Four Army personal acquitted in 2013 Rathupaswala shooting case

Court decision

The Gampaha High Court Trial-at-Bar acquitted the four accused involved in the shooting incident that killed three people and injured 45 others during a protest for clean drinking water in Rathupaswala on August 1, 2013.

Today (May 17), the court ordered the release of the four Sri Lankan army personnel, including a Major and three soldiers.

On August 1, 2013, army personnel fired at unarmed villagers in Weliweriya, resulting in three deaths and several injuries. The villagers were protesting against a factory they believed was contaminating their groundwater.

In 2019, then-Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya appointed a Trial-at-Bar comprising High Court Judges Menaka Wijesundara (President), Nimal Ranaweera, and Nishantha Hapuarachchi to hear the case, following the Attorney General’s request.

On September 11, 2019, the Attorney General filed indictments at the Gampaha High Court against Brigadier Anura Deshapriya Gunawardena and three other military personnel for allegedly ordering the shooting of the protesters.

The Gampaha High Court’s Trial-at-Bar had postponed the verdict to today (May 17) after initially deferring it on April 30, 2024.