Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ordered former president Maithripala Sirisena and three other senior officials on 12 January to pay millions of rupees in compensation to families of victims of the 2019 Easter bombings. This marks the first time the courts have acknowledged government culpability in failing to prevent attacks that left 279 dead and 500 others injured at three churches and luxury hotels. The judgment cited a "lack of oversight and inaction" by security officials in failing to prevent the attack, despite receiving intelligence suggesting otherwise.
Sri Lanka's parliament passed its 22nd constitutional amendment on 21 October aimed at curbing the executive powers of the president - a key demand from protesters following the economic and political crisis. The amendment re-establishes a constitutional council which recommends appointments to nine independent commissions responsible for overseeing human rights and anti-corruption investigations, among other things. However, critics argue that the council is a mere expansion of the parliamentary council it replaces, with a majority of Council members controlled or influenced by the president. While a step in the right direction in terms of undoing some of the excesses of the previous amendment, more needs to be done to appropriately de-politicize and apportion governmental powers.
A new regulation introduced on 23 September by President Ranil Wickremesinghe restricts the right to protest in designated "High-Security Zones" under the Official Secrets Act, restricting protests to designated public spaces. Critics allege the measure is unlawful and threatens protesters' fundamental right to the freedom of assembly. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan authorities continue to clamp down on peaceful protests. On 24 September, police dispersed protesters demanding the release of student activists detained under the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act with tear gas and arrested 84 persons.
The Sri Lankan government, led by newly appointed President Ranil Wickremesinghe, continued its crackdown on protesters involved in the movement that led to the former President’s removal in July. The repeated use of State of Emergency measures, which the government extended on 27 July to the 18 August, is said to have empowered troops to arrest and detain suspects for long periods. Three student activists were arrested on 18 August under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), while dozens of top protest leaders continue to be harassed and face arbitrary arrests.