penalty comes into force
The murder of a High Court judge on Friday has spurred President
Chandrika Kumaratunga into re-initiating the death penalty for rape,
murder and narcotic dealings with immediate effect.
an emergency meeting last morning with her Public Security, Law
and Order Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and high level officials,
the President made "several important decisions" with
regard to the prevention of organized crime, a statement made by
the President's Office said.
meeting came barely 24 hours after Colombo High Court Judge Sarath
Ambepitiya was gunned down at his official residence in Colombo
by still unknown assailants. Angered by the murder of Justice Ambepitiya,
the Bar Council of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) last
morning demanded the re-introduction of capital punishment (death
penalty) and called upon the President to restore law and order
in the country.
BASL said they were once again calling upon President Kumaratunga
to "immediately arrange to grant adequate protection and security
to all judges so that they could continue to discharge their judicial
functions without any threat to their lives."
release from the President's Office further states that, among the
other decisions taken yesterday were:
Crime Prevention Unit of the Police will be re-organised and strengthened
with immediate effect.
President Kumaratunga has given instructions to relevant authorities
to bring in proposed amendments to the criminal law, in addition
to adopting regulations, systems and procedures to minimize laws
delays, within four weeks. * It was decided to set up a Special
Police Unit for the security of judges and the law courts. A security
plan was discussed in detail today. It will be effective by Friday,
November 26, 2004.
The Minister for Public Security, Law and Order, his Secretary and
the IGP will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of
The President will discuss with the Chief Justice all these matters
and seek his advice with regard to the plan of action that will
be adopted by the government.
A special compensation will be paid to the family of the deceased
Judge from the President's Fund.
release expressed the President's and the Government's "shock
and concern" at the assassination of Justice Ambepitiya, whom
the President's Office described as a judge of the "highest
release referred to Justice Ambepitiya's judgments against several
well-known drug merchants, as well as operators of organized crime
and the 200-year rigorous imprisonment term to LTTE Leader Velupillai