World judges condemn Sri Lanka on chief justice sacking

GENEVA Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:20pm IST

Related Topics

GENEVA (Reuters) - Leading judges and jurists from around the world, many from developing countries, on Wednesday condemned the Sri Lankan government's sacking of the country's chief justice, arguing it violated international law.

The 44-strong group, all members of the Geneva Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL), called for the immediate reinstatement of Shirani Bandaranayake.

At the same time, the head of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), which works to promote the rule of law, said the move had set Sri Lanka on the path toward authoritarian rule.

The judges' strictures were issued in a letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, the speaker of parliament Chamal Rajapaksa from the ICJ and the CIJL.

It was the latest of a series of criticisms from independent organisations and United Nations officials in Geneva since President Rajapaksa last week dismissed Bandaranayake as chief justice and appointed one of his allies in her place.

"We are gravely concerned that the recent action to remove the chief justice have been taken in contravention of the (Sri Lankan) constitution, and international human rights law and standards, including the right to a fair hearing, and the rule of law," the letter said.

Former attorney-general Mohan Peiris, whom Rajapaksa named as new chief justice, was widely known "for consistently blocking efforts to hold state officials accountable for gross human rights violations," it said.

The parliamentary impeachment of Bandaranayake, on which the president based his decision to remove her, and her dismissal "disregarded international standards of judicial independence and minimum guarantees of due process and fair trial," it added.

ICJ Secretary General Wilder Tayler, a Uruguayan lawyer, said in a statement the Rajapaksa administration "has brought Sri Lanka within steps of authoritarian rule, dismantling the system of checks and balances and eviscerating judicial independence."

(Reporting by Robert Evans; Editing by Jon Hemming)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Maritime Piracy

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Wilful Negligence?

Wilful Negligence?

SEBI piles pressure on Sahara to sell overseas hotels  Full Article 

Ban On E-cigarettes

Ban On E-cigarettes

Govt considers ban on e-cigarettes, sale of single smokes  Full Article 

Fighting Ebola

Fighting Ebola

China to send elite army unit to help fight Ebola in Liberia  Full Article 

Siege Of Kobani

Siege Of Kobani

Air strikes hit Kobani as Kurdish peshmerga prepare to enter  Full Article 

Sri Lankan Landslide

Sri Lankan Landslide

Rains slow Sri Lankan landslide search; nearly 150 feared dead  Full Article 

Myanmar's Peace Talks

Myanmar's Peace Talks

Myanmar's leaders seek to revive peace talks, maintain reforms   Full Article 

A Minute With

A Minute With

Bollywood's Kalki Koechlin on playing disabled teen.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage