Document Type

Working Paper

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This brief report, prepared for the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice and dated September 22, 2010, analyzes the state and the underlying causes of the current breakdown of the rule of law in Sri Lanka. The information herein is drawn primarily, while not exclusively, from three sources: Basil Fernando, Sri Lanka: Impunity, Criminal Justice & Human Rights (Asian Human Rights Commission: Hong Kong, 2010); Justice in retreat: A report on the independence of the legal profession and the rule of law in Sri Lanka (International Bar Association Human Rights Institute [IBAHRI]: London May 2009); Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, The Rule of Law in Decline in Sri Lanka- Study on the Prevalence, Determinants and Causes of Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims: Copenhagen, 2009). The Pinto-Jayawardena report provides a detailed analysis of the causes behind the breakdown of the rule of law in Sri Lanka, while Fernando’s work provides a conceptual and critical analysis of overarching themes that is extremely useful for understanding the situation in Sri Lanka. Facts and figures are also drawn from a wealth of other reports and analyses published by a range of actors, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, Reporters Without Borders, the International Crisis Group, United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteurs, the European Union, and the Office of War Crimes Issues of the United States Department of State.