US court dismisses case against Rajapaksa
A federal US court dismissed a lawsuit against Mahinda Rajapaksa, noting he is immune as a sitting Head of State.
Washington: A federal US court has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, noting he is immune from lawsuits as a sitting Head of State.
Dismissing the case yesterday, the US District Judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, said that Rajapaksa has immunity as head of the State.
The US State Department had entered a motion asking the case be dismissed because of the immunity precedent.
The case was brought by Bruce Fein, an attorney who has been accused of working closely with the pro-LTTE groups in the United States. Rajapaksa was sued by families of the alleged torture victims under the Torture Victim Protection Act passed by Congress in 1992.
"This court is not in a position to second-guess the executive`s determination that in this case, the nation`s foreign policy interests will be best served by granting defendant Rajapaksa head of state immunity while he is in office," Kollar-Kotelly wrote.
"Two centuries of case law and basic constitutional and statutory principles prevent this Court from allowing Plaintiffs` Complaint to move forward at this time," the judge said.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Vathsala Devi as the widow Colonel Ramesh for his alleged wrongful death by the Sri Lankan Army.
However, the Sri Lankan government has vehemently denied violating human rights laws during the lengthy conflict against terrorism.
Rajapaksa Government is accused of violating human rights of its own people during the civil war that ended in the defeat of LTTE.