The UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of judges and lawyers Diego Garcia-Sayan, expressed concern that over the lack of equal representation of minority groups in prosecution services and the police force at the 35th session of the United Nations Human Rights council.
Quoting his predecessor, Monico Pinto’s, report on Sri Lanka, he said,
“Problems related to language are very serious and have very serious effect on justice and on the likelihood of obtaining a fair process if you belong to the Tamil community.”
Mr Sayan noted that victims were often coerced into pleading guilty adding that,
“Defendants were made to believe they could get a lighter sentence when pleading guilty, which was not always the case. The special Rapporteur is alarmed by this practice, which seems to demonstrate a disregard for the interests for justice.”
The report also expressed concern over the dragging and delay of cases, noting,
“Such delays clearly amount to denial of justice, which especially affects the lives of victims, their families and persons deprived of their liberty.”
The report added,
“Bold steps need to be taken, as a sign of the authorities’ commitment to address the atrocities of the past and, above all, the structures that allowed such atrocities to happen. It is important to remember that justice must not merely be done, but must also be seen to be done”
Ms Pinto visited Sri Lanka from April 29 to May 7 last year.
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