Presidential pardon emphasises the state's privilege and denial of justice - Ambika Satkunanathan

Lawyer, human rights advocate and former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Ambika Satkunanathan, questioned the basis for the presidential pardon of Sunil Rathnayake and the legitimacy of the process, and used the case to underline the challenges Tamil families’ face in holding perpetrators accountable and obtain justice.

Three villages in Sri Lanka have been locked down in response to COVID

Three villages sealed off to prevent COVID-19 spread after villagers were found to be positive for coronavirus. The villages, Kadayankulam, Puttalam and Akrurana, Kandy were closed off and authorities have also reported that residents in Kadayankulam have moved to a nearby quarantine centre for 14 days. Read more from the Daily Mirror .

Pardon of Sri Lanka soldier is ‘delightful news’ says Sinhala Buddhist monk

A Sinhala Buddhist monk has praised Sri Lanka’s pardon of a soldier who was convicted over the massacre of Tamil civilians, calling it “delightful news”. Buddhist monk Medille Pannaloka stated that Sri Lanka’s defence secretary Kamal Gunaratne, who is also accused of overseeing war crimes, called him personally to inform him of Staff Sergeant Sunil Rathnayake’s pardon.

Pardon of Sri Lankan soldier is ‘deeply troubling’ - US

The US Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia has condemned Sri Lanka’s pardon of a soldier who was convicted over the massacre of Tamils, calling it “deeply troubling”. In a tweet on Saturday, Alice Wells went on to state that “justice, accountability, and reconciliation are needed for long-term peace” The release of Sunil Ratnayake, after he was convicted for the murder of 8 Tamil civilians, has been widely condemned by Tamil political parties and organisations. Earlier this year, Wells visited Sri Lanka and met with the war crimes accused prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa,...

International justice needed for ‘politicised and cynical’ Rathnayake release – Wigneswaran

Former Chief Minister of Northern Province in Sri Lanka, C.V. Wigneswaran, slammed the Presidential pardon and release of convicted criminal Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake, referring to it as a “ political act ” rather than made in response in the best interests of the COVID-19 epidemic. “ Sri Lanka refuses to uphold the obligations it has entered into with the international community and is bent on politicising all aspects of life paying scant respect even to the Judiciary ,” said Wigneswaran . Wigneswaran insisted that the government is using any means necessary in “ protecting its own and...

UK government responds to Tamil demands for probe into British mercenary war crimes

The British government has responded to a letter by Tamil diaspora groups calling on the Foreign Office to investigate alleged war crimes committed against Tamils by British mercenaries in Sri Lanka. The government has recommended referring the allegations to a special war crimes unit within the Metropolitan Police. Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth Lord Ahmad responded to the letter which was sent shortly following the publication of Keenie Meenie: The British Mercenaries Who Got Away with War Crimes by Phil Miller.

International justice only option - Tamil civil society on soldier release

The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) has vehemently condemned the pardoning of a Sri Lankan soldier convicted for massacre of 8 Tamil civilians including a 5-year-old. “The conviction of Sunil Ratnayake was an exception in Sri Lankan judicial history. It is probably to date the only case where an army soldier was convicted for murder of Tamil civilians during war other than the Krishanthy Kumaraswamy case,” the umbrella body said in a statement on Saturday. “We trust that all concerned will hence forth stop asking the Tamil people to be patient and trust in Sri Lanka's judicial system to...

Global Tamil Forum calls for a consideration of universal jurisdiction

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has released a statement, in response to Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa’s decision to pardon Sunil Ratnayake, an army officer convicted of killing 8 Tamil civilians including children, calling for the international community to consider alternative avenues to justice including the invocation of universal jurisdiction. Ratnayake was convicted in 2015 by the Colombo High Court for the murder of 8 Tamils including children in Mirusuvil in the North and East of Sri Lanka. His was one of the rare convictions of war-time abuses as was touted as an illustration of...

Prisoners' rights group in Sri Lanka to challenge pardon of Sri Lankan soldier

The Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners (CPRP) announced it plans to file a legal challenge of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa's presidential pardon of Sunil Ratnayake, at Sri Lanka's Supreme Court. Ratnayake, a soldier who was convicted for the massacre of eight Tamil civilians in 2000 and sentenced to death in 2015, was pardoned by the Sri Lankan president this week. As reported by, CPRP Chairman Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera said: We want to know from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on what grounds he pardoned Sunil Ratnayake. His death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court and there...

Civil Society urge Sri Lankan prisoner releases amidst COVID-19 pandemic

A wide cross-section of civil society in Sri Lanka and the North-East has called for the reduction of numbers of prisoners through releases and called on the authorities to implement better hygiene standards in prisons on the island in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. A letter from civil society organisations published on March 26 was addressed to Sri Lanka's President, Minister of Justice, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Commissioner General of Prisons, President of the Bar Association and copied to among others, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. The letter followed an earlier...