Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has ordered former President Maithripala Sirisena, four other officials and the State to pay compensation totalling 311 million rupees to victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings that killed 269 people.
In a verdict issued Thursday January 12 morning, the country’s apex court held that ex President Sirisena pay a sum of 100 million rupees, former police chief Pujith Jayasundara and former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena 75 million rupees each, former Defence Ministry Secretary Hemasiri Fernando 50 million rupees and former Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) Sisira Mendis 10 million rupees as compensation.
The State was also ordered to pay one million rupees as compensation to the victims.
The court held that a Victim Fund be established at the Office for Reparation which must formulate a scheme to “award the sums ordered as compensation in a fair and equitable manner to the victims and families”.
“The State and the individual
The Office for Reparation must also investigate the alleged underpayment and nonpayment with regard to the cabinet decision taken to compensate the victims, the court said.
“We also direct the Office for Reparations to invite any generous benefactors and donors to contribute towards the Victim Fund, by way of notifications in the media,” it said, ordering a progress report on the scheme of payment and the details about payments made by the respondents and any benefactor within six months.
“In view of the observations we have already made as regards the conduct of Director, SIS, we direct that the State take appropriate disciplinary action forthwith against the former Director, SIS Nilantha Jayawardena for his aforesaid lapses and failures.”
The verdict was issued upon hearing a case filed against Sirisena and other senior state officials for allegedly failing to prevent the April 2019 bombings which injured over 500 people despite receiving intelligence ahead of the attack.
Twelve petitions had been filed by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), families of the victims, members of the Catholic clergy and others. (Colombo/Jan12/2023
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