Witnesses and victims in Sri Lanka cannot rely on the state for protection, a report by the International Truth and Justice Project has found.
In the report ‘Putting the Wolf to Guard the Sheep’, ITJPSL underline that the Sri Lankan government has made three concerning appointments to a witness protection body, including alleged perpetrators of torture.
“Appointing figures to a witness protection body who could one day find themselves on trial for serious crimes like torture, is akin to putting wolves to guard the sheep. This raises serious concerns about the good faith of the Government to deliver on its international commitments and its promises of justice to its own people,” the report states in its executive summary.
“Nobody testifying against the state or security forces should expect witness protection under the current system,” said ITJP’s Executive Director, Yasmin Sooka, “quite the reverse –they would risk their lives if they asked for protection from the state; these appointments clearly show the new Government’s aim is to protect the perpetrators”.
“These appointments are in clear contravention of Sri Lanka’s commitment to vet public and security officials, made in the UN resolution it co-sponsored in 2015,” said Ms Sooka.