Practice Relating to Rule 123. Recording and Notification of Personal Details of Persons Deprived of Their Liberty
Sri Lanka’s Prisons Ordinance (1878), as amended to 2005, states:
94. (1) The Minister may from time to time make all such rules, not inconsistent with this Ordinance or any other written law relating to prisons, as may be necessary for the administration of the prisons in Sri Lanka and for carrying out or giving effect to the provisions and principles of this Ordinance.
(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers, the Minister may make rules for all or any of the following purposes or matters:–
(a) … the taking of measurements, photographs, finger-prints, footprints or other records, of prisoners, including particulars of the previous history of any such prisoners;
(b) the persons, if any, to whom such measurements, photographs, finger-prints, foot-prints or other records may be sent or supplied.
This article applies to persons deprived of their liberty under Sri Lanka’s Emergency Regulations (2005) pursuant to section 19 of these regulations.
Sri Lanka’s Emergency Regulations (2005), as amended to 2008, states:
SUPERVISION, SEARCH, ARREST AND DETENTION
(9) Where any person is taken into custody under the provisions of this regulation it shall be the duty of the arresting officer to issue to the spouse, father, mother, or any other close relative a document in such form as is specified by the Secretary, acknowledging the fact of arrest. It shall be the duty of the holder of such document to return the same to, or produce the same before, the appropriate authority when such arrested person is released from custody:
Provided that where any person is taken into custody and it is not possible to issue a document as set out above, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer if such officer is a police officer, to make an entry in the information book, giving reasons why it is not possible to issue such documents, and if the arresting officer is a member of the armed forces, to report to the officer in charge of the police station the reasons why it is not possible to issue such documents and the officer in charge shall make an entry of such fact along with the reasons therefore in the information book.
(10) Where any person without reasonable cause fails to issue a document acknowledging the fact of arrest as required by paragraph (9) or willfully omits to make such entry as is referred to in the proviso to that paragraph or to report the fact that the document was not issued and the reasons therefore, he shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction after trial before the High Court be liable to a term of imprisonment extending to two years and a fine.
Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism (Surrendees Care and Rehabilitation) Regulations (2011) states:
(3) Where a person under eighteen years of age –
(a) who … has been forcibly recruited as a combatant in an armed conflict … or
(b) who has committed or is suspected of having committed an offence during any period in which he … was forcibly recruited as a combatant in an armed conflict … or
(c) who through fear of threats or reprisals by any party to the said armed conflict, or who through fear of … being forcibly recruited as a combatant in an armed conflict …
surrenders to, or is arrested by, any police officer or any member of the armed forces or surrenders to any public officer or any other person or body of persons authorized by the President in that behalf, such police officer or member of the armed forces or public officer or other person or body of person authorized by the President, shall record the statement of such child surrendee and the circumstances in which such child surrendee surrendered or was arrested.
13. (1) Where the child surrendee has surrendered to or has been arrested by, the police, or has been produced at the police station by any member of the armed forces or by any pub[lic] officer or any person or body of persons authorized by the President, the officer in charge of such police station shall forthwith take all measures to inform the parents or guardian of such child surrendee, the Probation Officer and the Co-ordinator of the National Child Protection Authority for such area, of the fact of such surrender[.]
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, Sri Lanka stated:
17. “Directions Issued by the President Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defence” on 7 July 2006 … [state] that
… any officer who makes an arrest or order of detention must, according to the above Directives, within 48 hours from the time of arrest or detention, inform the HRC [National Human Rights Council of Sri Lanka] of such arrest or detention and the place of custody or detention. …
32 The Supreme Court on 22 September 2008 issued an order to the effect that when a person is taken into police custody their relatives should be informed promptly and a receipt of arrest issued.
82. The officer in charge of the police station has to forthwith take all measures to inform the parents or guardians of such child the Probation Officer and the Co-ordinator of the National Child Protection Authority of such area.
Sri Lanka also stated:
32. The Sri Lanka Police have in place the necessary arrangements for the HRC Officers to visit the places of detention to look into the welfare of the suspects. The names and details of suspects arrested under the Emergency Regulations are provided regularly to the HRC. Accordingly the Police Legal Division coordinates and inform[s] all the details to the HRC.
33. The … [Directions Issued by the President Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defence on 7 July 2006] also [take] measures to regulate arrests:
(a) [The Directions] [require] the person making the arrest … to present a written documentation to the spouse, parent or relative acknowledging the fact of arrest;
(b) The name and rank of the arresting officer, the name and date of arrest and the place at which the person will be detained should be specified in this document;
(c) If such written documentation cannot be made, a note should be made in the Information Book of the relevant Police Station indicating why it was not possible to issue such documentation.
[footnote in original omitted]
In 2012, in a section entitled “Theme area: Human Rights” of its National Plan of Action to Implement the Recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, which also includes a section entitled “Theme area: International Humanitarian Law Issues”, Sri Lanka’s Government stated:
9.63 – Create a centralized comprehensive database containing a list of detainees, which should be made available to the next of kin with names, place [of] detention as well as record of transfers[.]
(1) Publish a list of names of those in detention.
The present database to be enhanced with easy access to information being available to NOK [next of kin].
1. Continue current practice of informing next of kin regarding location of detainee …
2. Examine and report on the practical application of such a procedure and its feasibility.
In 2012, in its fifth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Sri Lanka stated:
42. Remarkable progress has … been made with regard to the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants. The Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation was established to oversee the rehabilitation and reintegration of nearly 12,000 ex-LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] combatants.
44. A database of all the cadres in detention was created and released. Information was made available on a round-the-clock basis to the spouses, children, parents and siblings of the detainees through the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) in Colombo, and TID units in Vavuniya and Galle.