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Last updated: 24 September, 2011 - Published 16:59 GMT
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Civil lawsuit filed against Major General Shavendra Silva
Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Major General Shavendra Silva.
Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Major General Shavendra Silva.
A civil lawsuit has been filed against Major General Shavendra Silva, Deputy Sri Lanka Permanent Representative for UN, in Southern District of New York in the US.

The case has been filed by the American University Washington College of Law’s Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic on behalf Vathsala Devi and Seetharam Sivam, two Sri Lankan Tamils for alleged torture to their relatives.

Summons served

The lawyer representing for them, Ali Beydoun told BBC Tamil Service that summons had already been issued to General Shavendra Silva at his residence.

He said the lawsuit has been brought under US law, Alien Tort Claims Act which allows non US citizen to bring a civil lawsuit against somebody for the conduct that occurred outside USA.

Told that Major General Shavendra Silva has diplomatic immunity, lawyer Ali Beydoun said it would be something the defence would try to argue.

“In this case, the civil action we are alleging relates to torture and torture is universally recognised as a crime against humanity. Therefore, no one should be given immunity,” he said.


Lawyer Ali Beydoun said immunity is something granted to a person and that a person can not say that they have immunity at all times.

“It will depend on the case law and ceiling of grants in the US court of law,” he said

He said that they are prepared to show evidence to the court and the jury to understand these actions have taken place and damages have occurred.


“Not only have the plaintiffs emotionally traumatised by the death of the family members and the intentional inflictions of emotional distress because of the way that the family members were killed but they were also damaged economically,” he said.

Money will not compensate the deaths but compensation of millions of dollars will be demanded in this case, he added.

We were unable to contact Major General Shavendra Silva to get his reaction

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