Changes to Criminal Procedure Code to not impose death penalty on minors in Sri Lanka.

The Cabinet of Ministers has given the approval to amend Section 281 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which refers to ‘punishment of detention in lieu of death for persons under eighteen years of age.’

Section 281 states; “Where any person convicted of an offence punishable with death, appears to the court to be under the age of sixteen years, the court shall pronounce on that person in lieu of the sentence of death the sentence provided by section 53 of the Penal Code.”

In a statement, the government said necessary steps have been taken to amend Article 53 of the Penal Code to not impose or record the death penalty against anyone under the age of 18 years at the time of the offence, in the opinion of the court. Article 53 also notes that the death penalty could be replaced by detention as long as the President wishes.

However, Section 281 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act does not provide for the imposition of the death penalty on an individual aged below 18 years at the time of the offence, the statement pointed out.

Thereby, the need to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure Act to remove the existing uncertainty has been identified.

During its meeting held on Monday, the Cabinet of Ministers gave the nod to the proposal tabled by the Justice Minister to make the necessary amendments.


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