Jan 11, Colombo: The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international human rights non-governmental organization, condemned the Sri Lanka parliament's decision today to impeach the country's Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake.
Issuing a statement, the ICJ said the impeachment motion has defied the rulings of the country's Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, and thrown the entire system of checks and balances in the country into chaos.
"Sri Lanka's parliament and executive have effectively decapitated the country's judiciary in pursuit of short term political gain," the ICJ said.
The decision to impeach the Chief Justice has precipitated a legal and constitutional crisis of "unprecedented dimensions" the ICJ said warning that the consequences of this action severely erode accountability and the rule of law in the country already suffering from decades of impunity.
The impeachment decision will be conveyed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa who will then decide whether to remove the Chief Justice.
According to Sri Lanka's Constitution Article 107 (3) a top judge "shall not be removed except by an order of the President made after an address of Parliament supported by a majority of the total number of Members of Parliament has been presented to the President for such removal on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity."
"President Rajapakse should refuse to appoint a new Chief Justice, and instead call on Parliament to enact a new law - through a transparent and democratic process - to govern the impeachment process. Any such law must comport with international standards on judicial independence and guarantees of due process and fair trial," Sam Zarifi, ICJ's Asia-Pacific director said.