By Dilanthi Jayamanne/Ceylon Today
Colombo, March 1: The Catholic Church, yesterday (28) said they will be compelled to go to International Courts, given the failure and lethargy on the part of the Government to ensure that justice is meted out to the victims of the Easter Sunday Attacks in 2019.
Spokesman for the Archdiocese of Colombo, Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando said so during a Media briefing on Colombo Archbishop, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith’s meeting with Pope Francis, held at the Colombo Archbishop’s House.
Cardinal Ranjith met Pope Francis yesterday (28) at 3:00 p.m. in Vatican City.
Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Colombo, Rev. Dr. J.D. Anthony Jayakody said the Cardinal’s visit to Rome was one which he undertook annually. “He was unable to do so over the last two years owing to the pandemic. But this time was special, as he was briefing the Pope, the head of the world’s Catholics with regard to the disappointment of the Church of Sri Lanka with the manner in which the investigations into the 2019 Easter Sunday Attacks were taking place. The failure and lethargy on the part of the Government to ensure that justice was done by the victims of the Easter carnage, is why measures are being taken by the Catholic Church at this juncture and this is the reason to seek international assistance at this stage,” he added.
He said further information in this regard would be disclosed after the meeting was concluded.
“We have waited in the hope that Easter Sunday victims would be given justice for nearly three years now. We hoped that justice would be done from the time the first Easter Commission was appointed, then when the report was submitted and after it was submitted in Parliament and now when some 80-odd volumes have been submitted to Parliament. But still some are withheld on account of the country’s safety. All we are asking for is the implementation of the recommendations made by the report,” the Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo explained.
He said during a meeting, the Catholic Bishops’ Council had decided that there was nothing else to do but to seek international intervention. He observed that the general impression of all at present was not the difficulty in identifying the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday Attacks, but identifying the mastermind behind those introducing the laws.
Meanwhile, Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando slammed former President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent statement he would swear by the Holy Cross that he knew nothing about the Easter Sunday terror attacks in 2019, and said Sirisena should be able to prove his innocence in a Court, not going around the country.
“Having given evidence before the Commission several times, he should be able to go before a Court and prove his innocence instead of making claims that he could swear by any cross or that he will reveal the truth when the time comes.”
He said the Easter Sunday Attacks Commission had given several recommendations which included disciplinary action against some officials and legal action against others.
Responding to queries as to whether the Catholic Church would take its grievances to the Human Rights Council, Rev. Fr. Fernando said it was looking at all options at an international level.
“It is not that we do not love our country, but our leaders have failed to ensure that justice was done by the Easter Sunday victims,” he said.