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29th August 1999

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Colombo's fire fighers staged a protest march on
Friday, demanding hat the government inplement a
Supreme Court order restoring their status.
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Case against AG takes new turn

Petitions referred to all Supreme Court Judges as MP calls for debate

By Ayesha R. Rafiq

As Chief Justice G. P. S. de Silva sought the views of Supreme Court judges on procedures to deal with complaints against Attorney General Sarath Silva, an MP has called for a parliamentary debate over purported moves to appoint Mr. Silva to the highest judicial position in the country.

One of the complainants, Ravaya Editor Victor Ivan, in a letter to the Chief Justice, seeks action against Mr. Silva on allegations of being guilty of moral turpitude. The other complainant was a litigant in a divorce case who had cited Mr. Silva as a co-respondent and who in his letter to the Chief Justice seeks the removal of Mr. Silva from the post of Attorney General.

Meanwhile, rebel LSSP MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara has proposed a debate in Parliament over alleged moves to appoint Mr. Silva as the Chief Justice once the present Chief Justice's term expires on September 15.

Mr. Nanayakkara has suggested that the debate be fixed before September 15.

He has made the suggestion to Chief Government Whip Richard Pathirana, Leader of the House Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Legal sources said that Chief Justice de Silva had considered the complaint by Mr. Ivan as a matter important enough to circulate the file among all the Supreme Court judges and not just refer it to one judge as was the practice, seeking their views.

The Chief Justice also passed on a complaint made by the other petitioner to Justice Mark Fernando, as the Chief Justice is said to be known to the complainant. This complaint too is being circulated among all the judges of the Supreme Court, The Sunday Times learns.

The Ravaya Editor in his complaint has alleged that the AG has suppressed evidence in a case where Magistrate Lenin Ratnayake, said to be a relative of Mr. Silva, was facing allegations of rape and misappropriation of funds. Magistrate Ratnayake is alleged to have raped the wife of an accused on the pretext of obtaining a statement about her husband. He is also alleged to have embezzled funds while working as a clerk at the National Insurance Corporation.

Mr. Ivan alleged that the AG in a letter sent to the Minister of Justice on the latter's request had given details of the magistrate's case in a manner that allegedly amounted to a cover-up of the fraud and rape charges. He said that with the submission of this letter the AG had attempted to subvert the course of justice and therefore not worthy of his post or of being an attorney-at-law and asked the Chief Justice to probe the AG's alleged misconduct and deal with him under the Judicature Act.

The other complainant has said that Mr. Silva, who was then a Court of Appeal judge, was the co-respondent in the divorce case he filed in the District Court of Colombo as he was allegedly living in adultery with his wife.

He has alleged that the Additional District Judge of Colombo struck off Mr. Silva's name as co-respondent for unknown reasons, and he had been made to pay Rs. 1 million to the respondent. He also alleged that Mr. Silva had threatened a lawyer appearing on the petitioner's behalf not to appear in the case. The petitioner has asked the Chief Justice to summon Mr. Silva to explain his conduct in allegedly subverting the course of justice and abuse of the legal process. Mr. Nanayakkara has also cited the same reasons justifying his call for a parliamentary debate.

Batty's e-mail blunder

By Shelani de Silva

Computer technologists claim that Science and Technology Minister Batty Weerakoon has made a blunder in his explanation of the functioning of the e-mail process.

Commenting on the e-mail issue where he was accused by the Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of illegally tapping his computer, Minister Weerakoon last week said that one or many people could have the same e-mail address in the same server. He said this was the reason for Mr. Wickrem-esinghe's e-mail falling into his hands.

But computer experts said that no server could offer the same e-mail address for more than one person. They said that when an e-mail address was offered for registration, the server would automatically reject it if another registration had been made under the same address. It would advise to offer a different address for registration.

Dr. P G V Dias, senior lecturer of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Moratuwa told The Sunday Times that a person's e-mail connection was his own and no one could get it.

On the question of tapping e-mails, Dr. Dias said it was difficult to do so because it was only the server which had access to the mail. But it was illegal for the server to read any mail, he said.

Colombo University's Computer Chief Prof. V. K. Samaranayake also said no two people could have the same address but added that users could share the e-mail address.

Lanka Internet, Mr.Wickeremesinghe's e-mail server, dismissed Minister Weerakoon's allegations that the Opposition Leader should have been more careful in using the server which had given the same address to more than one person.

Lanka Internet Manager Krishantha Abeywardene said the problem did not lie with the server.

"The sender had sent the message to the wrong address. There was nothing technically wrong. Subsequently a second message was sent to Mr. Wickremesighe immediately. We informed Mr. Wickremesinghe the reason for the mess, but by that time he too was aware of it.," he said.

Chemmani suspects moved out of Jaffna

All army personnel implicated in the alleged Chemmani mass murders have been moved out of the Jaffna peninsula ahead of tomorrow's second phase of the identification and excavation of grave sites, an Attorney General's department official said.

State Counsel Yasantha Kodagoda told The Sunday Times the army personnel had been implicated in a statement by Lance Corporal, Somaratna Rajapakse who was convicted in the Krishanthi Kumarasamy murder case.

Mr. Kodagoda said that the local investigating team would be assisted by a foreign criminal investigator and a criminal archaeologist who would be present at the excavation. Amnesty International observers are also expected to arrive here for the excavation.

He said that during the first three days Rajapakse and five other convicts in the case would be told to identify the suspected mass graves in Chemmani. The excavation process would begin on September 6.

Meanwhile preparations are under way to set up a mini-lab in Jaffna enabling forensic science experts to carry out tests on the spot, reports said.

The first phase of excavation of the grave began in June and two human skeletal remains were recovered. Both of them were identified.

TELO issues ultimatum on arms

By Chris Kamalendran

An ex-militant group has warned that if the government does not give their weapons back in two weeks, it will have no alternative but to quit mainstream politics and join the LTTE's armed struggle to protect its members.

Amirthanathan Adaikala-nathan, leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) and Vavuniya district parliamentarian told The Sunday Times the warning that they would resort to militancy as they were prior to 1987 was conveyed to the government and military authorities.

"The government is adopting a discriminatory policy in issuing weapons to TELO and a PLOTE group. We are being disarmed while the PLOTE group is being armed. This policy has led to many of our members being killed," he said.

The MP's warning follows soon after a TELO camp in Kukumankulam in Vavuniya was allegedly burnt down on Wednesday by the Special Task Force (STF).

The police commandos suspected that LTTE cadres who fired at a sentry point escaped through the TELO camp.

But Mr. Adaikalanathan said the camp was burnt down with the alleged instigation of the Mannikadasan PLOTE group in Vavuniya.

He said that in his warning he had alleged that 17 TELO members, including four senior members, had been gunned down by PLOTE cadres, after the government disarmed them.

He also charged that although the government ordered the disarming of the PLOTE as well, its armed members were freely roaming in Vavuniya and posing a threat to TELO members.

The government ordered the disarming of PLOTE and TELO as both groups were involved in attacking each other in Vavuniya and Colombo.

The two ex-militant groups have called on the government to rearm themselves becasue they felt the security forces were unable to provide them security all the time. (See interview on Page 4).

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