By Dianne Silva
British Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox, speaking to reporters this evening after meeting Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, said that General Sarath Fonseka should be tried in a civil court where transparency will be paramount.
“It is my strong view that the General should be tried in a civil court where the charges against him can be tested through all the vigor that the law can muster,” Fox said.
The UK MP stressed that the transparency of a civil court would build confidence within both the local and international community on the jurisprudence of the process. “Transparency will enable both the domestic population and the international community to have confidence in the judicial process,” he said.
Fox articulated the damage the Fonseka situation could have on the reputation of Sri Lanka. “The situation surrounding General Fonseka threatens to damage Sri Lanka’s reputation. At a crucial time of this country’s future it cannot afford to have the trail of such a senior military officer portrayed, as an act of revenge,” he said.
However the MP explained that no country had the right to pass judgment on the actions of Sri Lanka. “It is not for an outside country or body to say who should or should not be prosecuted. But how trails are conducted will determine how the country is perceived abroad. The law must not only be applied fairly but it must be seen to be applied fairly,” Fox said.
He went on to reiterate the need for Sri Lanka to maintain her standing on the international stage. “Reputation means a great deal and this is a country that deserves a high reputation. I hope that all the politicians in this country will work towards this goal,” the MP said.
The UK MP was in the country to initiate a new fund for the development of social infrastructure. “Infrastructure requires money- that is why I have brought plans with me to create a new fund to help provide basic social infrastructure that the country will need; if the end of the violence is to develop into a sustainable peace,” he said.