VIDEO: Civil and Court Martial mix up only for political gain: Susil
October 5, 2010 03:43 pm
While urging those protesting against the imprisonment of Sarath Fonseka, Petroleum Industries Minister A.D. Susil Premajayantha said they were resorting to useless methods without following the correct judicial procedures to gain political mileage.
Addressing the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) media briefing at the Mahaweli Centre, Mr. Pramajayantha said that protests, petitions, rallies and other means will not serve any purpose until and unless the required judicial procedures are followed.
Most of these press conferences and protests have been over the verdict of the second Court Martial against former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, said Minister Premajayantha. The correct procedure has been followed regarding this and the President as the Commander in Chief has approved it.
However, those pressing for Mr. Fonseka’s release should follow the correct procedures as set out by the judiciary and not resort to activities which are aimed at political gains rather that his release, said Susil Premajayantha.
They should realize the difference between a Court martial and a civil court. There are no provisions to appeal against a Court Martial decision. If it has to be done the appeal should be to a civil court. If the appeal court too ratifies the Court Martial decision, the only other avenue will be to appeal for a pardon from the Head of State, in this case the President.
Speaking at the same media briefing, Deputy Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs Dilan Perera explained the difference between a pardon and an appeal.
He said that if an individual could appeal against a civil court verdict to a higher court. A civil court sentence takes affect as soon as it is delivered. But if the higher court of appeal affirms the said verdict, then that stops there as the individual has not other avenue but one.
That last resort is to appeal for a pardon from the Head of State, in this case the President, who may or may not decide to offer a pardon.
However, Deputy Minister Perera said that where the Court Martial is concerned, the President, as the Commander in Chief, after ratifying about 4,000 to 5,000 Courts Martial, refuses to ratify one on specific grounds, this action would have adverse effects on the discipline of the armed forces. A Court martial is to safeguard the discipline in the armed forces and should not be mixed up with a civil court, Dilan Perera said.