Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran said that Sri Lanka’s presidential pardon for a soldier who had been convicted of massacring Tamils confirmed that the state state “will never” exercise accountability atrocities committed during the armed conflict.
Reacting to the move, which saw Staff Sergeant Sunil Rathnayake walk free yesterday, Sumanthiran told The Hindu that “all the institutions of the state will eventually conspire together and let the offenders go free”.
The decision to free Rathnayake, who a Sri Lankan court found guilty of the Mirusuvil massacre, has been widely condemned.
“Where accountability is so rare for serious human rights violations in Sri Lanka, the government’s arbitrary decision to release Sergeant Rathnayake sends an extremely worrying message," said Amnesty International’s Regional Director for South Asia, Biraj Patnaik. "It means that military perpetrators of horrific crimes, even if convicted through a court of law, will be pardoned and released.”