SRI LANKA:The case of Chamila Bandara, HC Kandy 231 of 2005 — The matter of the serving of the indictment on the accused

July 7, 2006

An open letter to the Inter Ministerial Committee on Human Rights

The Inter Ministerial Committee on Human Rights
Thro- Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe
Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights
Parliamentary Complex
Colombo 1

July 6, 2006

Dear Sirs,

SRI LANKA: The case of Chamila Bandara, HC Kandy 231 of 2005 — The matter of the serving of the indictment on the accused — despite the serving of indictments the three accused officers continue to hold their positions in the police service.

We have learned from the newspapers that your committee is trying to introduce a new culture of human rights.  We are glad to hear this and if this is true you need to be congratulated.

We are writing this to bring to your notice that within the law of Sri Lanka any civil servant indicted in a court of law should be interdicted from his employment until the matter in the court is finally decided.  Some steps were taken in the past years to implement this and we hope within the new culture the legal provision on this matter will be strictly enforced.  However, we need to inform you that despite of making representation to the Inspector General of Police and other legal authorities the police officers in the aforementioned case are still serving in their respective posts.

We hope you will take appropriate action to honour your words of “a culture of human rights” by respecting the basic legal provisions on this issue.

Such respect is also an essential component of the protection of witnesses.  We are also glad the Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights has also spoken about the importance of witness protection in his speech to the Human Rights Council.

Details of the case are as follows:

The case was called before the Kandy High Court on the 7 June 2006 and the indictments were served on three police officers whose names are given below.  They were charged with committing an offence under Act No. 22 of 1994 (Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Act).  The names of the accused police officers are:

M.W.C. Uvindasiri (Inspector of Police and presently OIC Traffic Kandy)
W.M. Seneviratnes Banda (Sub Inspector of Police the home address of whom is, Wasaloakotwa, Welikanda, Alawathugoda)
T.G. Premasiri (Police Sergeant – 8804, the home address of whom is, 2 Wanaraniya, Raththota, presently attached to Police Narcotics Bureau)

Continuation of these officers in state employment while after High Court indictments have been served is contrary to law.  Further they will also be in a position to tamper with witnesses and intimidate or harass the victims.  We draw your attention to the murder of Gerald Perera who was assassinated while he was waiting to give evidence before the High Court in a similar charge.  Therefore we urge that appropriate action be taken to interdict the police officers and to provide protection to the victim and his family.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

John Sloan
PS to Executive Director


UN Rapporteur against Torture
The CAT Committee
Document Type : Open Letter
Document ID : AHRC-OL-028-2006
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Administration of justice, Corruption, Judicial system, Police violence, Rule of law,