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Special Courts to clear backlog of 19,000 cases

Special Courts will be established to clear a backlog of around 19,000 cases related to violence against children and women, currently stuck at the Attorney General’s Department,Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorala said yesterday.

The Minister said she was planning to initiate this urgently and added that it will help government efforts at preventing and protecting children and women from all forms of violence, including sexual and physical abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The Minister also reiterated that three special courts will commence sittings from January next year, to hear special high profile cases. “The special courts will have a three-judge Bench. They will expedite hearings into some key cases,” the Minister said.

Minister Athukorala was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony to build a new courts complex at Matale town.

Highlighting the delays in hearing court cases, the Minister said, at times it takes 17 years to conclude a criminal case and 70 years for a partition-case.

The Minister said her ministry was currently studying the reasons for these delays and as a first step, has decided to appoint 30 new High Court Judges and recruit 100 more officers to the AG’s department. Athukorala also said that her ministry was planning to enhance the capacity of the courts around the country with better facilities, manpower and other necessary resources.