Will Case Filed Against Gotabaya Rajapaksa in California “obstruct” Ex -Defence Secretary From Contesting Sri Lankan Presidential Elections?

Ahimsa Wickrematunge, the daughter of slain journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, has filed a case in the California Court against former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in connection with the assassination of her father in January 2009.

She had reportedly stated that Mr. Rajapaksa, who is currently holidaying in California, should be held responsible for the murder of her father. She has demanded compensation.

Lasantha Wickrematunge was the Editor of the ‘Sunday Leader’ newspaper.

There is a difference of opinion on the strength of the case as there is no evidence yet that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had a hand in the murder of the editor which took place ten years ago. There is also the question whether a US court has jurisdiction over such a case as the crime was allegedly committed outside the US in Sri Lanka.

A section of political opinion has it that there is a political motive for filing the case at this point of time.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is likely to be the candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) in the coming Sri Lankan Presidential election and is believed to have the best chance to win. Additionally, his application to give up US citizenship is pending before the US government. If he is not released from US citizenship in time, he will not be able to contest the election because the 19th.Constitutional Amendment of 2015 bars dual citizens from standing for elections in Sri Lanka. there is an off chance that the Presidentshsip of Sri Lanka could go to someone else if he is barred from contesting.

So far there has been no war crimes charges against Gotabaya Rajapaksa. And he has travelled to the US multiple times since the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels ended in May 2009.