BF: So, in other words, the use of torture is a matter of accepted unofficial policy?SC:
Some sort of accepted unofficial policy, but I am sure that sort of policy is losing ground. Iam sure this idea, which is in the back of the heads of our judges, lawyers, and senior policeofficers, is losing ground and I hope the day will come when the idea does not exist anymore because it is brutal. By modern standards it is brutal to commit torture and I hope the day willdawn when the idea is eliminated totally from our lawyers and judges.
BF: What is obvious in this large number of cases is that torture is committed in relationto trivial matters.SC:
Of course, that’s correct.
BF: So doesn't that demonstrate that there is no real idea of criminal investigationinvolved? Does this have anything to do with our criminal procedure?SC:
Criminal procedure, yes, but I would say it’s also about the numbers. For instance, a policeofficer, the OIC [Officer-in-Charge] of the area, has to show the number of cases that have beeninvestigated and that he was able to catch the perpetrators in very many of them, put them before the court and say, I have done my job. If he admits that he could not catch the culprits invery many cases then he looks bad from the point of view of his superior officers. So he has toshow results. Whether they are convicted or not is a different matter, but he must at least beable to tell his superiors that he has been able to do an investigation, catch the peopleresponsible for crimes, and bring them before the court. Of course he will try to go one better by torturing to get at various types of evidence like the weapon used and so on and so forth.Statements made to the police under torture, both under Indian law and our law, cannot beadmitted in court, especially if it is a confession.So that is also part of the problem: the numbers, police officers having to show numbers totheir superiors; successful investigations.BF: Now, you see that the possibility of changing the attitude towards torture largely dependson how much of a modern jurisprudential approach is present among the judges and the legal profession. In terms of that, how do you assess the situation in Sri Lanka?SC: The situation in Sri Lanka is of course not at all geared towards changing the mindsets of lawyers and judges. I think things should change, beginning with law school in the universitiesand the law colleges; there must be an awareness of the extent of torture, such as by publications like what you have just done, documenting all that could happen in a policestation. If anyone goes through the documents you have published, 401 cases, they would tendto change their attitudes. Especially because lawyers are coming from a certain class, they don'tcome from the class of people who undergo torture. But they must be made aware that there aresuch people. It can be brought home to them only by this type of publication. And I think in thefuture, also as you suggested, there must be a mechanism of monitoring, recording and