US court dismisses case against Rajapaksa

The US State Department had entered a motion asking the case be dismissed because of the immunity precedent.

Last Updated: Apr 01, 2012, 00:54 AM IST

Washington: A US court has dismissed a lawsuit
against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for alleged
human rights violations by the Army, on grounds that he
enjoyed immunity from lawsuits as a head of state.

Rajapaksa was sued by families of alleged torture victims
under the Torture Victim Protection Act passed by Congress in
1992 but US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly dismissed
the case, contending that Rajapaksa has immunity as a sitting
head of 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.

"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.

The Rajapaksa Government is accused of violating human
rights of its own people during the civil war that ended in
the defeat of LTTE.

PTI