Sri Lanka Catholic Church hails court bombings order

STORY: The leader of Sri Lanka's Catholic Church on Friday (January 13) praised a Supreme Court decision to order the former president and four officials to pay compensation for the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings.

The attacks targeted three churches and three luxury hotels.

More than 260 people were killed.

The civil case brought by families of the victims charged that lax security led to the attacks.

The church itself was not party to the lawsuit.

But Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said he hoped the case would be escalated against former president Maithripala Sirisena and his top security officials.

“Even if a person becomes a president with executive power, or any other person assumes responsibilities in order to prevent evil from happening, if these people themselves engage in such activities, the law in this country has shown that such persons, even if it is a president or any other high official, can be punished by the law for behaving in that illegal fashion."

On Thursday (January 12), the Supreme Court ordered Sirisena, his police chief, two senior intelligence officials and a senior defense ministry official to pay a total of 310 million rupees, that's about $850,000, from their personal funds as compensation to the families of the victims.

The court said the former president and his officials had failed to prevent the attacks, among the worst in Sri Lanka's turbulent history.

Some in Colombo, like Sugath Ranaveera, said fining the former president and his officials is not enough.

"People will not accept this because they want them (leaders) to be punished. A financial fine is not a punishment. The people who were killed didn't receive any justice."

Sirisena and the others involved in the case have made no public comment on the ruling and he did not respond to Reuters requests for reaction.