The Government has dismissed statements made by Ministers and MPs with regard to the recent Colombo High Court ruling acquitting the suspects in the case of the murder of former Jaffna District MP Nadaraja Raviraj as mere individual opinions.
The Court and a seven-member Sinhala speaking jury recently acquitted all five suspects including three Navy intelligence personnel in the case of Raviraj’s assassination. Raviraj’s bodyguard, a Sinhalese, too died in the shooting which took place in November 2006 in Colombo.
Reiterating the call for an international investigation with the involvement of foreign judges into alleged war crimes, Tamil National Alliance MP M.A. Sumanthiran, the Attorney-at-Law representing Raviraj’s wife in the case, have stated that the verdict would be appealed. Sumanthiran questioned the independence of the judiciary and the credibility of the country’s justice system, stating that they lacked confidence in it.
Elsewhere, Cabinet Minister Mano Ganeshan expressing frustration and disappointment over the verdict stated that the decision would cause a breach of trust in the judiciary and the justice system that would justify and strengthen the calls for international involvement into the investigation of charges of war crimes.
He had further stated that despite assurances by the Minister of Justice, the country’s legal system could not be trusted and added that it was likely that the questions regarding the verdict would be raised at the upcoming sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva in March. Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, Karunaratne Paranawithana explained that individuals had the right to criticize even judgments handed down by courts, a right which was to be respected.
“A judgment of a court too is to be respected as ultimate, yet there is an appeals process which is the established way of seeking justice,” he said.