CHRD’s strength is based on its field presence and legal assistance and all activities carried out since inception are designed to be victim/civic centered. CHRD carries out all its activities according to the strategic plan outlined for every three years.
Almost 20 years since established, CHRD is currently the leading organization providing free legal services to the political prisoners detained under PTA. CHRD commenced its services by providing legal aid to political detainees, legal representation on behalf of aggrieved parties in landmark cases and legal intervention in ‘disappearance’ cases on behalf of the ‘disappeared’ victims’ families.
Having taken up over 750 cases, it does not mean that CHRD would end up serving just 750 clients; the Legal Assistance as a whole comprise referrals, advocacy, dialogue, prison visits, monitoring trends and patterns, case studies, awareness raising, legal clinics, welfare of detainees, and sensitization of lawyers. It must be mentioned that although the success rate in litigations seems to be significantly small, there’s a larger impact.
CHRD has a panel of lawyers in various districts who are committed to take up cases of human rights violations regardless of the risks it poses; whereas many others opt to take up civil cases which is very much financially rewarding.
CHRD deals with litigations through advocacy and dialogue. For instance, 9 of 17 High Court cases which were transferred from Jaffna (where the detainees were more likely to receive a fair hearing, as trials were conducted in the Tamil language) to Anuradhapura, were re-transferred to Jaffna as a result of CHRD’s file transfer applications made before the Court of Appeal and advocacy directed at the Attorney General’s Department.
CHRD has also taken up high profile cases contributing immensely in the investigation of abuse by state forces and police. Some of the high profile cases dealt with during the war and in the post war period include torture, rape and death in custody, prison riots, massacres, mass graves, and disappearances.
Namely, Kokkaddicholai massacre, Mirisuvil Massacre, Bindunuwewa Rehabilitation camp massacre, Kumarapuram massacre, Allapiddy mass killings, Kalutara prison riots, Vavuniya prison attacks, Chemmani massgrave, Thambalakamam massgrave, and Thiruketheeswaram massgrave.
After 15 long years the Mirusuvil massacre case comes to a significant end on June 25, 2015 when the Colombo High Court found Army Sergeant Sunil Ratnayaka guilty and sentenced him to death for killing 8 civilians in Mirusuvil, Jaffna in 2000.
Another significant turn of event was during a hearing in February 2016 on writ applications filed on behalf of the families of the disappeared in 2013, the Mullaitivu Magistrate ordered the commander of the 58 division of the Army to submit to the court before April 19, 2016 a list of LTTE cadres and others who surrendered to the security forces during the final stages of the war. The commander of the 58 division informed the court that a list of those surrendered to the security forces was available at the Mullaitivu Camp. Attorney appearing on behalf of the families said this was the first time the government or the army made a statement of the surrender of LTTE cadre. After failing to submit a list on the said date, the army commander failed to show in court the following date. The case is postponed to July.
It is with deep sense of disappointment, regret and anguish that the Board of Governors of the Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD) is constrained to issue this statement in respect of the proceedings in the Magistrates Court of Muthur concerning the cases of three underage school girls who were sexually abused by construction workers at a building site in Muthur.Continue reading
Six former army corporals charged with killing 24 civilians in the Kumarapuram massacre were found not guilty of their charges when the verdict was delivered by the jury....Continue reading
Since 2013, CHRD has been filing writ applications in various courts in the Northern province on behalf of the family members of the following names who had disappeared.....Continue reading
Balendran Jeyakumari (B/4002/08/2014) was arrested along with her 13 year old daughter Balendran Vibushika in Kilinochchi, on March 13, 2014 on suspicion of harbouring a suspect in a shooting......Continue reading
After 15 long years the Mirusuvil massacre case comes to a significant end on June 25, 2015 when the Colombo High Court found Army Sergeant Sunil Ratnayakawith guilty and sentenced him to death for killing 8 civilians in Mirusuvil, Jaffna in 2000......Continue reading
On December 20, 2013 construction workers of the National Water Supply and Drainage were digging trenches to lay water pipes adjacent Thiruketheeswaram Temple, Mannar when they discovered skeletal remains which was reported to the Police and then to the MC Mannar. ......Continue reading
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