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Sri Lanka: Proposal to Raise Minimum Age of Criminal Liability

(May 23, 2016) It was announced on May 19, 2016, that the Cabinet of ministers of Sri Lanka has approved a proposal to amend the country’s Penal Code, to change the age of criminal responsibility. (Sri Lanka to Amend Penal Code to Increase Minimum Age for Criminal Responsibility, COLOMBO PAGE (May 19, 2016).) At present, […]

Sri Lanka: Criticism of Ongoing Use of Torture

(May 13, 2016) In a statement following a nine-day trip to Sri Lanka, Juan E. Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, claimed that criminal and terrorism investigators in Sri Lanka still use torture against detainees, even though the use has declined since the end of the country’s civil war seven years ago. While […]

Sri Lanka: Electronic Media Authority Being Considered

(Apr. 26, 2016) Sri Lanka’s government is considering establishing an independent body that would regulate electronic media. The authority would be empowered and required to investigate complaints made against electronic media. The authority would be created with the input of media stakeholders; government officials noted that the body would not be designed to control media […]

Sri Lanka: Plans to Accede to Landmine Treaty

(Mar. 7, 2016) Sri Lanka’s Cabinet ministers, meeting on March 3, 2016, approved the country’s accession to the Land Mine Convention, also known as the Ottawa Convention, which bans the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of anti-personnel mines. Sri Lanka will be the 163rd country to become a State Party to the Convention.  (Sri Lanka […]

Sri Lanka: Prime Minister Comments on Constitutional Revision Plan

(Jan. 25, 2016) Speaking on January 17, 2016, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, stated that a new Constitution now being planned will not change the unitary structure of the nation. He discounted rumors that the country would be divided and asserted that he wants the country to be united, attributing the reports […]

Sri Lanka: Human Rights Commission Recommends Ending Death Penalty

(Jan. 6, 2016) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) recently recommended in a letter to the country’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, that Sri Lanka take two related steps: ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and abolish the death penalty in domestic legislation. The letter was also […]

Sri Lanka: Committee to Draft New Constitution

(Oct. 23, 2015) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka has appointed a committee to make recommendations for a new Constitution for the country. In addition to officials from the Department of Legal Draftsman (an agency in the Ministry of Justice), the committee includes legal scholars, officials from the parliamentary staff, and legislative representatives. (Sri […]

Sri Lanka: Update on War Crimes Investigation Proposal

(Sept. 24, 2015) On September 22, 2015, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka, speaking to the legislature, rejected the recommendation from the United Nations that there be international involvement in the investigation into the war crimes that allegedly occurred during the country’s civil war or that there be established any form of hybrid domestic […]

Sri Lanka: Proposal to Establish Truth and Reconciliation Commission

(Sept. 16, 2015) On September 14, 2015, Sri Lanka’s government announced a plan to establish a Commission for Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Non-Recurrence to handle cases related to the atrocities that occurred during the country’s 26-year-long civil war. According to Foreign Minister Mangala Samarawera, the Commission will be modeled after the one established in South […]

Sri Lanka: Biometric Passports Become Standard

(Aug. 12, 2015) Based on a rule effective August 10, 2015, all passports newly issued by Sri Lanka will contain fingerprints as biometric markers. Existing passports will remain usable, however. The goal is to meet international standards and, according to Immigration and Emigration Controller, General Nihal Ranasinghe, the inclusion of fingerprints will increase the efficacy […]