Crime & Justice

Sri Lanka Supreme Court orders ex-president to compensate for 2019 attacks

Colombo, Jan 12 (EFE).- The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka ordered Thursday former President Maithripala Sirisena and four other former senior officials to compensate the victims of the 2019 Easter Bombings that left 269 dead and several hundreds wounded.

Sirisena, former defense secretary Hemasiri Fernando, former Police Inspector General Pujith Jayasundara, former head of national intelligence Sisira Mendis, and former head of state intelligence Nilantha Jayawardena were found guilty by the apex court of failing to prevent the attacks despite having information from the intelligence services.

The Supreme Court thus condemned the former president to pay 100 million Sri Lankan rupees ($273,334), Jayasundara and Jayawardena 75 million each ($205,000), Fernando 50 million ($136,667) and Mendis 10 million Sri Lankan rupees ($27,333).

“The State is ordered to pay Rs 1 million as compensation. The State and the individual respondents named above must make their payment of compensation to the victim fund maintained at the Office for Reparation. Respondents are directed to pay the aforesaid sums out of their personal funds,” the verdict read.

The court also ordered the establishment of a Victim Fund at the Office for Reparation and the award of compensation in a “fair and equitable manner” to victims and their families.

The judgment is seen as a “significant moment” in the struggle for justice for the Easter Sunday attacks, human rights activist Ruki Fernando told EFE.

“It is an acknowledgment by the country’s highest court of the pain, grief, and harm to survivors, victims’ families, and all those affected,” he said, adding that the move recognizes the importance of holding senior state officials accountable.

“Sadly, the sums (they have to pay) are low, given large numbers killed and injured and others affected in various ways, their diverse long-term needs, the seriousness of crimes, and amounts awarded to individuals whose rights were violated in other cases,” he said.

In the 2019 Easter bombings, in which several attackers simultaneously struck three churches and three luxury hotels, leaving behind 269 people dead, including 45 children, and more than 400 wounded.

These attacks were claimed by the terror group Islamic State (IS) and perpetrated by the local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamaat. EFE


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