Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said last Tuesday that no one should be above the law, including members of the police or armed forces. This follows a widely publicized incident last week in Sri Lanka: two youths were arrested by the police on August 12 and their bullet-ridden bodies were discovered the next day. The killings sparked public anger and riots against the police. Several police officers have since been arrested in connection with the murders.
I dearly hope justice is done in this case and the killers held accountable. But there remain thousands of cases of human rights violations by the Sri Lankan security forces, including the police, where no one has been prosecuted or convicted. The recent Amnesty International report on presidential commissions of inquiry in Sri Lanka details the government’s failure to deliver justice for serious human rights violations for decades. I hope President Rajapaksa’s recent statement will lead to a serious, sustained effort by the Sri Lankan government to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice at last. The ongoing impunity enjoyed by the security forces for past violations must end.