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Bar Association of Sri Lanka Condemns Minister’s Statement on Justice and Public Security

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka convened on April 27th, 2024, to address a concerning statement made during the passing out parade at the Katukurunda STF training camp, which has since garnered significant attention across various media platforms.

Reports indicate that the Minister, during the ceremony, 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.”

In response, the BASL has expressed deep concern regarding the Minister’s statement, viewing it as directly conflicting with the fundamental principles outlined in the nation’s Constitution and the established procedures governing the criminal justice system. The association emphasizes that the dispensation of justice, including the imposition of penalties upon wrongdoers, falls exclusively within the jurisdiction of the courts as mandated by the Constitution. Therefore, such actions must adhere strictly to due process, including thorough investigations and fair trials conducted in accordance with the law.

The BASL highlights a troubling trend of increasing extrajudicial killings, custodial deaths, and incidents of torture by law enforcement in recent times, asserting that the Minister’s statement perpetuates a dangerous misconception that justice, sentencing, and punishment can be administered arbitrarily, without adherence to due process.

Given the gravity of the situation, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka urges the immediate retraction of the Minister’s statement and calls upon His Excellency the President to remove Minister Tiran Alles from the portfolio of Public Security. The association argues that by repeatedly endorsing impunity and showing disregard for the rule of law, the Minister has demonstrated his unsuitability for the position. Furthermore, the BASL reaffirms the principle that the authority to mete out punishment must remain solely with the courts, operating within established legal procedures.

Additionally, the BASL emphasizes 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 law and international conventions upheld by civilized legal systems.

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