He said that cabinet approval had been obtained to implement the death penalty on repeat offenders related to large scale drug offences.
Initially 19 convicts have been identified and the President is to sign the documents to implement the death penalty on them.
Senaratne said that there was a need to implement the death penalty to curb the spread of crimes related to drugs.
The cabinet spokesman said Sri Lanka is unlikely to face criticism from human rights groups for implementing the death penalty on a select few criminals.
At present the death sentence is issued by courts but the death penalty is not carried out and instead the convict is sentenced to life in prison.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) had in 2016 urged President Maithripala Sirisena to abolish the death penalty in Sri Lanka in keeping with Sri Lanka’s commitment to a more humane society consonant with human rights principles and values.
In a letter to the President, the Human Rights Commission had said in 2016 that the death penalty seriously violates several human rights including the right to life and freedom from cruel and inhuman punishment and is an extreme and irreversible punishment and is ineffective as a deterrent to crime. (Colombo Gazette)