Practice Relating to Rule 151. Individual Responsibility
Section A. Individual criminal responsibility
Sri Lanka’s Geneva Conventions Act (2006) states:
2. (1) Any person, whether a citizen of Sri Lanka or not, who within or outside Sri Lanka –
(a) commits or attempts to commit; or
(b) aids, abets, conspires or procures the commission by any other person of, a grave breach in terms of the relevant Articles of the [1949 Geneva] Conventions as are set out in Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III and Schedule IV to this Act and are also enumerated in subsection (2) of this section,
shall be guilty of an offence.
3. Subject to the provisions of section 6, every prosecution for an offence in terms of section 2 shall be by way of direct indictment filed by the Attorney-General.
In 2008, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Sri Lanka stated:
93. … [T]he IGP [Inspector General of Police] [has been requested] to assign special police officers to investigate children in “custody” who have been recruited or abducted for use in armed conflict. …
114. … A new regulation incorporating child friendly procedures for … child surrendees has been drafted.
115. The current procedure which applies to “surrendees” is as follows:
(e) The “surrendee” may be investigated after three months of his being assigned to a centre, with the prior written approval of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence for his involvement in the commission of an offence set out in paragraph 2 of the Regulation and where necessary, tried for such offence. Where a surrendee is found guilty of such offence the court may take into consideration the fact of his surrender in determining the sentence to be imposed on him. The court may[,] where appropriate, order that such surrendee be subject to a further period of rehabilitation at a centre.
[T]here is still a lack of accountability for violations of international law committed against children in armed conflict. The fight against impunity and assuring the victims’ access to justice are crucial. … Individual responsibility must be upheld and this means that all perpetrators must be held accountable and punished accordingly, regardless of their status or capacity.