Jan 23, Colombo: The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international non-governmental human rights organization today again called on the Sri Lankan government to reinstate the impeached Chief Justice.
In an open letter to the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa the Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the International Commission of Jurists condemned the removal of former Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayke.as "unconstitutional and in contravention of international standards on judicial independence."
"The impeachment process and subsequent removal of the legal Chief Justice disregarded international standards of judicial independence and minimum guarantees of due process and fair trial," the ICJ said.
The letter, emphasizing that an independent and impartial judiciary is essential for the protection of human rights, the rule of law, good governance and democracy, said the any removal process must comport with international standards of due process and fair trial, including the right to an independent review of the decision.
It noted that the government's conduct is a "flagrant violation" of the core values of the Commonwealth of Nations, notably the Latimer House Principles on the Three Branches of Government 2003.
The ICJ drew attention to the recent incident of sending threatening letters from a group identified as the Patriotic Taskforce to lawyers and advocates who have opposed the impeachment.
"Sri Lanka must act immediately to guarantee the security of persons who have been the subject of threats or intimidation and must initiate prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into such allegations," the ICJ said.
The international jurists urged the President and the Speaker to act immediately to restore the independence of the judiciary by reinstating the legal Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake.
The letter also urged the government to enact a law in Parliament to govern the impeachment process.
"Such a law must comply with Sri Lanka's obligations under international human rights law and
Standards," the letter said.