Guidelines to formulate fresh laws | Sunday Observer
Six-member committee to study PCoI report

Guidelines to formulate fresh laws

7 March, 2021

Chief Government Whip and Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando said the mandate of the six-member ministerial Committee appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to study the final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on the Easter Sunday attacks is to provide guidelines to the relevant ministries to formulate fresh laws and amend some of the existing laws.

The Minister said it is not the task of the Committee to punish the Easter Sunday culprits or provide instructions to the Attorney General.

The PCoI report has already been submitted to the Attorney General to initiate legal action while further investigations are being conducted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID).

However, certain laws of some ministries need to be amended while fresh laws should be introduced.

Therefore, the mandate given to the six-member Committee headed by Minister Chamal Rajapaksa is to provide guidelines to effect changes in those areas, the Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

Minister Fernando who is also a member of the six-member Committee said neither the President nor the Government will defend any culprits of the Easter Sunday carnage. We have a President, a Prime Minister and a responsible Government that will implement the law to the letter.

“Today, it is the very same people who appointed the PCoI that say it has ignored the masterminds behind the Easter Sunday attacks. Actually, that allegation should have been levelled by us. However, the allegation is being levelled by the politicians of the former Yahapalana Government who provided room to kill hundreds of innocent people in multiple terror attacks on Easter Sunday”.

The Minister said it was the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and Christian MPs in the Government and Opposition of the former Parliament that called for the appointment of an independent Commission to probe the Easter Sunday attacks as they didn’t have any trust in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed by the Yahapalana Government.

He said the former Government appointed some parliamentarians as members of the PSC who had even taken photographs with the terrorists and maintained direct links with them. That is why yet another PCoI was appointed to probe the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Minister said after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed office, a large number of those who had links to the Easter Sunday terror attacks have been arrested. Now they are under detention orders at the TID and CID.

However, legal action against them was not initiated until the final report of the PCoI was released.

He said the Sectorial Oversight on National Security appointed by the former Government has also made certain recommendations. The six-member Committee will take into consideration some of those vital recommendations as well.

Minister Fernando said some existing laws in the education sector have to be abolished while new laws need to be introduced.

The PCoI and even the Sectorial Oversight Committee on National Security have recommended that certain syllabus in the education sector has paved the way to teach and promote terrorism. We have to ban such things and introduce new laws to the education sector.

The Committee will also recommend introducing new legislation on defence and to regulate the functions of the NGOs as some of them fund terrorist organisations. Therefore, our Committee will provide all instructions to formulate fresh laws and amend certain existing laws.