The South Asian Centre for Legal Studies was founded with the objective of advancing Transitional Justice and the global rule of law in Sri Lanka.

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RT @isalassee: Fascinating research project by @kirstenainley and @MarkKersten on the impact of #hybridcourts https://t.co/L9mJsdvCbe
RT @CanHCSriLanka: @TransparencyMV @EyesAbroad @RightsGAC @SAPRILKA @MDN_mv @SDJF_lk @Hemanthig @generation_sl @CPASL @groundviews @ONURgov…
For more information about the #OMP Act see our FAQs in all three languages https://t.co/IodGthgPlS
The #OMP Act will be brought into operation with effect 15th September.
15th September as the date of OMP operationalization. https://t.co/wE2E9OWZnh #OMP #TJ #LK
RT @ThyagiR: #Zeid updates #HRC36 on human rights issues in 40 countries, including #SriLanka #lka @UNHumanRights https://t.co/p18bqx9vQn h…
Download our August Bulletin at: https://t.co/bqfq3dV3ZG #tj #lk https://t.co/tleJSbBQ36
SACLS' recommendations to amend victim and #witnessprotection Act : https://t.co/fyjMewXFmt #lka #sl #srilanka
RT @UN_DPA: .@antonioguterres's letter to #UNSC President on #Myanmar calls for concerted international efforts to prevent further escalati…
#Myanmar government restricts humanitarian access to affected areas amidst increased violence against #Rohingya https://t.co/9uwWzDOKgE
  • Call for Papers - “Assessing the Political, Social and Economic Impact of Prosecutions for International Crimes in Transitioning Societies”

    The South Asian Centre for Legal Studies will be hosting a conference on the title “Assessing the Political, Social and Economic Impact of Prosecutions for International Crimes in Transitioning Societies” in December 2017. The Conference will see paper presentations and quality discussions aimed at informing contemporary policy debates in the country about the long-term political, social and economic impact of prosecutions for international crimes. Applicants are invited to send in their proposals (500 words) with a summary biography to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 15 September 2017. Participation will be confirmed on 1 October 2017 (suitable proposals may be confirmed as soon as they come in). Papers may be co-authored by multiple individuals. International flights to, and accommodation in, Colombo will be covered by SACLS for a limited number of participants.Draft papers/ presentations must be submitted by 15 December 2017. An anthology of selected papers will be published before 1 June 2018. All papers will be peer reviewed before publication.

    For sub themes and more information please see the attachment

     

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In the media

நிலைமாறுகால நீதியை நிலைநாட்டுவதிலுள்ள சவால்கள்

08 April 2017
நிலைமாறுகால நீதியை நிலைநாட்டுவதிலுள்ள சவால்கள்

2009 ஆம் ஆண்டு யுத்தம் முடிவடைந்ததையடுத்து, யுத்தகாலத்தில் இடம்பெற்ற விடயங்கள் சம்பந்தமாக வகைப்பொறுப்பு கூறுவதற்கும் அத்துடன் நல்லிணக்கத்தை தோற்றுவிப்...

FORGETTING THE PAST: A WARNING

23 March 2017
FORGETTING THE PAST: A WARNING

On March 24th, human rights activists and victims’ groups worldwide will commemorate International Day for the Dignity of Victims, in honour of victim...

AUTONOMY AND DECENTRALIZATION WITHIN WITNESS PROTE...

17 March 2017
AUTONOMY AND DECENTRALIZATION WITHIN WITNESS PROTECTION ACTIVITIES: PART III

Organisational structures for witness protection Structurally, witness protection programmes could exist in a number of different forms. Countries oft...

OPERATIONAL MODELS FOR VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTI...

16 March 2017
OPERATIONAL MODELS FOR VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION WITHIN TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE: PART II

The previous article in this serial titled Contextualising Victim and Witness Protection for Transitional Justice discussed three key considerations w...

CONTEXTUALIZING VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION FOR...

14 March 2017
CONTEXTUALIZING VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION FOR TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE - PART I

Introduction Since the end of the war in 2009, Sri Lanka has been pushed to address issues relating to wartime accountability and reconciliation withi...

The problem with ‘justice as reconciliation’

22 February 2017
The problem with ‘justice as reconciliation’

Unless we evolve substantive way to talk about justice for atrocity crimes, the emotive aspects of the debate will continue to take precedence with ve...

உண்மையை கண்டறியும் ஆணைக்குழு: அரசாங்கம் முதன்மைப்ப...

18 February 2017
உண்மையை கண்டறியும் ஆணைக்குழு: அரசாங்கம் முதன்மைப்படுத்துவது நீதியை மறுப்பதற்காகவா?

ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் மனித உரிமைகள் பேரவையின் அமர்விற்கு இன்னமும் ஒரு மாதகாலத்திற்கு சற்றே அதிகமான காலப்பகுதியே இருக்கின்றது. இந்த அமர்வில் ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் மன...

நீதி இல்லாமல் நிலைமாறுகால நீதியா?

18 January 2017
நீதி இல்லாமல் நிலைமாறுகால நீதியா?

இலங்கை, நல்லாட்சி ​அரசாங்கத்தின் இரண்டாவது வருடத்தை கடந்துள்ள இத்தருணத்தில் மனிதர்களுக்கெதிரான அட்டூழியங்கள் நிறைந்த குற்றச்செயல்கள் சார்ந்ததாக வகைபொற...

Incorporating International Crimes into Sri Lankan...

22 September 2016
Incorporating International Crimes into Sri Lankan Law: The Need for Legislative Reform

 In a paper published recently, Eleanor Vermunt and I argued that international crimes must be incorporated into Sri Lankan law with retroactive...

සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්තිය | ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ජන මාධ්‍යයේ කාර...

07 May 2016
සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්තිය | ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ජන මාධ්‍යයේ කාර්යභාරය

සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්තිය සහ මාධ්‍ය පිළිබඳව කතා කරන විට, මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රධාන භූමිකා ද්විත්වයක් රඟ දක්වයි. පළමු අවස්ථාවේදී මාධ්‍ය යනු සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්ති ක්‍රියාවල...

Media and transitional justice in Sri Lanka: what...

21 April 2016
Media and transitional justice in Sri Lanka: what is the need of the hour?

The historic electoral defeat of President Mahinda Rajapaksa—an unabashed nationalist strongman—at the hands of President Maithripala Sirisena in Janu...

Questions of Haste, Urgency and Consultations in T...

20 April 2016
Questions of Haste, Urgency and Consultations in Transitional Justice

On a recent visit to the United States, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera made a revealing series of comments in response to a question at a forum...

« »

In the media

நிலைமாறுகால நீதியை நிலைநாட்டுவதிலுள்ள சவால்கள்

08 April 2017
நிலைமாறுகால நீதியை நிலைநாட்டுவதிலுள்ள சவால்கள்

2009 ஆம் ஆண்டு யுத்தம் முடிவடைந்ததையடுத்து, யுத்தகாலத்தில் இடம்பெற்ற விடயங்கள் சம்பந்தமாக வகைப்பொறுப்பு கூறுவதற்கும் அத்துடன் நல்லிணக்கத்தை தோற்றுவிப்...

FORGETTING THE PAST: A WARNING

23 March 2017
FORGETTING THE PAST: A WARNING

On March 24th, human rights activists and victims’ groups worldwide will commemorate International Day for the Dignity of Victims, in honour of victim...

AUTONOMY AND DECENTRALIZATION WITHIN WITNESS PROTE...

17 March 2017
AUTONOMY AND DECENTRALIZATION WITHIN WITNESS PROTECTION ACTIVITIES: PART III

Organisational structures for witness protection Structurally, witness protection programmes could exist in a number of different forms. Countries oft...

OPERATIONAL MODELS FOR VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTI...

16 March 2017
OPERATIONAL MODELS FOR VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION WITHIN TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE: PART II

The previous article in this serial titled Contextualising Victim and Witness Protection for Transitional Justice discussed three key considerations w...

CONTEXTUALIZING VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION FOR...

14 March 2017
CONTEXTUALIZING VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION FOR TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE - PART I

Introduction Since the end of the war in 2009, Sri Lanka has been pushed to address issues relating to wartime accountability and reconciliation withi...

The problem with ‘justice as reconciliation’

22 February 2017
The problem with ‘justice as reconciliation’

Unless we evolve substantive way to talk about justice for atrocity crimes, the emotive aspects of the debate will continue to take precedence with ve...

உண்மையை கண்டறியும் ஆணைக்குழு: அரசாங்கம் முதன்மைப்ப...

18 February 2017
உண்மையை கண்டறியும் ஆணைக்குழு: அரசாங்கம் முதன்மைப்படுத்துவது நீதியை மறுப்பதற்காகவா?

ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் மனித உரிமைகள் பேரவையின் அமர்விற்கு இன்னமும் ஒரு மாதகாலத்திற்கு சற்றே அதிகமான காலப்பகுதியே இருக்கின்றது. இந்த அமர்வில் ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் மன...

நீதி இல்லாமல் நிலைமாறுகால நீதியா?

18 January 2017
நீதி இல்லாமல் நிலைமாறுகால நீதியா?

இலங்கை, நல்லாட்சி ​அரசாங்கத்தின் இரண்டாவது வருடத்தை கடந்துள்ள இத்தருணத்தில் மனிதர்களுக்கெதிரான அட்டூழியங்கள் நிறைந்த குற்றச்செயல்கள் சார்ந்ததாக வகைபொற...

Incorporating International Crimes into Sri Lankan...

22 September 2016
Incorporating International Crimes into Sri Lankan Law: The Need for Legislative Reform

 In a paper published recently, Eleanor Vermunt and I argued that international crimes must be incorporated into Sri Lankan law with retroactive...

සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්තිය | ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ජන මාධ්‍යයේ කාර...

07 May 2016
සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්තිය | ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ජන මාධ්‍යයේ කාර්යභාරය

සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්තිය සහ මාධ්‍ය පිළිබඳව කතා කරන විට, මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රධාන භූමිකා ද්විත්වයක් රඟ දක්වයි. පළමු අවස්ථාවේදී මාධ්‍ය යනු සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්ති ක්‍රියාවල...

Media and transitional justice in Sri Lanka: what...

21 April 2016
Media and transitional justice in Sri Lanka: what is the need of the hour?

The historic electoral defeat of President Mahinda Rajapaksa—an unabashed nationalist strongman—at the hands of President Maithripala Sirisena in Janu...

Questions of Haste, Urgency and Consultations in T...

20 April 2016
Questions of Haste, Urgency and Consultations in Transitional Justice

On a recent visit to the United States, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera made a revealing series of comments in response to a question at a forum...

« »

In the media

நிலைமாறுகால நீதியை நிலைநாட்டுவதிலுள்ள சவால்கள்

08 April 2017
நிலைமாறுகால நீதியை நிலைநாட்டுவதிலுள்ள சவால்கள்

2009 ஆம் ஆண்டு யுத்தம் முடிவடைந்ததையடுத்து, யுத்தகாலத்தில் இடம்பெற்ற விடயங்கள் சம்பந்தமாக வகைப்பொறுப்பு கூறுவதற்கும் அத்துடன் நல்லிணக்கத்தை தோற்றுவிப்...

FORGETTING THE PAST: A WARNING

23 March 2017
FORGETTING THE PAST: A WARNING

On March 24th, human rights activists and victims’ groups worldwide will commemorate International Day for the Dignity of Victims, in honour of victim...

AUTONOMY AND DECENTRALIZATION WITHIN WITNESS PROTE...

17 March 2017
AUTONOMY AND DECENTRALIZATION WITHIN WITNESS PROTECTION ACTIVITIES: PART III

Organisational structures for witness protection Structurally, witness protection programmes could exist in a number of different forms. Countries oft...

OPERATIONAL MODELS FOR VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTI...

16 March 2017
OPERATIONAL MODELS FOR VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION WITHIN TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE: PART II

The previous article in this serial titled Contextualising Victim and Witness Protection for Transitional Justice discussed three key considerations w...

CONTEXTUALIZING VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION FOR...

14 March 2017
CONTEXTUALIZING VICTIM AND WITNESS PROTECTION FOR TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE - PART I

Introduction Since the end of the war in 2009, Sri Lanka has been pushed to address issues relating to wartime accountability and reconciliation withi...

The problem with ‘justice as reconciliation’

22 February 2017
The problem with ‘justice as reconciliation’

Unless we evolve substantive way to talk about justice for atrocity crimes, the emotive aspects of the debate will continue to take precedence with ve...

உண்மையை கண்டறியும் ஆணைக்குழு: அரசாங்கம் முதன்மைப்ப...

18 February 2017
உண்மையை கண்டறியும் ஆணைக்குழு: அரசாங்கம் முதன்மைப்படுத்துவது நீதியை மறுப்பதற்காகவா?

ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் மனித உரிமைகள் பேரவையின் அமர்விற்கு இன்னமும் ஒரு மாதகாலத்திற்கு சற்றே அதிகமான காலப்பகுதியே இருக்கின்றது. இந்த அமர்வில் ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் மன...

நீதி இல்லாமல் நிலைமாறுகால நீதியா?

18 January 2017
நீதி இல்லாமல் நிலைமாறுகால நீதியா?

இலங்கை, நல்லாட்சி ​அரசாங்கத்தின் இரண்டாவது வருடத்தை கடந்துள்ள இத்தருணத்தில் மனிதர்களுக்கெதிரான அட்டூழியங்கள் நிறைந்த குற்றச்செயல்கள் சார்ந்ததாக வகைபொற...

Incorporating International Crimes into Sri Lankan...

22 September 2016
Incorporating International Crimes into Sri Lankan Law: The Need for Legislative Reform

 In a paper published recently, Eleanor Vermunt and I argued that international crimes must be incorporated into Sri Lankan law with retroactive...

සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්තිය | ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ජන මාධ්‍යයේ කාර...

07 May 2016
සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්තිය | ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ජන මාධ්‍යයේ කාර්යභාරය

සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්තිය සහ මාධ්‍ය පිළිබඳව කතා කරන විට, මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රධාන භූමිකා ද්විත්වයක් රඟ දක්වයි. පළමු අවස්ථාවේදී මාධ්‍ය යනු සංක්‍රාන්ති යුක්ති ක්‍රියාවල...

Media and transitional justice in Sri Lanka: what...

21 April 2016
Media and transitional justice in Sri Lanka: what is the need of the hour?

The historic electoral defeat of President Mahinda Rajapaksa—an unabashed nationalist strongman—at the hands of President Maithripala Sirisena in Janu...

Questions of Haste, Urgency and Consultations in T...

20 April 2016
Questions of Haste, Urgency and Consultations in Transitional Justice

On a recent visit to the United States, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera made a revealing series of comments in response to a question at a forum...

« »
In the Media

With the commemoration of international women’s day this week, we must remember that the transitional justice agenda, which was in many countries advanced by courageous and resilient women activists, must be situated within a broader human rights framework. The CEDAW report, also published this week, reminds us of the need for a rights-based approach to transitional justice. By including recommendations pertaining to transitional justice as part of its examination of Sri Lanka’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the report is a reminder that the ultimate goal of transitional justice must be to reform and dismantle structures of oppression that gave rise or sustained violence and ultimately restore the rule of law and human rights for all.

The CEDAW report echoes many of the demands conveyed for years by women activists. These include the reform of discriminating personal laws, increased gender representativeness in public institutions, as well as prevention and repression of gender based and domestic violence, to list of few. The report also dedicates two sets of recommendations to issues pertaining to the broader transitional justice agenda. Besides emphasizing the importance of over 50% women’s representation in transitional justice mechanisms, the Committee notably recommends international participation of judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers in the accountability mechanism. It also emphasizes the need to amend the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses Act to bring it in line with international standards. Furthermore, the Committee examines the issue of conflict related sexual and gender-based violence against women. In particular, in its recommendations, the report highlights the need to implement a zero-tolerance policy for sexual violence perpetrated by the army and the police, and to reinforce national investigative and prosecutorial capacities and witness and victims’ protection and support.

More broadly, the Committee notes the inadequacy of law enforcement’s response to sexual and gender-based violence including domestic violence. In this respect, it recommends the establishment of a special unit in the Attorney General’s Department to expedite the handling of cases of sexual violence. In fact, the creation of such a special unit could lead to increased gender sensitiveness in investigations and prosecutions of sexual crimes. Interestingly, during the consultations carried out by Women Action Network in preparation of SACLS’ report “A Gendered Approach to Transitional Justice”, women made a similar recommendation with respect to the proposed Special Court. However, international experience shows that the creation of a special unit dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes within a Special Court focusing on international crimes could be counterproductive. This is because sexual and gender-based violence against women as underlying acts of war crimes and crimes against humanity interrelate with other international crimes. Therefore, a streamlined approach to investigations and prosecutions better serves the interest of women victims. In light of this, gender balance in the staffing of the Special Court is all the more important. Ultimately, a special mechanism—whether a special unit for sexual crimes within the AG’s Department or a Special Court dedicated to international crimes including sexual and gender-based crimes—will be essential in setting standards for the handling of sexual and gender-based violence cases.

Published in Blog