Instead, Rajapaksa appointed a new six-member committee to study the report without first sharing it with the Church, or with the attorney general to prosecute suspects.
Cardinal Ranjith obtained a copy of the COI report the following month, Asia News reported.
Among the COI’s findings was what it described as “criminal liability” on the part of then-president Maithripala Sirisena, who left office in November 2019 and is now a member of parliament, and recommended that the attorney general draw up charges against him. No such criminal proceedings have yet taken place.
Several other government and law enforcement officials were indicted in the COI report as “criminally liable” in the attacks, but the letter notes that these officials have not been charged and in some cases have received promotions— a situation the signers of the letter called “totally unacceptable and amounts to a ridiculing of the rule of law.”
“It is also an act of callous disregard and of inhumanity towards those human beings who lost their precious lives in the attacks and those who were maimed for life and the suffering caused to their families,” the signers wrote.
The COI report also criticized former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for an apparent “lax approach” to Islamic extremism in the country, but did not make any criminal recommendations against him.
“It is our view that the recommendations made by the COI should be urgently carried out and without fail. Yet, the fact that only a few of these recommendations have actually been carried out causes us grave disillusionment,” the letter continues.
The Archbishop of Colombo has been pushing for Sri Lankan authorities to be held responsible for failing to prevent the bombings following the completion of the COI’s report.
In October 2020, five of seven suspects arrested in connection with the attacks were released by the government, on the stated grounds of lack of evidence.
At that time, Cardinal Ranjith said security officials had confirmed to him that there was sufficient evidence against many of the suspects who had been arrested. The cardinal, along with friends and family of the victims, have said they fear the release of the suspects meant corruption, or a lack of a thorough investigation, on the part of the Sri Lankan Criminal Investigation Department.
In April 2021, in commemoration of the second anniversary of the attacks, Cardinal Ranjith spoke at St. Anthony’s Shrine, along with Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim leaders. The service included prayers and two minutes of silence in remembrance of the dead.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
That month, police arrested a former cabinet minister and his brother for alleged links to the bombings.