Practice Relating to Rule 128. Release and Return of Persons Deprived of Their Liberty
Section A. Release and return without delay
In 2010, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence issued a press release entitled “Release for 418 ex-combatants – Vavuniya”, which stated:
418 ex-combatants including 320 males and 98 females are to be released on Thursday (Sep[tember] 30) at the Pompemadu rehabilitation center in Vavuniya.
Deputy Minister for Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Vijithamuni Zoysa, speaking with defence.lk said that over 2,000 rehabilitated ex-combatants are to be released in October draining the numbers under rehabilitation to a mere 5000.
In 2011, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence issued a press release entitled “Half of ex LTTE cadres left custody – Rehabilitation Chief”, which stated:
Out of 11,696 former LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] combatants in custody, 5,586 have left rehabilitation centres after successfully completing comprehensive rehabilitation program.
Following rehabilitation 5,586 LTTE cadres have left rehabilitation centres since the end of the war. At the beginning rehabilitation centres held 11,696 LTTE combatants and directed them for various vocation trainings during their rehabilitation progr[a]m, Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, Brigadier Susantha Ranasinghe said.
Commissioner General of Rehabilitation said that only 4,761 remained in his care in centres in the Northern Province. The majority of them could be freed this year, he said, adding that those scheduled to be handed over to their families on Jan. 15 would be the first batch to be freed in 2011.
In 2011, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence issued a press release entitled “Another 106 ex-LTTE combatants released on Maha Shivarathri day”, which stated:
One hundred and six ex-combatants who successfully completed their rehabilitation period were released and handed over to their relatives to mark the Maha Shivarathri festival yesterday, (02 Mar).
4,500 similar ex-LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] combatants are undergoing rehabilitation. Most of them are the LTTE cadres who surrendered to the Army following the military annihilation of the LTTE.
During the last stages of the war with the LTTE rebels, the security forces detained 11,696 ex-combatants including 594 child soldiers. The government has so far reintegrated 5,764 ex-cadres who underwent an extensive rehabilitation program into the society.
In 2011, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence issued a press release entitled “More ex-LTTE cadres re-integrated soon”, which stated:
The next batch of ex-LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] combatants to be released will comprise males who are married and have children, said Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe.
The government reunited 106 ex-combatants who successfully completed their rehabilitation period with their relatives marking Maha Shivarathri festival (March 3).
The Commissioner stated that around 4,500 ex-LTTE combatants are currently undergoing rehabilitation. Most of them are LTTE cadres who surrendered to the Army following the defeat of the LTTE.
During the last stages of the war against terrorism, security forces detained 11,696 ex-LTTE cadres. The government has so far reintegrated 5,764 ex-cadres who underwent an extensive rehabilitation programme.
In 2011, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence issued a press release entitled “More rehabilitated LTTE cadres to be released”, which stated:
More rehabilitated LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] cadres will be released to mark the 2600th Sambuddathva Jayanthi anniversary.
Several rehabilitated LTTE cadres are to be released on the Vesak Poya Day, the Commissioner General said.
During the last phase of the humanitarian operation, 11,700 former LTTE cadres were surrendered to Sri Lankan security forces. So far 6,539 ex-rebel cadres have been released and further 4,360 are being rehabilitated in camps, according to the Commissioner General. …
According to Brigadier Ranasinghe there were only nine rehabilitation centres for ex-LTTE combatants at present, though there had been 24 at the inception.
In 2012, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence issued a press release entitled “Allow Sri Lanka’s efforts at reconciliation to proceed unimpeded – Minister Samarasinghe at UNHCR, ‘No justification or urgency for resolution to implement LLRC recommendations’”, which stated:
In the 2 years and 9 months since the end of the armed conflict against terrorism and the onset of peace, Sri Lanka has made significant progress towards recovery and achieving reconciliation, by incrementally overcoming many challenges posed to the nation and its people by almost 30 years of conflict. …
The number of persons in detention for suspected involvement in terrorist activity has been reduced to 225 out of a total of over 4,000. As many detainees as possible have been released or forwarded for rehabilitation and eventual release. The initiative to draw down the numbers commenced with the interim recommendations of the LLRC [Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission]. We are still investigating several cases and these persons will be tried before ordinary courts of law in the shortest possible space of time.
In 2012, Sri Lanka’s Government issued a press release entitled “75 more LTTE cadres to be reintegrated next month”, which stated:
Measures have been taken to release another 75 former LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] combatants who have successfully completed their rehabilitation programme.
Over 11,600 ex-LTTE cadres surrendered to the Sri Lankan security forces during the final stages of the war. They were being rehabilitated at the rehabilitation centers in Vavuniya.
The government had successfully re-integrated 10,490 ex- LTTE combatants, including 2,170 females into civil society following their rehabilitation.
The last remaining group of former LTTE cadres will be released by mid-2012 after providing them the mandatory 12 months training.
The government has spent Rs. 2.5 billion on the rehabilitation of ex-LTTE cadres since the conflict ended in May 2009.
In 2012, in its fifth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Sri Lanka stated:
28. The conclusion of the humanitarian operation on 19 May 2009 gave rise to several post-conflict challenges. The manner in which these challenges were met is outlined below.
29. Several significant measures were taken by the GoSL [Government of Sri Lanka] to protect the civil and political rights of those that were affected by the conflict with particular attention being paid to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
3. Rehabilitation and reintegration
52. … Due to the Government’s deep and abiding commitment to reconciliation and peace, the vast majority of cadres were rehabilitated and released to society in just two years.
53. These good intentions have also extended to the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] cadres who were arrested and detained at various stages for their involvement in terrorist activities. Out of the approximately 4,500 cadres who were arrested and detained since January 2006, more than 2,000 were released after ascertaining that their involvement in LTTE activities was at a very low level. A further 1,592 detainees were sent for rehabilitation as an alternative to prosecution, after being investigated and after preliminary court hearings. 40 suspected cadres have been acquitted by the Courts; 71 are currently in prison after having been found guilty as charged. All remaining cadres are either still under investigation or are being prosecuted under the law. Of these suspects, 268 are in remand custody pending further investigations and indictment. A further 365 are in judicial custody, and are awaiting trial after having been indicted. To speed up due process for these individuals and clear the backlog, a special High Court has been established in Mannar
, and the courts in Vavuniya
have also been allotted their cases.