4 December, 2020

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Impeachment: ‘Chief Justice Was Denied Natural Justice – LAWASIA

By Colombo Telegraph

“LAWASIA observes that developments in Sri Lanka lead the international community to conclude that there is a serious challenge to the independence of the judiciary. It urges the Sri Lankan government to take all steps to ensure scrupulous and fully transparent adherence to due process in this matter without compromise, in order to dispel such conclusions.” says the Australian based Law Association for Asia and the Pacific.

Malathi Das - President LAWASIA

LAWASIA makes no comment on the charges brought against the Chief Justice, nor any observation about how or why these charges arise. However, it records its concern for circumstances that appear to indicate inappropriate procedures and a lack of fairness in the proceedings against her.” issuing a statement it further says.

We  publish below the full text of the statement;

LAWASIA, the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific, has observed with considerable concern developments in Sri Lanka with regard to the impeachment of the Chief Justice.

It notes the view of its member organisation, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, that the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to investigate the charges was unconstitutional and that the Chief Justice was denied natural justice by the process of investigation that has now concluded that she is unfit for office.

It notes the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary adopted by the Seventh United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held at Milan from 26 August to 6 September 1985 and endorsed by General Assembly resolutions 40/32 of 29 November 1985 and 40/146 of 13 December 1985 which, at Article  17, indicate:

17. A charge or complaint made against a judge in his/her judicial and professional capacity shall be processed
expeditiously and fairly under an appropriate procedure. The judge shall have the right to a fair hearing. The
examination of the matter at its initial stage shall be kept confidential, unless otherwise requested by the judge.

LAWASIA makes no comment on the charges brought against the Chief Justice, nor any observation about how or why these charges arise. However, it records its concern for circumstances that appear to indicate inappropriate procedures and a lack of fairness in the proceedings against her.

Where impeachment is faced by the senior-most judicial officer in any democracy, it indicates a very serious development and one that must be dealt with by the authorities with the utmost caution to ensure that the rule of law is strictly observed.

LAWASIA observes that developments in Sri Lanka lead the international community to conclude that there is a serious challenge to the independence of the judiciary. It urges the Sri Lankan government to take all steps to ensure scrupulous and fully transparent adherence to due process in this matter without compromise, in order to dispel such conclusions.

Malathi Das (Ms)
PRESIDENT
December 12, 2012
Contact: LAWASIA Secretariat
T: +61 7 3222 5888
E: lawasia@lawasia.asn.au

Read the original statement here

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Latest comments

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    It is the corrupt president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapassa and his brothers who should be IMPEACHED and held accountable for insulting the people, the CJ and the judiciary of Lanka and for gross corruption.
    The immunity and impunity of the Rajapassa mafia dictatorship must end and they need to be held accountable for running Kangaroo Courts and that attack on the judiciary and natural justice and due process in Sri Lanka. The Rajapassa mafia have brought great disrepute on the sovereign people of Sri Lanka by authorizing a Kangaroo court by their cornies and insulting the CJ, the judiciary and the people of Lanka. TIME HAS COME TO HOLD THE POLITICIANS WHO ARE RUNNING AMOK AND RUINING THE COUNTRY ACCOUNTABLE. The UFPA political goons – Chamal Rajapassa, Yapa, Dilan, Weerawansa should be forced to resign and 116 politicians who signed the impeachment motion must also be forced explain their actions. The CJ should sue the UPFA Kangaroo Court members for malicious lies, denying the CJ natural justice and due process in the PSC Kangaroo Court.

  • 0
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    How can a fact finding mission of the nature of a select committee in Parliament, consisting of politicians practice 100% fairness?

    Some are playing double games. They say that the system they introduced 30 years ago is OK but it was practiced unfairly in this instance.

    LAWASIA’s stand on making no comment on the charges gives an impression to a reader that LAWASIA knows that the charges are grave.

    In the yester-year even a magistrate is very, very, very careful and thinks a hundred times before perfecting a declaration and signing the same. He would not even go to a shop to buy his grocery for the fear of a possibility of conflict of interest. How is that compared to making purchases on behalf of the sister? A judge would not hear a case if he thinks that his reputation would be at stake. Recently, An appeals judge withdrew from being selected to the panel on grounds that the appellant was an old boy of his school. Some time ago, a judge applied for long leave from the President because there was a case against him. There are judges who practice the good traditions and not only they are just but seem to be just.

    This incident has opened a can of worms with regard to the practices of the robed and be-wigged community. Good! if you want a hefty discount be the judge that decides the fate of the seller. Take no action for vital documents that are missing.

    I am all for fairness. But if the authorities waver, the consequence is that the citizens would prefer to take the law into their hands rather than seek recourse to the law.

  • 0
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    The Sri Lankan people know that lawyers every where like the supremacy of the Law because it is good for business for them.

    Sri Lanka is a country where rule of law is practised and if not, the president could have just sacked the CJ. But we have gone through a process required by the constitution.

    The letter from who?

    • 0
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      The supremacy of the law is not for lawyers, it is for ordinary citizens like us. If the CJ is denied the protection of the law, what can we ordinary citizens expect?

      On 6/12 CJ goes before the PSC. She is given over 1000 pages of documents and is asked to defend herself on 7th. Her lawyers ask for time. Application for time is refused. In any court of law in this country, time is given when new evidence is to be led. Time is given to study new documents.

      Then CJ asks for an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses. PSC (majority) tells her no witnesses will be called to give oral evidence and the question of cross-examination does not arise. Cross-examination is the weapon by which the credibility of witnesses is tested. CJ is denied this basic right. Then CJ withdraws.

      On 7/12 Opposition members of the PSC suggest that PSC decides on a fair procedure. This very fair request is denied. They are not even told that witnesses will be called in the afternoon. After opposition members protest and leave, witnesses are summoned and they give evidence from 4.30 pm till late night.

      The following morning, the “report” is submitted. The draft report of the PSC is not shared with the Opposition members. Remember, they did not resign. They very clearly stated that they will come back if a fair procedure is agreed upon. When there is more than one judge, it the accepted procedure for judges to share their draft judgements with others and then they either agree to have one common judement or to deliver separate judgements. Also, the Chairman of the PSC had a duty to submit dissenting reports of the Opposition members, if they did not agree with the majority. In this case, the Opposition members were not even told that the majority’s report was being presented on 8/12. If the Opposition members refused to participate right along, the Speaker should have appointed others in their place.

      All the usual procedures were discarded for the sake of ploitical expediency.

      The CJ was denied a fair trial. She was denied the fundamental rights to which any citizen is entitiled.

      What happens when this happens to you or me? Because we are silent now, there will be no one to speak for us.

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