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* EU calls on Sri Lanka to ensure safety of impeached judge
Sat, Jan 19, 2013, 12:37 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 18, Brussels: The European Union Friday called on the Sri Lankan government to ensure the safety of the impeached Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake and other human right activists.

Issuing a statement, the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton said the EU has followed recent impeachment process against Bandaranayake with considerable concern and called upon the government to respect the right to peaceful protest and ensure the safety both of Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake and of all human rights defenders.

The EU statement pointed out that the separation of powers is inherent in any democracy which respects the rule of law and it follows that the independence of the judicial branch cannot be made subject to actions by any other branch of government.

"It is vital that Sri Lanka ensures that its international obligations, and in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are implemented," the EU said.

The Sri Lankan government's decision to impeach Dr. Bandaranayake has come under criticism globally from the US, UK, the Commonwealth, the United Nations and human rights organizations.

However, the Sri Lankan government maintains that it according to the country's constitution to impeach the top judge who was found guilty of misconduct by a parliamentary committee which the Supreme Court has ruled as unconstitutional.

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