Political pressure and threat to life forces Tamil Judge to flee Sri Lanka – ICET

Judge Saravanarajah’s plight is emblematic of a failed State, with the independence of the judiciary in shambles. It further proves that Tamils cannot get equal justice in Sri Lanka, International Council of Eelam Tamils said in a statement which was released on Sunday (Oct. 01).

See the press release below:

Mullaitivu District Judge R. Saravanaraja has announced that he is forced to resign due to life threat and continuous pressure from the Government of Sri Lanka.  The judge, who has been the target of continuous threats ever since he issued the order in the Mullaitivu Kurundurmalai, and Kokkuthoduvai mass graves cases.  He has announced his resignation through a letter dated 2023-09-23 and has as fled the island fearing for his life.

In addition, judges often have restrictions on their political activities, public statements, and financial interests to maintain their impartiality and the appearance of impartiality. These restrictions may vary by jurisdiction and level of the judiciary. Saravanarajah is a very neutral and honest person.

Politicians should not influence the legal system, but in Sri Lanka Tamil judges experience a lot of pressure from Buddhist monks and Sinhalese politicians. Sinhala politician and former military chief Sarath Veerasekara castigated Judge Saravanarajah as a crazy person for his judicial rulings.

Judges are entitled to protection from harassment, threats, or violence, and appropriate measures should be taken to ensure their safety and security.  The Sinhalese government and Sinhalese nationalists have never accepted the rulings of the Tamil judges in Sri Lanka. This reflects the reality that there are two separate rules of law in Sri Lanka, and actions by Sinhala Buddhist monks and thugs against Tamils are above the law.

Justice Saravanaraja has announced his resignation in a court letter addressed to the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission, stating that he is resigning due to threats to his life and constant pressure.

International norms guarantee the independence of the judiciary, ensuring the safety of judges against threats, pressure, or political interference in their work. Governments have an obligation to protect the independence of the judiciary and ensure the safety of judges. The rule of law and the integrity of the judicial system depend on the ability of judges to make decisions based on the law and evidence, free from external influence and intimidation.

Judge Saravanarajah’s plight is emblematic of a failed State, with the independence of the judiciary in shambles. It further proves that Tamils cannot get equal justice in Sri Lanka.  Those who are trying to prop up the failed state through billions in economic aid should take serious note of the ground reality.

International Council of Eelam Tamils (ICET) strongly condemns the threat to life of Judge Saravanarajah and urges the countries bailing out Sri Lanka to take serious note.

– International Council of Eelam Tamils-

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