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Sri Lanka: Petition challenging pardon to Army officer Sunil Ratnayake fixed for support in September

A petition challenging the Presidential pardon granted to an Army officer convicted for the massacre in Mirusuvil, has been fixed for support on 24 September 2020.

The soldier was sentenced to death in June 2015 for the murder of eight Tamil civilians in 2000 in Mirusuvil but was granted a presidential pardon this year.

Ambika Satkunanathan

A former member of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission Ambika Satkunanathan had filed a Fundamental Rights violation petition as a public interest litigation, contesting the Presidential clemency granted to Sunil Rathnayake.

The petition was considered by the Supreme Court yesterday (Friday) and has been fixed for support on 24 September 2020, Satkunanathan tweeted.

The eight persons killed included three children aged 5, 13 and 15 years. The bodies were then disposed of and later dug up consequent to a Judicial Inquiry. According to the Presiding Judicial Officer and the then officer in charge of the Military Police in the Jaffna Peninsula, the location of the bodies was identified by Sunil Ratnayake.

In her petition filed in April Satkunanathan cited the Attorney General, the convict Rathnayake Mudiyanselage Sunil Ratnayake, the Commissioner General of Prisons, Nimal Siripala de Silva who is the Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Legal Reforms, the Secretary to the President and the National Authority for the Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses as Respondents.

She stated that presidential pardons have a positive effect, and the allowance of such clemency takes recognition of the possibility of miscarriages of justice and other extenuating circumstances.

She underlined that there should be transparency and accountability in the process of granting such pardons which consider intelligible objective criteria, and is therefore subject to judicial review.

She pointed out that the underlying purpose of incarceration can be duly met by a valid rehabilitation of a prisoner and the successful reintegration of such individual into society.

She added that a systematic process was required in the justice system, as opposed to any ad-hoc system, that duly provides for pardons in light of the above. Any such process must include certainty about the processes followed and the substantive and objective criteria applied.

Read the petition as a PDF:FR petition by Ambika S re Sunila Rathnayake

(Colombo Gazette)


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