Sri Lanka Parliament enacts witness protection law

Sri Lankan Parliament has passed the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Bill.

This bill aims at protecting the rights of criminal victims and witnesses especially in human rights accountability.

Key provisions of enacted law

  • Compensation to witnesses who cooperate with investigations.
  • Strict punitive action against those who harass victims or witnesses.
  • Stringent punishment of prison sentence from three to 10 years to the culprits.
  • Witnesses will receive fair treatment and privacy from judicial and investigatory authorities and protections against harassment.

Passage of this bill is seen as reflection of the Sri Lankan new government’s will to implement reforms. It also seeks to fulfill a long-held international demand for justice and human rights accountability in the country.

Background

  • Since 2012, for consecutive three  years Sri Lanka had faced US-backed UN Human Rights Council (UN-HRC) resolutions on Human rights accountability.
  • UN-HRC 2014  resolution also had mandated Sri Lanka to set up of an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses during the 3 decade-long civil war that wiped out the LTTE.

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Categories: International Current Affairs 2017

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