Deshabandu with Tiran

The Sri Lankan Collective Against Torture (SLCAT) strongly condemns the appointment of Mr. Deshbandu Tennakoon as the Inspector General of Police (IGP). They argue that this decision directly contradicts democratic principles and the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

The SLCAT highlights several concerns regarding the appointment process. Firstly, they point out that Mr. Tennakoon was previously convicted of violating fundamental rights, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court. Secondly, they criticize the lack of transparency in the selection process, which disregarded public objections and raised suspicions. Finally, they express concerns about the legality of the voting process and the composition of the Constitutional Council.

The SLCAT urges all relevant parties to take immediate action to address these concerns and uphold the democratic values of Sri Lanka. They emphasize the importance of public trust in the rule of law and democracy for the nation’s progress.

The full statement is as follows:

The Sri Lankan Collective Against Torture vehemently opposes the appointment of Mr. Deshbandu Tennakoon as the Inspector General of Police. We strongly object to the President’s decision to appoint Mr. Deshabandu Tennakoon, an individual previously convicted of fundamental rights violations, to the esteemed position of Inspector General of Police.

This appointment, orchestrated through the Constitutional Council established to fortify democracy, is perceived as a severe setback to democratic principles and the rule of law.

The following aspects of this process are identified as contrary to democratic values:

  1. Disregarding the objections raised by public representatives, civil society organizations, and recognized professionals after Mr. Deshabandu Tennakoon assumed the role of Acting Inspector General of Police.
  1. Utterly neglecting the decision of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, which found Mr. Deshabandu Tennakoon guilty of violating fundamental rights following the hearing of fundamental rights petition SC FR 107/2011.
  1. Rendering the legislative assembly’s process regarding this appointment non-transparent in a manner that raises suspicions.

As established by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, Mr. Deshabandu Tennakoon stands guilty of violating fundamental rights, a crucial component of the sovereignty vested in the people of the Republic of Sri Lanka, as enshrined in the Constitution. Fundamental rights are articulated in the third chapter of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

The Supreme Court’s directive mandated compensation to be paid by the accused, including the current Inspector General of Police, from their personal funds and emphasized disciplinary action against these public officials. Consequently, we contend that an individual found by the Supreme Court to have violated fundamental rights not only lacks eligibility for promotion but also should not be retained in the current position. The process of appointing a person who has violated the fundamental rights of the people to the position of IGP is seen as inadvertently supporting an act that contravenes the Constitution and the sovereignty of the people by members of the Constitutional Council, including the President and the Speaker, who have taken an oath to protect these constitutional principles.

Furthermore, questions have been raised about the need for the votes of five members of the Constituent Assembly to approve this appointment, as well as the legality of using the speaker’s casting vote when four were in favor and two were against. Additionally, concerns about the representation provided by civil society representatives within the Constitutional Council have arisen, given that one was in favor of the appointment and two abstained from voting.

Therefore, we believe that this process has the potential to significantly erode public confidence in the rule of law and democracy. As public trust in democracy is crucial for the survival and progress of a nation, we earnestly implore all political parties, members of parliament, and stakeholders to take immediate and necessary measures to rectify this process.

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