Easter Sunday carnage: Criminal proceedings against Sirisena demanded By Norman Palihawadana and Shamindra Ferdinando

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*P CoI faulted for not making specific recommendation against Ranil

*Criminal liability of CNI and SIS Chief highlighted

*Respond within month or face the consequences

The National Catholic Committee for Justice has urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry

(PCoI) in respect of the then President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the leader of the SLFP and the then Prime Minister and the leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday (13) briefed the media at the Archbishop House, Borella, as regards steps taken by the committee to pressure the government to carry out the PCoI recommendations. The Archbishop faulted the SLPP administration for its failure to implement the PCoI recommendations five months after receiving it.

President Sirisena appointed the PCoI in the run-up to the last presidential election. His successor Gotabaya Rajapaksa retained the same commission.

An 18-page report sent to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, dealing with specific alleged lapses on the part of the incumbent government, was released by the Cardinal to the media yesterday.

Referring to the PCoI report (PCoI Final Report Vol. 1, p 265), the Cardinal asked why the government had refrained from initiating criminal proceedings against Sirisena under suitable provision in the Penal Code. SLFP leader Sirisena now represents the ruling SLPP in Parliament. The SLFP with 14-member parliamentary group is the second largest constituent of the incumbent government.

Cardinal Ranjith also found fault with the PCoI for failing to make specific recommendation in respect of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, though it recognised his role in facilitating Islamic extremism. Referring to PCoI assessment of PM Wickremesinghe’s soft approach towards Islamic extremism that paved the way for the Easter Sunday carnage (P CoI Final Report Vol 1, p 276-277), the Cardinal said that they couldn’t comprehend why specific recommendation was not made. Wickremesinghe recently re-entered parliament on the UNP’s National List slot.

The PCoI comprised Supreme Court Judge Janak de Silva, Court of Appeal Judge Nishshanka Bandula Karunaratne, retired Supreme Court Judges Nihal Sunil Rajapaksha and A.L. Bandula Kumara Atapattu and former Secretary to the Ministry of Justice W.M.M.R. Adhikari. H.M.P. Buwaneka Herath functioned as the Secretary to the P CoI.

Cardinal said that Wickremesinghe’s lax approach and irresponsible attitude should have been thoroughly investigated.

The Cardinal on behalf of the National Catholic Committee for Justice declared that unless the government responded positively within a month, they would be compelled to resort to other means obtain justice.

The signatries to report sent to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa are Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Bishop Harold Anthony Perera, Bishop Devsritha Valence Mendis, Bishop Raymond Wickramasinghe, Bishop Maxwell Granville Silva, Bishop J.D. Anthony Jayakody, Bishop P. Anton Ranjith, Very Rev Fr Francis Nicholas Senanayake, Very Rev Fr. Daya A. Shelton Welikadarachchi, Very Rev Fr. S. Bertam Ranjith, Very Rev. Fr. Jayantha Sylvester Ranasinghe, Very Rev Fr. Ciswan De Croos, Very Rev Fr. Nihan Ivan Perera, Very Rev Fr. Shantha Sagara Hettiarachchi, Very Rev Fr. Manokumaran Nagaratnam, Very. Rev Fr. Jude Freely Muthukudarachchi, Rev. Fr Cyril Gamini Fernando, Rev Fr. C.A. Cecil Joy Evangelist Perera, Rev. Fr Camillus Fernando, Rev. Fr. Lawrence Ramanayake, Rev. Fr. Dilan Fernando SSS, Rev. Fr. Mahendra D.P. Goonetilleke, Rev Fr. Lal Pushpadeva OMI, Rev. Fr. Deninton N. S. Subasinghe, Very Rev Fr. Jude Samantha Kumara Fernando, Rev. Fr Gihan T. Perera, Rev Fr. Claude Nishantha Nonis, Rev Fr L.P. Lalith Perera, Rev. Fr. Anton Jude Raj Fernando, Rev. Fr. H. Lakshman Srilal Fonseka, Rev. Fr. Manjula Niroshan Fernando, Rev. Fr. Anton Gihan Nalin Gunetilleke, Rev Fr. W.D. Jude Chrysantha Fernando, and Rev. Fr. P.A.D. Joseph Indika.

 Noting that legal action has been initiated against the then Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernndo over his failure to thwart the Easter Sunday bombings, the Catholic Church asked why action hadn’t been taken in respect of the then Chief of National Intelligence retired DIG Sisira Mendis and Director of State Intelligence Service Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena. The Church pointed out that the PCoI had recommended that the Attorney General should consider criminal proceedings against Mendis and Jayawardena under any suitable provision in the Penal Code.

The Church stressed that the P CoI made the recommendation on the basis that the available evidence indicated that there was criminal liability on the part of both Mendis and Jayewardena.

It pointed out that P CoI recommendation in respect of the then Senior DIG Western Province Nandana Munasinghe (criminal liability), DIG Colombo North Deshabandu Tennakoon (disciplinary inquiry), SP Colombo North Sanjeewa Bandara (criminal liability), SP Chandana Atukorale (criminal liability), Director Western Province Intelligence Division B.E.I. Prasanna (criminal liability), ASP S. Kumara (disciplinary inquiry), Acting OIC, Fort Chief Inspector R.M. Sarath Kumarasinghe, OIC Fort Chief Inspector Sagara Wilegoda Liyanage (criminal liability) and OIC Katana Chaminda Nawaratne (disciplinary inquiry).

The Church said that out of the implicated law enforcement officers action had been taken only against the then IGP Pujith Jayasundera.

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