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Sri Lanka AG Accuses Police Chief, Defense Minister of Crimes Against Humanity

FILE - A priest conducts religious rituals during a mass burial for Easter Sunday bomb blast victims in Negombo, Sri Lanka, April 24, 2019.

Sri Lanka's police chief and the nation's former defense secretary should be charged with crimes against humanity as a result of their inability to prevent the Easter bombings that killed 258 people, the state's prosecutor said Monday.

According to Attorney General Dappula de Livera, the Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara and Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando ignored intelligence information forecasting the attack.

"The two officials should be brought before a magistrate for their criminal negligence to prevent the April 21 attacks," wrote de Livera to the acting police chief.

FILE - Sri Lanka police chief Pujith Jayasundara ia seen at police headquarters in Colombo, March 7, 2017.
FILE - Sri Lanka police chief Pujith Jayasundara ia seen at police headquarters in Colombo, March 7, 2017.

"Their negligence amounts to what is known under international law to be grave crimes against humanity."

Fernando has since resigned his position and Jayasundara was suspended.

Indian Intelligence shared a report of targets for an attack with Sri Lankan officials on April 4, over two weeks in advance of the attacks on April 21. President Maithripala Sirisena alleged that the police chief and defense minister failed to act on the intelligence.

Both Fernando and Jayasundara have denied the allegations that they were negligent in the weeks leading up to the attacks.

Jayasundara told a parliamentary committee that the president offered him a diplomatic job if he were to take the blame for bombings.

Fernando told parliament that the president had ordered him to keep a member off Sri Lanka's security council.

Both men also accused Sirisena of not doing enough to prevent the attacks.

Following the testimonies by Fernando and Jayasundara, the president has said that he would not accept the committee's conclusion.