Jan 10, Geneva: An international human rights non-governmental organization has called on the Sri Lankan parliament to reject the motion to impeach Chief Justice.
Issuing a statement Wednesday (09) the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said the Members of Sri Lanka Parliament should reject the impeachment motion to remove Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake that will be debated in Parliament today and tomorrow.
"The assault on the independence of the Sri Lankan judiciary in recent months has brought Sri Lanka to the brink of a constitutional crisis," Sam Zarifi, ICJ's Asia Director said.
He expressed concern that if the impeachment motion is passed in Parliament against the judiciary's decisions, it will signal a "massive breakdown" in the rule of law and checks and balances.
The ICJ stressed that in a democratic society operating under the rule of law, the principle of judicial review is paramount and judges have the ultimate authority to determine what the law provides.
Following the Supreme Court interpretation of Constitution, the Court of Appeal quashed the findings of the Parliamentary Select Committee on 7 January 2013, claiming the PSC lacked authority to make such a finding.
Referring to the four-member panel appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to review the PSC report in response to the Supreme Court decision, the ICJ director said creating another "ad hoc committee on an arbitrary basis" to pronounce on the validity of the impeachment process in Parliament, which has already been decided as improper by the apex court, is an insult to the judiciary and deepens the constitutional crisis.
"Judges are not above the law, and should be subject to impeachment if they have engaged in serious misdeeds, but the faulty process used by the Parliamentary committee violated basic notions of due process and truth-seeking," Zarifi pointed out.
"This current crisis threatens to leave Sri Lanka with little or no means to hold State officials accountable for serious human rights violations," the ICJ director added.
"This government has shown itself committed to imposing a climate of impunity in Sri Lanka. The Parliament should stop the country's sad slide away from the rule of law," he emphasized.
The NGO referring to an earlier statement reiterated its call on the Sri Lankan government to take active measures to promote the independence of the judiciary and rule of law by adhering to international standards and practice in impeachment hearings.