Mar 02, Colombo: A report prepared by an international jurist on the request of the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC), the international human rights arm of the Bar of England and Wales, to probe the impeachment of former Chief Justice of Sri Lanka has called on the Commonwealth to suspend Sri Lanka from it.
When Sri Lanka refused the entry of an International Bar Associations team to probe the impeachment of country's first female Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, the BHRC has invited the international jurist Geoffrey Robertson QC to prepare a report on the impeachment.
The report prepared by Robertson also urged the Queen not to attend the November Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM), scheduled for Colombo.
He said the UK should ensure that the Queen did not attend since her presence in Colombo would provide "a royal seal of approval for the propaganda interests" of President Rajapaksa.
The report has concluded that the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka was innocent of the misconduct charges which brought about her removal from office in January, which was in reality a reprisal for her "careful and correct" decision in a case where she had ruled against the government.
Robertson in his report concluded that Dr. Bandaranayke was forced out because her "careful and conscientious" rulings had displeased the government and the family of President Rajapaksa.
The report has called for the UK to subject the seven Sri Lankan cabinet ministers who convicted her, and 117 government MPs who signed a "false and fabricated" impeachment motion, to be refused entry visas and to have their bank accounts in Britain frozen.
Robertson's report has analyzed the charges against her and states that they are not based on evidence and that some of the allegations - such as the use of her title in bank statements - could not conceivably amount to 'misconduct'.
Robertson notes in his report that the most basic rights of a defendant were denied by a "Star Chamber" of seven government ministers who put her on a secret trial. They were all biased against her because of a judgment she had given against the government, and they refused to allow entry not only to the public but to distinguished international observers.
The QC has recommended that the 117 MPs who signed the impeachment motion, and the 7 government ministers who convicted her, should all be subject to international measures now available for use against human rights violators, called the "Magnitsky Act", a new law US President Obama drafted last December.
"Given the blatant breach of the rule of law, for which the government purports to stand it would make a mockery of the Commonwealth as an organization if it permits the Rajapaksa government to showcase its destruction of judicial independence by presiding over CHOGM," Robertson said.
Sri Lankan authorities revoked visa issued to the four-member delegation representing the International Bar Association team, which had unilaterally scheduled a visit to Sri Lanka to probe the impeachment process, following the detection of inaccurate information contained in their visa applications.
The Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma last month confirmed that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Sri Lanka this year.