Narrative of Justice in Sri Lanka
The Failure of the Complaints System
The reason for such arrests lies in the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the complaint system. Firstly, complaints give rise to opportunities for the police to make social, political or financial gains, by means of bribery or extortion of the victims. If victims fail to pay these bribes, they may be tortured. There are numerous complaints made by citizens regarding crimes and disputes that the police are unable to resolve by way of competent criminal justice enquiries. The inaction of the police leads to a rise in public pressure which the police counter by randomly selecting people, usually from those of less privileged socio-economic statuses, as perpetrators of these crimes. These unsuspecting people rightly deny their involvement in the crime in question, and torture is used to force them to sign confessions written by police officers. There may be occasions in which the police are able to determine who the true offender is, but these offenders are often well-experienced in the art of bargaining with the police and maneuvering the criminal justice system, and are thereby kept from their rightful punishments.
The Loss of Command Responsibility
The use of police torture has become endemic to the criminal justice system in Sri Lanka today, but it has been a problem since the establishment of the criminal justice system in colonial times. The most striking difference between the torture that took place then and that which takes place now is the pervasiveness of state-sponsored violence today. In the past, there were controls placed on the police from the high-ranking officers, from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to the Senior Superintendents of Police, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) as well as the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of each police station, to ensure professional integrity at each level of the system. These controls, which served to maintain professionalism and efficiency within police stations, have been dissolved.
Compiled in June 2012 by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), 575 pages. Language: English
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