Sri Lanka President Rejects US Court Summons

Posted June 19th, 2011 at 2:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has rejected a summons from a U.S. court. over the killing of a Tamil man during the country's civil war.

Justice Secretary Suhada Gamlath says the summons was first delivered to the president's “Temple Trees” residence in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, where it was not accepted. He says it was later received by the Justice Ministry.

Gamlath says the president has immunity under Sri Lankan laws and does not have to respond to the summons.

The case was filed by a U.S.-based Tamil lobbying group and family members of Raghiar Manoharan, who was killed during the war.

The lawsuit, which is seeking $30 million in damages, claims Mr. Rajapaksa was responsible for civilian deaths as the commander-in-chief of Sri Lanka's armed forces.

The case was filed in a U.S. district court in Washington, DC.

At least 80,000 civilians are estimated to have been killed during Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war, which ended in May 2009.

Sri Lanka's government is under intense international pressure to investigate allegations of atrocities committed during the conflict's final stage, after videos containing alleged war crimes surfaced recently.