ICJ paper on Sri Lanka’s mass detention of LTTE Suspects

Although the conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended in May 2009, the GoSL continues to detain approximately eight thousand individuals under administrative detention without charge or trial.  “Beyond Lawful Constraints: Sri Lanka’s Mass Detention of LTTE Suspects” addresses the human rights concerns arising from the world’s largest mass detention of persons held in connection with an internal armed conflict. The ICJ is concerned that the GoSL’s “surrendee” and “rehabilitation” regime fails to adhere to international law and standards, amounting to an arbitrary deprivation of liberty and denial of the right to a fair trial.

Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week stopped short of explicitly calling for the Geneva Conventions to be changed. The president said Sri Lankans had faced the “atrocities of terrorism” for decades, and that the country lost nearly 100,000 lives. It was therefore, he said, worth examining the capacity of international humanitarian law to meet today’s needs.

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