AG issues directives to Reparation Office on Easter Sunday compensation

Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam writing to the Chairperson of the Office for Reparation, Dhara Wijethilake instructed the latter to submit the details of compensation payments made by former President Maithripala Sirisena and other respondents six months from the date of the judgement. The Attorney General said the office must also submit a report on the scheme of payments it was ordered to formulate by the Supreme Court to disburse the funds to victims and their families. Rajaratnam said it must also investigate the alleged complaint of underpayments or non-payments as regards the Cabinet Decision taken to compensate the victims.

A seven-member Bench of the Supreme Court including Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya delivered a landmark ruling on Thursday and said that the respondents named in the thirteen petitions filed had failed to prevent the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks and had therefore violated the Fundamental Rights of the petitioners. The court ordered the former President, other respondents and the state to pay compensation totalling Rs. 311 million to victims of the bombings that resulted in the deaths of 269 people.

Sirisena was ordered to pay Rs. 100 million as compensation while former IGP Pujith Jayasundara and Ex-SIS Chief Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena were instructed to pay Rs. 75 million each.

Others named in the judgement were former Secretary of Defence Hemasiri Fernando and former Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis who was ordered to pay Rs. 50 million and Rs. 10 million respectively. The state was also ordered to pay Rs. 1 million.

While the Attorney General was directed to liaise with the Office for Reparation to give effect to the orders issued by the Supreme Court, accordingly Rajaratnam noted the office must establish a Victim Fund. The respondents will be required to pay the compensation to the fund out of their personal funds.

The Attorney General said the office must also submit accurate information by way of a motion to the Supreme Court with regard to the above matters within three months from the date of the Judgment. “It is imperative that the afore-mentioned orders of the Supreme Court are complied with and given effect to without any delay’ the Attorney General added.