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Sri Lanka: an ex-president responsible for not having foiled the Easter attacks


Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has been held responsible for failing to thwart the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings in...

Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was held responsible for failing to thwart the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings in Colombo that left 279 dead, the Supreme Court has ruled in a landmark decision on Thursday (January 12th).

The attacks, attributed to a local radical Islamist group, targeted three churches and three hotels in the capital, killing 279 people, including 45 foreigners, and injuring more than 500.

It is the worst terrorist attack the South Asian island has suffered since the end of its civil war.

Neglect of warnings

A panel of seven judges concluded that former President Sirisena had been negligent in not taking appropriate measures to prevent the attacks, despite serious alerts from the intelligence services.

The first alert from Indian intelligence services was issued on April 4, nearly three weeks before the attacks.

The Islamic State group had claimed to be behind the perpetrators of the attacks.

Local Muslim groups had also warned police and intelligence services of a local Islamist group, but authorities failed to identify the masterminds.

Read alsoStrangled by its debt, Sri Lanka is still tightening its belt

The indemnities of a historic lawsuit

The judges condemned Mr. Sirisena, 71, to pay 100 million rupees (276,000 dollars) to the families of the victims.

It is the first time that a Sri Lankan head of state has been held responsible for failing to prevent a terrorist attack.

Sri Lanka's former police, intelligence and defense chiefs have also been ordered to compensate the families.

The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has regularly criticized the government's investigation into the Easter Sunday bombings and called on the United Nations for an international investigation.

Sri Lanka experienced countless hijackings, bombings and massacres of civilians during the decades-long civil war.

The civil war, which lasted 37 years and killed around 100,000 people, ended in 2009. But the last weeks of the conflict resulted, according to UN estimates, in the death of around 40,000 civilians.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-12

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