The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has urged the government of Sri Lanka to provide full reparations to the victims, establish the truth, and ensure justice in light of the Supreme Court verdict on the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings.
“This judgment marks a step in the victims’ struggle for recognition of the harm suffered and their rights to truth, justice, and reparation, despite the fact that no amount of compensation can ever erase the suffering and pain of victims and their families.
In a statement released on Wednesday, January 18, the OHCHR stated, “The UN Human Rights Office calls on the Government to ensure that victims receive adequate compensation and that they and their representatives are fully consulted in the disbursement of the funds.”
The United Nations has repeatedly demanded an independent investigation into the Islamist terrorist attacks and justice for Easter victims.
Several parties, including the Catholic Church, have claimed that a politically motivated “grand conspiracy” was behind the bombings in Sri Lanka, despite the lack of evidence to support their claims. However, the authorities have established that prior intelligence was not utilized.
The victims of the Easter Sunday bombings, which resulted in the deaths of 269 people, were required to receive compensation in the amount of 311 million rupees, which is approximately 850,000 US dollars, by former President Maithripala Sirisena, four other senior officials in the fields. of defense and intelligence, and the state. The order was issued on January 12.
The Catholic Church of Sri Lanka applauded the unprecedented verdict and anticipates criminal proceedings against some respondents.
bishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, said on January 13 that he was “very happy” with the verdict and hoped that it would herald the beginning of a new era in which everyone is equal before the law and no politician or public official is above the law.
The OHCHR noted in its statement that the Supreme Court had previously determined that due to the immunity he enjoys while in office, proceedings against incumbent President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was Prime Minister at the time of the attacks, could not continue.
According to the UN’s statement, “in its judgment, the Court expressed “shock and dismay” at the lack of “oversight and inaction” by the officials in charge of security and intelligence – ruling that the former President and his top security officials had failed to prevent the attacks, despite detailed intelligence suggesting such attacks were imminent.”
It continued, “The UN Human Rights Office reiterates its recommendations to the Government of Sri Lanka to release the complete findings of previous inquiries into the Easter Sunday bombings, to establish a follow-up independent, thorough, and transparent investigation with international assistance, the full participation of victims and their representatives, and to hold all those responsible fully accountable.”
As compensation, the court ordered former President Sirisena to pay 100 million rupees, former police chief Pujith Jayasundara, former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena, 50 million rupees, former Defense Ministry Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, and former Chief of National Intelligence ( CNI) Sisira Mendis.
In addition, the state was ordered to compensate the victims with one million rupees.
The archbishop’s representative, President’s Counsel Shamil Perera, stated that he anticipates that the Attorney General will initiate criminal proceedings against former Sirisena, Jayawardena, and Mendis as soon as possible.
In a fervent campaign, the prelate has been fighting for the families of the victims to receive justice. The church has made it clear that the attack was the result of a political plot. He openly criticized the government of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on multiple occasions for what he claimed was its sluggishness and lack of interest in investigating the case.
Cardinal Ranjith stated that the church will not give up the fight until the perpetrators of the attack are brought to justice, despite the fact that the church is satisfied with the outcome of the Supreme Court case. He asserted that there can be true justice only after a thorough investigation has been complicated.
“This is a crucial step on the way to discovering that truth.”