South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Amid pressure from certain world powers including the United States to address accountability, the government assured the international community last week that the witness protection Bill would be made a law soon.

On the sidelines of the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights (UNHRC) Council, a governmental delegation held a side event with representatives of various diplomatic missions in Geneva, international organizations including the Amnesty International and LTTE fronts such as the Global Tamil Forum and the Tamil Centre for Human Rights.

At that meeting, the Amnesty International in particular raised concerns about investigations into various issues.

In response to some of those remarks, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem assured that the proposed witness protection bill would be enacted in Parliament soon. The bill seeks to ensure the credibility of evidence to be extracted from witnesses through video conferencing.

When evidence is recorded from witnesses through video conferencing, there can be concerns about the credibility of such information. The witnesses can be influenced by someone in the background when evidence is being given through video conferencing from a different location.

The proposed law will address such issues, and it will enable the authorities concerned to take measures to ensure the credulity of information n to be extracted.

Also, the bill will provide for a new methodology under the provisions of the bill to facilitate witnesses in difference contexts.

The government first introduced this bill in Parliament in June, 2008, and later it was referred for further discussion after a debate. Currently, the Legal Draftsman’s Department is adding finishing touches to the bill to be enacted.

Source: Daily Mirror ( – 3/5/2012