Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (1979), as amended to 1988, states:
15. (1) Every person who commits an offence under this Act shall be triable without a preliminary inquiry, on an indictment before a Judge of the High Court sitting alone without a jury or before the High Court at Bar by three Judges without a jury, as may be decided by the Chief Justice. The provisions of sections 450 and 451 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No. 15 of 1979, shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to the trial of offences under this Act by the High Court at Bar and to appeals from judgments, sentences and orders pronounced at any such trial held by the High Court at Bar. …
15A. (1) Where any person is on remand under the provisions of subsection (2) of section 15, or section 19 (a), notwithstanding any other provision of this Act or any other law, the Secretary to the Ministry of the Minister in charge of the subject of Defense may, if he is of [the] opinion that it is necessary or expedient … to do [so], in the interests of national security or public order, make Order, subject to such directions as may be given by the High Court to ensure a fair trial of such person, that such person be kept in the custody of any authority, in such place and subject to such conditions as may be determined by him having regard to such interests.
Sri Lanka’s Geneva Conventions Act (2006) reproduces the following provision from the 1949 Geneva Conventions I, II and IV:
In all circumstances, the accused persons shall benefit by safeguards of proper trial and defence, which shall not be less favourable than those provided by Article 105 and those following the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949.
The grave breach of “wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial” is also included as an indictable offence.
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, Sri Lanka stated in relation to persons alleged to have committed torture:
Article 7 [of the 1984 Convention against Torture] states that the standard of evidence required for the prosecution and conviction should be non discriminative and each person should be guaranteed of fair treatment at all stages of the proceedings. In Sri Lanka the standard of evidence required for the prosecution is governed by the Evidence Ordinance No. 14 of 1895 and the procedure to be followed in prosecution is laid out in the Code of Criminal Procedure No. 15 of 1979 of Sri Lanka. This legislation applied across the board for all persons, regardless of their nationality, race, religion or gender. This right to equality and equal protection before the law is guaranteed under article 12(1) of the Constitution. Further, the right to a fair trial is also guaranteed under article 13(3) of the Constitution.