The head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka applauded the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to order the former president and four other officials to make restitution for the bombings on Easter Sunday in 2019 that left more than 260 people dead.
The attacks, which targeted three churches and three upscale hotels, were blamed on insufficient security, according to the civil lawsuit filed by the families of the dead.
The lawsuit did not involve the church directly. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, however, expressed to reporters his hope that the prosecution against former president Maithripala Sirisena and his senior security officials will be intensified.
“Based on this verdict we expect this case to be taken forward,” Ranjith said. “Justice for the victims will only happen when the entire truth comes out. This decision is just a milestone in that journey.”
On Thursday, 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 (about $850,000) from their personal funds as compensation to the families of the victims of the bombings who had brought the civil case before the court.
The court said the former president and his officials had failed to prevent the attacks, among the worst in Sri Lanka’s turbulent history.
Several tourists were also killed and more than 500 people wounded, mostly belonging to the island’s minority Christian community.
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.
24 individuals are on trial in Sri Lanka for allegedly carrying out the attacks as of November. Over 23,000 charges, including murder conspiracy, supporting the assaults, and procuring weapons and ammunition, were brought by the police against those suspects.
Mohammad Naufer, who authorities claim planned the attacks and has ties to Islamic State, is a member of the organization.