The 2015 Committee of Inquiry which probed into the Welikada Prisons incident of November 2012 has recommended that six high ranking officials previously attached to the Ministry of Defence, the State Intelligence Service, the Prisons Department and the Sixth Gajaba Regiment of the Army be prosecuted under the Penal Code.
The Committee of Inquiry into the Welikada Prison Incident – 2012 (C.I.P.I.) has recommended charging six leading figures of the previous regime, under Section 162 of the Penal Code,……which deals with public officers who disobey the directions of the law with the intent of causing injury to persons or the Government. The group includes one official who is currently under remand custody over the matter and another who is currently being investigated as he has vacated his position without prior notice to his superior and has allegedly fled the country.
The C.I.P.I. thus recommended charging the relevant aforementioned Public Servants under Section 162 of the Penal Code, whereby public servants by way of their conduct disobeys the directions of the law in a manner which intends or knowingly causes injury to a person or the Government.
Conviction for the charge carries a term of simple imprisonment for a maximum of one year and/or a fine. Also, the C.I.P.I. noted that the aforementioned Officers owed a duty of care to the victims and that they were ideally positioned to foresee the catastrophic consequences of their acts of commission and omission.
The Welikada Prisons incident on 9 and 10 November 2012, a melee alternately described as a riot by the State and the Government, and a massacre by eyewitnesses, claimed the lives of 27 prisoners.
The C.I.P.I. was appointed on 22 January 2015, by former Minister of Justice, President’s Counsel Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and comprised of retired High Court Judge Wimal Nambuwasam, former SDIG Asoka Wijetilleka and retired Additional Secretary S.K. Liyanage. The prosecution was by Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara.
This is the second official inquiry that was called on the matter. The first inquiry was carried out in 2012 by a three Member Committee appointed by the then Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera, and Chaired by retired High Court Judge Bandula Atapattu.