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.
The order was issued by the Supreme Court as it announced the verdict in relation to the case filed against Sirisena and several others over failing to prevent the Easter attacks despite having prior intelligence information.
The Supreme Court ordered former President Sirisena to pay Rs. 100 million, and former Secretary of Defence Hemasiri Fernando to pay Rs. 50 million in compensation to the victims of the Easter attacks.
Meanwhile, the court ordered former State Intelligence Service Director Nilantha Jayawardena and former Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara to pay Rs. 75 million each, and National Intelligence Chief Sisira Mendis is to pay Rs. 10 million as compensation to the victims.
“The State and the individual respondentsnamed above must make their payment of compensation to the victim fund maintained at the Office for Reparation. Respondents are directed to pay the aforesaid sums out of their personal funds,” the seven-member bench headed by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya said in its verdict.
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.
The verdict was issued after 12 petitions that were filed by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, the families of the victims of the attacks, Catholic priests and several others were heard before a seven-member bench headed by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya.