Justice will be done | Daily News

Justice will be done

The Bond Scam suspects would be brought before a Trial-at-Bar, and the Attorney General has asked for the Commission Report on Easter Sunday attacks. Both these news headlines portend well for the cause of law enforcement.

People have had great expectations about just outcomes in both issues, but such hope has been tempered with the knowledge that the powerful and the rich have got away previously in this country.

The Trial-at-Bar gives an inkling of the resolve of the AG’s Department to bring the Bond Scam culprits to justice. For five years during UNP rule, the issue was shamelessly evaded.

The other expectation is that the culprits would have to contend with the law. This reality is reinforced by the iron resolve of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith to ensure that Easter attackers are brought to book – bar none.

His campaign for justice is separate from the rational, clear-headed professional resolve of the AG’s Department. The Attorney General is not given to theatre, but he gets about his business with quiet determination.

He has called for the Commission Report at a time some civil society busybodies are doing their best to undermine Commission findings. The AG has no time for such hyper-partisan thinking, because in calling for the Commission Report, he has passed a vote of confidence on these sometimes maligned institutions.

A Commission is much like a Trial-at-Bar – a specially constituted body that befits the seriousness of the task at hand. Justice will not be served without these particular institutions that can speed up processes and sometimes marshal resources that are not available to ordinary Courts.

A Trial-at-Bar sets the tempo for a Court procedure that will leave no stone unturned in seeking justice. Most of all, it signals intent. When a Special Bench for a Trial-at-Bar is constituted, it is clear that the hearing will be out of the ordinary.

The Bond Scam was out of the ordinary. So was the Easter Sunday attacks. Nothing in the previous ten years came close to these two events that called for a total overhaul of procedures and methodologies applied in matters of national security and regulation of Central Banking procedures.

Some have contended that the political trajectory was realigned as a result of the Easter Sunday attacks as the focus shifted toward national security. This assessment is not quite correct, as it was well-known that the State Intelligence apparatus and the military structure had come under severe pressure as a result of the misdirected policies of the then Government.

The Army had more than an inkling of this. The denigration of the Security Forces top command, and the shoddy treatment of the defence establishment – were there for all to see during those five years of misrule.

Who forgets that the disabled soldiers were sprayed with water cannon, because they had not been given their dues? Who forgets that the military felt constantly under threat, because our own Government was passing anti-Sri Lanka resolutions in Geneva?

The people had already understood that the State was under threat. They understood that the defence establishment had been so weakened that diehard LTTE remnants could have achieved what they could not through war, by other means.

Today, the military has been secured, the Intelligence establishment has been secured, but there is a dire need for accountability, a task of the Law Enforcement arm of the State.

Everything descended to chaos during the five years of the previous dispensation and the Bond Scam ran parallel to the deterioration of the defence establishment. The defence sector was in luck, for the simple reason that the people had a clear idea about what threats we underwent as a nation, and who was responsible for saving this country from terrorism.

In the financial sector, or in Central Banking, the governance structures are abstruse, and the subject matter far removed from our day-to-day experiences that ordinary people had no idea how correctives should be put in place. All they knew was that a colossal scam had taken place.

They had no idea who exactly was behind these misdoings, or how such calamities can be prevented. That is why the transparency with which the AG has announced a Trial-at-Bar and the media coverage of that development bodes well.

There is no Cardinal Ranjith that stands sentinel over the Bond Scam. This is not a matter connected to faith, and people didn’t die due to these financial misdeeds. But public opinion is no less severe about the Bond Scam. The people may not know the inner workings of a bond issue, but they are aware that major white collar financial brigands were involved, and enormous damage was done.

That is not entirely due to press coverage. The people are intuitive and there is a great deal of grapevine information. If the Cardinal is single minded about nailing down the Easter Sunday attackers, the people are equally determined about snaring the Bond Scam culprits. That is why the system is working, and through the AG’s Department they may finally see justice done, however improbable that may have appeared in the past.