The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) yesterday asked Sri Lanka to set up a mechanism in the country to prosecute those caught trafficking drugs in the high seas, it is learnt.
UNODC officials said though ships with narcotics were captured in the high seas, the offenders could not be punished as there was no Jurisdiction vested in any country to try them. They said, the captured narcotics were dumped in the sea and the offenders set free. The UN said it had no deterrent effect.
The two officials- Alan Cole and Shanaka Jayasekar - met Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday at his office and asked him to set up a system in Sri Lanka to try such offenders as in Seychelles where those involved in piracy in international waters are tried.
“Drug traffickers always repeat the offence and the drug trade is thriving, causing great harm to the people. But with regard to piracy there is a model system in operation where pirates are caught in the Indian Ocean and taken to Seychelles and prosecuted,” they said.
However, Minister Hakeem had replied that this involved a policy decision by the Government and also extensive consultation between relevant stake holders including the Department of Immigration and Emigration, the Attorney General’s Department and Police Department.(Kelum Bandara)