The Supreme Court  on Friday listed the Fundamental  Rights petition  challenging the presidential  pardon granted to ex-soldier  Sunil Ratnayake, who was convicted on eight counts of murder,  for support on 24 September.

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu filed the Fundamental Rights application challenging the presidential pardon granted to Ratnayake, who was convicted for his role in the Mirusuvil Massacre which occurred in December 2000.

Ratnayake was pardoned by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in March this year.

The Petitioners say the decision to pardon Ratnayake is arbitrary, unreasonable, ultra vires and has not been done in the interest of  the public. This is especially so because Ratnayake was afforded due process, and there was no miscarriage of justice.

The Petitioners have also taken up the position that to pardon a convict of a crime of this gravity when five judges of the Supreme Court have affirmed his sentence undermines the independence of the Judiciary and is an affront to the rule of law.

The pardon is thus a violation of the sovereignty of the people, and the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 12(1) of the Constitution.

Ratnayake was convicted on several counts of murder and assault by a trial-at-bar in the High Court of Colombo in July 2015, and sentenced to death  for his role in the killing of eight civilians, all internally displaced persons from Mirusuvil in Jaffna in December 2000.

Ratnayake appealed his sentence in the Supreme Court, and a bench of 5 judges heard his appeal and on 25 April 2019, the SC upheld nine   counts on which he was convicted, which included eight counts of murder.