The Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe assured justice for all the victims of the 2019 Easter bombings in which a total of 270 people, including 11 Indians were killed. He said that the legal proceedings are being processed independently, impartially, without any influence.
The President pledged his unwavering commitment to ensuring the security of the country by preventing any recurrence of heinous acts. On 21st April 2019, nine suicide bombers belonging to the local Islamist extremist group National Thaweed Jamaat (NTJ) were linked to ISIS. They carried out a series of blasts that damaged three churches and several luxury hotels in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan government is fully dedicated and has realized the aspirations of all Sri Lankans regardless of their race, religion, party, or color these Easter Sunday bombings triggered a political storm as former President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe were blamed for their inability to prevent attacks despite any prior intelligence being made available.
Supreme Court in Sri Lanka on Jan 12 ordered Sirisena to pay SLR 100 million to the victims. The former President stressed that the attack took place without his prior knowledge, and anyone stated no warnings. Twelve petitioners, including the kin of the victims, the Catholic Clergy, and the lawyer's body Bar Association of Sri Lanka, filled the fundamental rights petition against the then President for his negligence in preventing the attacks.
A panel of inquiry appointed by Sirisena after the attacks ironically found him guilty of his failure to prevent the attacks Sirisena, however, pleaded that he was not guilty to the charge in the case filed after the panel's findings. Twelve petitioners, including the kin of the victims, the Catholic Clergy, and the lawyer's body Bar Association of Sri Lanka, filled the fundamental rights petition against the then President for his negligence in preventing the attacks.
Head of the local Catholic Church, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, continued to express his dissatisfaction over the probe, claiming that the investigation was a cover-up. However, we all must unite on a common agenda that elevates us beyond narrow political objectives and regressive trends and instead paves the way for the country toward progress. Let us all connect and work for a brighter future for Sri Lanka.
I know that the extreme pain caused by the Easter Sunday attack is still fresh in your mind, and I share that pain. I wish to reassure you that the legal proceedings related to this tragic incident are being processed independently and impartially, without any influence. The necessary groundwork towards this end has been laid to ensure justice for all the victims.
As we face these challenges, let us draw strength from the spirit of Easter and its message of hope and renewal. May the Easter celebration bless the country with wisdom, positivity, and spiritual strength to overcome all its challenges. I extend my heartfelt wishes to all those celebrating the resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ, a meaningful and peaceful Easter.
He further stressed that Sri Lankans need to unite on a common agenda that goes beyond narrow political objectives and regressive trends and instead paves the way for the country toward progress. Meanwhile, Anti-government protesters in thousands in Sri Lanka on Saturday stormed into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence in central Colombo’s high-security Fort area after breaking the barricades, as they demanded his resignation over the island nation’s worst economic crisis in recent memory.
"Protesters have broken into the private residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and have set it on fire," said the Lankan Prime Minister's Office. Protesters who climbed the walls of the President’s House are now occupying it without damaging any property or indulging in acts of violence. He noted there appears to be evidence of a cover-up, pointing to the removal of several key investigators from the case.
“There is also a kind of an eyewash lawsuit that has been brought against about 25 members of the so-called terrorist experts movement. But those charges are very surface level,” said Fr. Perera, adding that law believe that a case of 23,000 charges can never be credibly brought to trial.
The Supreme Court’s conviction opens further civil litigation in courts in other countries since 45 foreign nationals were killed in the attacks. Fr. Perera said the families of these victims could sue Sri Lankan officials for compensation in their home countries based on this conviction.
The Church is also pursuing the additional legal option of requesting an UN-backed international investigation. Fr. Perera recently presented the Sri Lankan Church’s case at the 52nd United Nations Human Rights Council, held in Geneva from 27 February to 4 April. Speaking as a representative of Franciscan International, an NGO with General Consultative Status at the UN, Fr. Perera said Sri Lankan courts have delivered no criminal convictions for the masterminds of the attacks, and he called on the UN to invoke universal jurisdiction in the case to investigate the bombings.
"Winning a case is a job and a half," said Fr. Perera. "Then again, at the international level, it will be even more difficult. But I think this is our Christian calling. And in our prophetic role, I believe we must do it.” Fr. Perera noted that violence frequently precedes elections in Sri Lanka, alleging that politicians use killings to fire up their bases. "In Sri Lanka, this kind of thing—murders, people being killed—has happened all these years and they have been swept under the carpet," he said. "Whenever there is an election, this kind of thing is part and parcel of the political campaigning."
Edited by -
Whitney Edna Ibe
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