensation can be given and what else the government can do for them. “But as one of the members of the TNA told me ‘all that we do will not bring the dead alive’,” he added.
“But let us actually ensure that it does not happen again and there is unity.”
He pointed out that the government is devising a judicial mechanism which will be under domestic jurisdiction.
“The discussion is always about this domestic jurisdiction not on the fact that our aim is truth and reconciliation.”
“We have to find a middle way and being Sri Lankans we found our way,” Wickremesinghe said, adding that they put their heads together with some of the religious leaders, civil society and even members of the Tamil and Muslim communities and came together to ensure that Sri Lanka can have its own mechanisms to restore good governance.
At the very base of this is a democratic society. The right you have as citizens to speak you mind, the right you have to worship your religion, he said.
“Whether you’re Buddhist or Christian or Muslim or Hindu, everyone should have the right of worship,” the PM emphasized.
“So this is the challenge and it’s not a challenge only for the government or only for the Parliament it’s a challenge for all of us. A democratic society is your society. But that the only way the sovereignty of the people can be safeguarded.”
“There will always be extremists on either side who’ll oppose it for different reasons but the people as a whole has to face this challenge,” he said.