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Government Gazette

Bring the criminals to justice, now

THERE is very understandable, widespread concern over the current violence and bloodshed in the country, centred mainly in the North-East but not confined to it and sparked to a considerable degree by LTTE terror. We do not want to join our voices to those of the prophets of doom who are busy conjuring dreadful scenarios, but are staunchly opposed to the exercise of violence over dispute - resolution, from whichever quarter it emanates.

Some of these incidents of violence have been barbaric in the extreme, even figuring the cruel murder of infants and young children. The recent massacre in Kayts in the North, is a case in point.

Another, is the bloodshed in Avissawella and Gomarankadawela. We roundly condemn such wanton killings and in the same breath decry and denounce all other instances of bloodshed and violence in all parts of the country. In short, violence from whichever quarter cannot be condoned.

Besides, those responsible for all such instances of bloodshed should be quickly apprehended and brought to justice. The due process of law or the Rule of Law should emerge supreme.

Fortunately, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is adopting a principled position on the ceasefire. He is on record that the Government would be upholding the CFA, regardless of LTTE ceasefire violations. In other words, the Government is for keeping the door wide open to a negotiated settlement.

Repaying "a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye" is not State policy. Violence would not be answered by violence although this position should not be interpreted to mean that the Security Forces and the Police would stand idly by when a threat emerges to the national interest. The LTTE would be making a dreadful blunder in mistaking this sane policy of the State for weakness. However, the preferred policy of the State is to end our conflict by political means. This policy would hold as far as it is practicable to pursue it.

Meanwhile, we call on the State to leave no stone unturned until those responsible for these killings are brought to justice. What is at stake is the Rule of Law which is vital to the continuation of civilized living. Every wrong - doer should be held accountable for his misdeeds and called on to pay the price for his crimes. Such timeless principles should hold fast in the North, South, East or West, regardless of who the perpetrators of the crimes are.

We call on the State to regard these tasks as sacred. For, the well-being of the country depends considerably on how effectively the authorities uphold the Rule of Law.

It also depends on how impartially and rigorously the law is applied. Bias and discrimination in the application of the law could defeat all the good intentions of the State and pave the way for the onset of anarchy and lawlessness. We hope this would not be the country's lot.

It could be seen then that the institutions of justice of the land need to be progressively strengthened. For, they uphold the Rule of Law.

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