Sarma v. Sri Lanka

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Effective Remedy | Admissibility | Relatives as Victims

Themes: Characteristics of the Crime | Related Crimes

The Committee held that acts of enforced disappearance pose a threat to the right to life and constitute a violation of several rights enshrined in the Covenant, including the right to liberty and security of the person, the right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the right of all persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and with respect for their inherent dignity.

Judgment Date

July 16, 2003

Country

Sri Lanka

Judicial Body

Human Rights Committee

Articles violated

Article 7 [ICCPR], Article 9 [ICCPR]

Articles not violated / not dealt with

Article 6 [ICCPR], Article 10 [ICCPR], Article 17 [ICCPR]

Facts of the Case

Mr. J. Thevaraja Sarma was abducted by Sri Lankan Army members on 23 June 1990. He has remained unaccounted for since then. The family’s evidence showed that he was suspected of being a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Mr. Sarma was taken into military custody where he was allegedly tortured, hooded and forced to identify other suspects. In May 1991, the victim's mother was told that he was dead. The victim’s father claimed that he had seen his son by accident on 9 October 1991, in a military van, with identified license plate. Mr. Sarma was accompanied by an identified army star class officer. In March 1993, the military advised that the victim had never been taken into custody.

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