ICCPR Case Digest




Submission: 2011.10.31

View Adopted: 2021.07.02

Dodanpegamage Asantha Aravinda v Sri Lanka

Ill-treatment suffered during arrest and detention violate prohibition on torture/ill-treatment, arbitrary detention

Substantive Issues
  • Arbitrary detention
  • Effective remedy
  • Lack of proper investigation
  • Non-discrimination
  • Torture / ill-treatment
Relevant Articles
  • Article 2 - OP1
  • Article 2.3
  • Article 26
  • Article 5.2 (b) - OP1
  • Article 7
  • Article 9
Full Text


The author is a national of Sri Lanka who claims that the State party violated his rights under articles 7, 9, and 26, read alone and in conjunction with article 2(3) of the Covenant. The author and a friend were arrested and detained following a collision between their motorbike and a truck; the author alleges that during his arrest, the police subjected him to treatment contrary to article 7 of the Covenant (including being beaten and having acid poured on his face by the driver of the truck, as well as being denied prompt and adequate medical care). He further contends that his arrest and subsequent detention were arbitrary, as he was deprived of his right to have the lawfulness of his detention reviewed by a court (contrary to article 9(4) of the Covenant), and was not immediately informed of the reasons for his arrest (contrary to article 9(1) and (2) of the Covenant). Further, the author claims that his ill-treatment while in police custody amounted to unlawfully differential treatment in violation of article 26 of the Covenant, based on discriminatory grounds (his prisoner status). Lastly, the author claims that the State party failed to provide him with a prompt, independent, and impartial investigation of his allegations of torture, in violation of his article 2(3) rights (read in conjunction with articles 7, 9, and 26 of the Covenant). The State party failed to cooperate with the Committee.


The Committee found the communication partially admissible on the following grounds: (i) the Committee was not precluded under article 5 (2) (a) or (b) of the Optional Protocol from being seized of the complaint, and (ii) the author had sufficiently substantiated his claim under articles 7 and 9, taken alone and in conjunction with article 2(3) of the Covenant. The author’s claim under article 26 was found to be inadmissible for failure to properly substantiate it.


The Committee found a violation of the author’s rights under articles 7 and 9, read alone and in conjunction with article 2(3) of the Covenant. It found that the author’s claims regarding the treatment he suffered at the hands of police officers were credible, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary being submitted by the State party. Further, in the absence of clarification from the State party as to the grounds for the author’s detention, the Committee found that the author’s arrest and detention violated article 9 of the Covenant. Lastly, the Committee held that the State party’s failure to ensure the author’s right to an effective remedy under article 2(3) had been violated, as in the 13 years since the initial incident, no-one had been brought to justice for the author’s ill-treatment.


The State party is obliged to: provide the author with an effective remedy, including by conducting a thorough, impartial, independent and effective investigation; prosecute, try, and punish those responsible; provide adequate compensation and measures of satisfaction to the author for violations suffered. The State party is also obliged to take steps to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.


January 2, 2022

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