Sri Lanka to start victim and witness protection

Oct 05, 2007 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government announced Thursday it will soon introduce regulations to protect and compensate victims and witnesses of crimes with the aim of improving the efficacy of the criminal justice system. Policy guidelines have already been prepared by the Attorney General that will help formulate a legal framework to provide necessary assistance and protection to the victims of crime and witnesses, Information Minister Anura Yapa said.

A national authority will be established to provide assistance and protection to victims and witnesses.

The police department will set up a separate division for victim and witness protection.

A fund will be established to compensate parties affected by a crime and a separate set of rights and entitlements for affected parties will be drawn up.

The move comes in the wake of concern over intimidation of and attacks on victims of crime and witnesses by sympathizers of the perpetrators.

The policy guidelines will also empower authorities to formulate penalties against criminals inflicting harm on crime victims or witnesses.

Crime has been on the rise in the island nation which has been affected by an ethnic conflict for over 20 years.

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