SL Parliament begins debate on Witness Protection Bill

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 June 2008, 04:28 GMT]
Ruling and opposition parties in Sri Lanka's parliament Tuesday agreed to debate the Assistance and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Bill. The Minister of Justice Amarasiri Dodangoda presented the Bill, parliamentary sources said.

Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister for Human Rights and Disaster Management, said the Bill should be taken up for debate as it recognizes the rights and entitlements of victims of crime and witnesses.

Parliamentarians of the main opposition United National Party (UNP)said that they would support the Bill on condition that the bill should include amendments suggested by the Supreme Court and other political parties.

R.Sampanthan, Trincomalee district parliamentarian of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), said the government had brought the Bill to satisfy the international community.

Sri Lanka's President, Mahinda Rajapakse, referred the Bill to the Supreme Court for urgent consideration. The Supreme Court, after review, sent the Bill back to the Speaker stating that the bill was consistent with the Constitution but suggested some minor amendments.


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