One country, two systems?
The LTTE claims that there are two legal systems in the country, and our law enforcement process seems to be getting sucked in by the force of this argument. Events seem to bear this out.

The Norwegians are the final arbiters on the ceasefire agreement for example, and they alone decide who is right and who is wrong regarding violations, even though their approach hitherto has been to let such minor matters (as far as they are concerned) take their own course, while the bigger issue of peace is negotiated. The LTTE is only too aware of this Norwegian strategy, which has the wholehearted approval of the Sri Lankan government. Again, the LTTE has got caught with its pants down, but expect no flush of embarrassment from them. (Our page 1 lead article has the story.)

We also had the case of the two LTTErs who were arrested in the Eastern province, for violating the law of the land, who were produced before the Court of Appeal, where they were granted bail with great dispatch. Their Lordships of the Court of Appeal were not at all happy with this turn of events, and said so in open court. The accused were ordered to report at the Kantale Police station every fortnight as per terms of bail, but they have not done so (who expected them to anyway) and are therefore now in contempt of court.

It as an incident that clearly had the Sri Lankan system of administration of justice at sixes and sevens, and even though the AG tried to show a semblance of proper law enforcement, all he was able to do in the end was to enact a farce.

Meanwhile, we have the Jaffna Magistrate inquiring from the Norwegian monitors whether a man who was in possession of a pistol has violated the MoU. Since when has the MoU become an instrument of law in this country? The Magistrate seems to have not got any guidelines, and he seems to be at sea with regard to these matters.
The Colombo High Court has now in the latest dramatic episode of these courtroom dramas, sentenced the LTTE supremo himself to imprisonment (effectively) for life, and issued an arrest warrant. The Vavuniya police is now entrusted with the task of going into the Mullaithivu jungles and bringing Velupillai Prabhakran to justice.

Anton Balasingham who claimed that Prabhakaran and he are the same, calls the High Court judgment 'ridiculous' and says it goes against the spirit of the peace talks, and the political secretary of the terrorist organisation calls for a general amnesty for all LTTE "war crimes". While Dr. Balasingham thus pontificates on the spirit of the talks, his cadres get caught smuggling claymore mines on Friday night even as they were smoking the peace pipe in Bangkok. The US embassy issued a statement just this week saying their de-mining mission has cleared all anti personnel mines in Sarasalai in Jaffna and is now leaving. But they better be back very soon.

The question is not just about what flows from the Prabhakaran conviction, but about what flows form all of these other violations. It has to be determined what legal status the MoU has over the normal law of the land.

The government has predictably been tight-lipped on the Prabhakaran conviction, and the mockery of justice will continue, and the LTTE's claim that there are two systems of justice in the country will probably be correct.


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