Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses | Sunday Observer

Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses

In 2016, Sri Lanka established the National Authority for the Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses as an initial step towards giving effect to international standards and best practices through which the rights of victims of crime and witnesses will be protected. The agency was empowered by the

Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, No. 04 of 2015. However, since then, the organisation has failed to gain the confidence of those it was set up to protect.

Relating his experience with the NAPVCW, Journalist and a witness in the Welikada Prison Massacre case, Kasun Pussawela claimed that it was less than satisfactory. The author of ‘12-11-10 Welikada’ which details the horrors which took place in the Welikada Prison was forced to lodge a complaint with the authority after the main suspect in the case Inspector Neomal Rangajeewa, formerly of the Police Narcotics Bureau had acted in an intimidating manner towards him, witnesses of the case and their families, especially on social media after he was released on bail by the Court of Appeal on September 26.

“I lodged a complaint with them on December 27” he noted adding that he only received a response back on January 6. Even then it merely claimed his complaint has been forwarded to the relevant department for threat analysis. Thereafter, Pussawela received the copy of another written communication dated January 31 in which the Director of Law and Enforcement of the Authority directs the Director of the Protection Unit to analyse the threat and see if Pussawela can be provided with security.

Not having heard anything since Pussawela says anything could have happened to him in the meantime. “By the time they decide to take action, the threats made against victims of crime and witnesses could have been already carried out” he noted questioning the purpose of the inactive organization’s existence.