Special Projects

Project for strengthening the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka by improving the efficacy of the Criminal Justice System through capacity building and enhancing the professionalism of the Officers of the Attorney General's Department.


On 10th January 2013, the United Nations Development Programme's Equal Access to Justice Project, implemented by the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, launched a new initiative aimed at strengthening the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka by enhancing the efficacy of the criminal justice system. The initiative which is supported with financial assistance from the United Kingdom, is currently engaged in the conduct of a series of awareness programmes aimed at further strengthening the knowledge and skills of approximately 85 officers of the Criminal Division of the Attorney General's Department.

Speaking during the launch of the project held at the Galadari Hotel, Honourable Palitha Fernando, PC, Attorney General, stated that, "People of this country look to the Attorney General's Department to ensure that perpetrators of crime are held to account. It is for that purpose that we have designed this programme, to see that the skills of the State Counsel are further developed, so that they can perform their duties with confidence." Expressing his thoughts, H. E. John Rankin, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom in Sri Lanka, noted that enhancing the capacity of officials of the Attorney General's Department can play a key role in further developing the stability of post-conflict Sri Lanka and rebuilding the court structures in the North and East. "If people, including Sri Lankans and investors, have confidence in the effective application of laws, the ability to prevent impunity and of equality before the law" this will increase the long term prosperity and stability of Sri Lanka," he added. As noted by Mrs. Malkanthi Wickramasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, "enhancing the capacity and professionalism of officers of the criminal division would also be an important step towards the effective implementation of recommendation 9.212 of the LLRC report" that proposes setting up units of the Attorney General's Department in the Provinces to guide and advise the police regarding criminal investigations, prosecutions and other matters touching upon the criminal justice system. In her address, the UNDP's Country Director, Ms. Razina Bilgrami, added that, moving forward, "UNDP hopes that the Project can be a key instrument of support to the Government in its implementation of the recommendations included in the National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and the Plan of Action for the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission Recommendations".

The presentations during the 5 awareness programmes of which 3 have been held so far are being delivered by senior and experienced in-house resource persons from the Attorney General's Department and cover the themes The concept of a Fair Trial; Conduct of lawful and procedurally correct trials in the High Court; Examination of Witnesses by Prosecutors; Effective Prosecution of cases of Murder; Effective Prosecution of cases involving Narcotics Offences, White Collar Crime, The Law , Ethics and Best Practices pertaining to the Institution of Criminal Proceedings; Effective Prosecution of cases of Rape, Grave Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment; Assessment of Testimonial Trustworthiness.

UNDP's Equal Access to Justice Project has been in operation since 2004 with an annual budget of approximately $1.5m. Working with a range of partners including the Ministry of Justice, Prisons Department, Registrar General, Judicial Services Commission, Bar Association, Legal Aid Commission and selected NGOs, the project's specific niche lies in supporting justice and related systems so that they work for those who are poor and disadvantaged.

Following the completion of the awareness programmes, 10 Manuals (each focusing on the respective themes) will be developed, to be used by State Counsel conducting prosecutions in the High Courts. The Manuals will contain scholarly articles and a compendium of cases.

Events

Hon Attorney General meeting with foreign and local dignitaries

Commencement of work for the year 2013

       

Welcoming Attorney General Palitha Fernando

     

Welcoming First Lady Attorney General Eva Wanasundera

   

His Excellency the President's visit to the Attorney General's Department - July 2011

 

Inauguration of the United Nations Development Programme's Equal Access to Justice Project on10th January 2013 and subsequent workshops

 

Celebrating 125th anniversary of the Attorney General's Department

Conference of Attorneys - General (Asia and Pacific Region) at Colombo to Commemorate One Hundred Years of the Attorney General's Department - 1984

   

Oppening of New Building in 1998

Farewell to Former Attorney General C.R. De Silva