US court dismisses case on President

A US Court has dismissed the case filed by the wife of slain LTTE official Ramesh against the immunity provided to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by the US State Department from being arrested or tried for alleged war crimes.

Ramesh’s wife Vathsala Devi had filed the argument at the US District Court in the Southern District of New York on August 23.

However a US lawyer said yesterday that on September 4, Judge Naomi Buchwald of the Southern District of New York dismissed the suit against President Rajapaksa, on the basis of a Suggestion of Immunity filed by the Justice Department, at the request of the State Department Legal Adviser.

Under customary international law and longstanding U.S. practice, sitting heads of state or government are considered to have immunity from civil suits in U.S. courts.

This is the second human rights suit against President Rajapaksa to be dismissed this year based on a U.S. Suggestion of Immunity.

In February this year Judge Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a suit filed against President Rajapaksa, based on a virtually identical Justice Department request.

In the latest case Judge Buchwald has said that “Here, plaintiff and Amicus seek to impose civil liability on a sitting head of state in a domestic forum, a proposition that has been soundly rejected by U.S. courts, even in the context of alleged jus cogens violations.” (Colombo Gazette)