Committee on amnesties reports finding
[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 February 1999, 20:02 GMT]
The Committee, appointed by the President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunge, to inquire into and report on necessary changes in policy with regard to granting of general amnesties, has recommended that the policy with regard to commutation of death sentences, remissions in respect of unpaid fines and camp remissions should remain unchanged.
The Committee headed by the Attorney General, Sarath N.Silva, has also recommended that general amnesties should be granted only once a year-i.e., for Independence Day.The other members of the committee were Supreme Court Judge, Shiranee Bandaranaike, Commissioner-General of Prisons, K.W.E.Karaliyadde and Senior Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Mrs.K.de Silva.
The recommendations have been forwarded to the President who is empowered by Article 34(1) of the constitution to grant a pardon, respite, substitution of less severe sentence or remission of the whole or part of any punishment or penalty imposed or forfeiture due in respect of a sentence imposed upon conviction for any offence in the Republic.
Until recently, the practice had evolved of granting general amnesties in respect of those convicted of offences and serving sentences in prisons.
Amnesties were granted in respect of Independence Day, Vesak, Ramzan, Deepavali, Christmas day,the anniversary of swearing in of the President and other special occasions.
Minister of Justice, Constitutional Affairs, Professor G.L.Peiris announced this today at the Cabinet press briefing at the auditorium of the People's Bank Training Centre.
Military spokesman Brigadier Sunil Tennekon said that during the last week 63 Liberation Tigers and three soldiers were killed in fighting. 11 soldiers and 11 Tigers were also injured, he added.