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Sri Lankan Church takes legal recourse for Easter attack victims

Repeated pleas for accountability from the authorities have fallen on deaf ears, says Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

Sri Lankan Church takes legal recourse for Easter attack victims

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the head of Sri Lanka's Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Colombo. (Photo: AFP)

Published: July 01, 2022 09:58 AM GMT

Updated: July 04, 2022 05:56 AM GMT

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has sought court directions to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into the Easter Sunday attacks.

"The repeated pleas for accountability, justice, and the implementation of the commission recommendations from the victims, the archdiocese, and the archbishop fell on deaf ears," he said.

Cardinal Ranjith filed a writ petition on June 29 seeking an order directing the Inspector General of Police and Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security to implement the recommendations in the final report of the PCoI.

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"Legal steps will be taken towards the implementation of the commission's recommendations against the other key positions named in the final report of the commission in due course," he added.

Cardinal Ranjith said the report mentioned serious negligence and lapses on the part of numerous public officials, including officials serving in the police, and had recommended disciplinary action against them.

“This included police officers such as senior DIG Deshabandu Thennakoon for their negligence and failure to prevent the bombings on Easter Sunday in 2019," said Cardinal Ranjith.

He pointed out the apathy shown by authorities in ensuring justice for the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks that claimed the lives of 269 people including 47 foreigners belonging to 14 nations. More than 500 were injured while three churches and three luxury hotels were hit in a series of coordinated suicide bomb attacks.

Cardinal Ranjith has in the past urged the UN Human Rights Council to set up a mechanism to probe the attacks. He even met Pope Francis in Rome.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka has said that it had no other option but to seek international assistance as there was an attempt to hide the truth and exploit the massacre for political gain

Catholic leaders have repeatedly asked the government to release the Commission of Inquiry report on the attack. After numerous requests, the presidential secretariat handed over 88 volumes containing evidence material to parliament last week.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had urged the government to publish the findings of the Commission of Inquiry and ensure transparency for victims and conduct further independent investigations into the involvement of any other state or non-governmental organization.

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