The Supreme Court yesterday (17) ordered to summon former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to explain his controversial decision to release Army Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake,

who had been sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court in May 2017.

Ratnayake was convicted in 2000 for the brutal murder of eight displaced civilians, including a five-year-old child, in the Mirusuvil area of Jaffna.

This gruesome incident underscored the severe human rights abuses during Sri Lanka’s civil conflict, attracting significant international condemnation.

The Supreme Court’s notice follows a fundamental rights petition lodged by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Executive Director Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu.

The petition contests the legality and justification of Ratnayake’s release, which was authorised by President Rajapaksa during his time in office.

M.A. Sumanthiran representing the petitioner requested that notices be issued to former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Army Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake, who are named as respondents in the petition.

The petitioners assert that under Article 34 of the Constitution, the President is empowered to grant amnesty to individuals convicted by the courts.

However, they contend that there is a specific legal procedure that must be followed by the President when granting such a pardon.

The petitioner argues that former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa granted a Presidential pardon to the accused without adhering to the required legal procedure, asserting that this action is entirely against the Constitution.

Justices Yasantha Kodagoda and Achala Vengappuli reviewed the petition and decided to issue the notice.

The former President must now present his justification for granting clemency to Ratnayake.

The decision to release Ratnayake in 2020 faced significant backlash from human rights organisations and activists, who criticised it as a serious setback for justice and accountability in the country.



WhatsApp Image 2023 08 02 at 15.09.47

Follow Us


Exchange Rates


Electric Bill