World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Open letter: Plan to impeach the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2013
ALRC-OLT-002-2013

An Open Letter from the Asian Legal Resource Centre to Honourable Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations General Secretary


Honourable Secretary General

Re: The plan to impeach the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka and imminent danger to the rule of law and democracy in Sri Lanka

Greetings from the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

I am certain that your office is already aware regarding the critical situation undermining the rule of law and democracy in Sri Lanka that has developed by way of an open conflict between the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and the Government of Sri Lanka. This conflict relates to the impeachment, by the government of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Shirani Bandaranatake.

The Supreme Court in its judgment dated 1 January 2013, has stated that the process adopted by the government for impeachment is unconstitutional and hence illegal. The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers has stated that the manner in which the Government of Sri Lanka is proceeding against the Chief Justice violate the principles of separation of powers; independence of the judiciary and the process is the culmination of a series of attacks against the independence of judiciary.

The ALRC is contacting your office fearing that within the coming five days that is by 11 January there will be such a drastic change within the political system of Sri Lanka, which would transform Sri Lanka's judiciary to a mere administrative organ without judicial powers, and hence will be unable to protect the liberty of individual citizens. The judiciary in Sri Lanka will be transformed into an instrument at the service of the executive.

Perhaps during your tenure in office you may not have been confronted with a situation where democracy and the rule of law is abandoned and dictatorship established through a parliamentary process. This is exactly what the Government of Sri Lanka is attempting to achieve in Sri Lanka.

According to the announcements made by the government, on 8 January the President will address the parliament on the report made by a Parliamentary Select Committee constituted by the government to impeach the Chief Justice. It is this process that the Supreme Court has declared invalid and as illegal and is against the fabric of the constitution. However, the government has announced that subsequent to the President's address to the parliament, there will be two days' of debate after which the issue of impeachment will be voted in the parliament. The government has more than the required majority to have the motion passed.

Since the Chief Justice is challenging the legality of her removal from office and the entire process held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, the ALRC fears that the Chief Justice will be removed from office by force and a new Chief Justice who is willing to oppose the judgment of the Supreme Court appointed. The resulting chaotic situation will be disastrous to the rule of law and democracy in Sri Lanka.

Besides, since the Judicial Services Association and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka have categorically opposed the removal of the Chief Justice since the process is devoid of universally accepted safeguards, the government clashing with the judges and the lawyers of Sri Lanka is inevitable. It is most likely that many judges, lawyers and the members of the civil society will be arrested or otherwise their rights tampered with by the government.

Under these circumstances it is only an extraordinary intervention through your high office that could weigh upon the government, to persuade the government to withdraw from the disastrous collision course it has embarked upon against the judiciary in Sri Lanka. If this fails, Sri Lanka will sink under a dictatorship and how long that will last is hard to predict. Condemning this event and the damage done after it has taken place will be of little practical use to the people of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has been undergoing many political catastrophes since the past several decades, and the United Nations is blamed for its inability to make timely interventions to prevent such situations. We firmly hope that the present catastrophe would not have the same fate and that your office would use its mandate and the capacities that is available to your high office to make a decisive intervention on this occasion.

Sincerely


Bijo Francis
(Interim) Executive Director
ALRC


Annexe:
1. Judgment of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka

For a complete dossier concerning the impeachment kindly see: www.humanrights.asia/resources/books/the-impeachment-motion-against-shirani-bandaranayake


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news