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» » New laws against enforced disappearances

The Government is planning to enact a separate Bill in Parliament to deal with incidents of enforced disappearances, Daily Mirror learns.

For this purpose, the Penal Code will be amended to make enforced disappearance a criminal offence warranting serious punishment.

A committee appointed by Justice Ministry Secretary Kamilini de Silva is studying the proposed amendments as recommended in the National Human Rights Action Plan.  

Ministry sources said the amendments would be introduced in Parliament in the form of a new Bill soon.

They said the present law did not adequately cover situations where the body of an abducted person was not found.

“In those cases, there are problems in identifying culprits and determining punishments.  But, we will now seek to deal with such situations.  The new Bill, if enacted, will enable the authorities to initiate proper legal action even in situations where bodies of those abducted are not found,” the sources said.

International organisations have urged the government to take action in this regard.  Several cases of disappearances were reported during the time of the conflict.

Meanwhile, steps are being taken to speed up litigation against hardcore LTTE cadres arrested during the war.  Two separate high courts have been set up in Vavuniya and Mannar to hear such cases. Another special court is expected to be established in Anuradhapura.  The Ministry has sought to increase the cadre of high court judges as the existing number is not enough.

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