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Justice Delayed is Justice Denied
 
CEYLON 060901-1
September 1, 2006

A Statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] The killing of the seventeen aid workers and the disappearance of Fr Thuraingham Jimbrown and his associate Mr Vimalathas have shocked the nation and even the world. Pertinent questions are being raised for which answers are imperative. The reputation and image of the nation is also at stake .To date, there has been no official explanation regarding the circumstances of these very serious and tragic events. We are no doubt in a very critical impasse of justice.

The GoSL must therefore expedite independent investigations on these happenings and share these findings publicly. The perpetrators must be named and appropriate action taken or in the alternative these investigations should indicate that sources other than SLAF are responsible and these sources named.

Consequently, I urge the President to invite a team of impartial and competent Sri Lankan expatriates acceptable to all concerned to conduct independent investigations. The prevailing culture of violence and intimidation is not conducive to an independent local investigation. Recent delays in natural justice in similar instances also require innovations in the nature of investigations, if impartiality is to be ensured, and until and unless conditions change for the better.

The families of these persons killed and missing as well as ACF (the NGO concerned) and the Roman Catholic Church have a right to know what happened to their loved ones and employees as well as the identity of those responsible for harming them. If not, they and the people of this country will have every right to conclude that the GoSL is unwilling to ensure a just process leading to justice, when the lives and rights of its citizens are violated.

I offer the condolences and prayers of our Church to the families of these victims as well as to ACF and to Bishop Thomas Soundranayagam and the Roman Catholic Church..

As a country we are now in an alarming situation of worsening violence, intimidation and immense human suffering and anxiety. Our best chance still of a return to a pro-life culture is that we should learn to honour truth, reject violence and respect each other. If not in the words of Arundhati Roy “what goes around must come around “, and we will all soon be engulfed in chaos and destruction.