No Decision On Death Penalty
By Waruni Karunarathne
The Justice Ministry says no decision has been taken on converting the death penalty to life imprisonment.
When contacted by The Sunday Leader, Secretary to the Ministry of Justice Kamalini de Silva said the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) had submitted a set of recommendations calling for the conversion of the death penalty to life imprisonment.
The Commissioner of the HRCSL told The Sunday Leader that the HRCSL has identified the existence of the death penalty as a burning issue and has made recommendations for its abolition. He added that the HRCSL recommended converting the death penalty to life imprisonment.
He added that even though the death penalty has not been implemented since 1976, the mere existence of the death sentence without implementing the penalty is a mental torture to those who are sentenced to death.
Therefore the HRCSL has recommended that the Government looks into the possibility of ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 which is aimed at abolishing the death penalty. According to him, many countries have already abolished the death penalty.
Secretary to the Ministry of Justice Kamalini de Silva said that the intention of the HRCSL is to welcome a public debate on the death penalty. She added that once the subject of the death penalty is taken up by the public and depending on people’s reactions, the issue will be evaluated by the Ministry of Justice.