Attempts underway to introduce Witness Protection Bill
[TamilNet, Monday, 05 May 2008, 12:16 GMT]
Witness Protection Bill is likely to be forwarded to the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament this week by the Supreme Court with few amendments. The Bill titled "Assistance and Protection to the Victims of Crime and Witnesses" came up before a three member bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Shiranee Thilakawardene, Salim Marsook and Andrew Somawanse last week to determine its constitutionality. The Bill was referred to the Supreme Court by the government through the Attorney General in the national interest in terms of Article 122 (1) of the Constitution, legal sources said.
The bench heard the submission of the Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Yasantha Kottegoda on behalf of the Attorney General that the Bill set out the rights and entitlements of victims of crime and witnesses and provided for a mechanism to promote, protect, enforce and exercise such rights and entitlement.
DSG further submitted to court that the Bill provided for the payment of compensation to victims of crime and enabled victims of crime to obtain compensation from persons convicted of having committed offences against them. It also provides for obtaining redress by victims of crime including restitution, reparation and rehabilitation of such victims and that they are treated with equality, fairness and with respect for their dignity and privacy.
The SC suggested to the DSG a few amendments to the Bill before it before it was forwarded to the Speaker of the parliament, legal sources said.