14 October, 2019

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International Bar Association Condemns Attacks On Judiciary

By Colombo Telegraph

‘An independent judiciary functions as a critical institutional mechanism providing a check and balance on the executive and legislative branches of a democratic society. The independence of this organ is vital, not only to ensure that the judiciary is able to discharge its functions without fear or favour, but also to uphold public confidence in the legal system as a whole and the due administration of justice,’ Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Baroness Helena Kennedy, Queens Counsel said in a confidential letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week, expressing grave concern about the recent threats to the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka.

Helena Kennedy

The letter comes weeks after Judicial Services Commission Secretary Manjula Tilekaratne was pistol whipped on October 7 by four unidentified men. The attack is perceived as an attempt to intimidate the judiciary and interfere with the independence of judicial officers.

Helena Kennedy QC, Co-Chair of the IBAHRI said: ‘We consider the recently reported attack on the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission in Sri Lanka to be extremely serious, requiring prompt and proper investigation by the appropriate authorities.’

The attack on Mr Tilakaratne was preceded by reports that Government Minister, Rishad Badiudeen, directly interfered with the professional duties of, and made threats against, Magistrate Honourable A Judeson, of the Magistrate Court in Mannar, in relation to a specific case. On 17 July 2012, the premises of the Magistrate Court complex in Mannar District were attacked by an angry crowd. Reports further indicate that the Minister met with the Secretary General of the JSC in an attempt to secure the transfer of Magistrate Judeson.

Sternford Moyo Co-Chair of the IBAHRI said, ‘We appeal to the Sri Lankan authorities to prevent the harassment and intimidation of judges and magistrates in accordance with Article 111 of the Constitution of Sri Lankawhichprovides that judges will be protected in the exercise of their judicial powers and functions’ He added, ‘The need to develop and preserve an independent judiciary free from political influence and with adequate guarantees to maintain its impartiality is of prime importance to the protection of the rule of law. As a member state of the United Nations Sri Lanka is a signatory to the Basic principles on the Independence of the Judiciary which states that “the independence of the judiciary shall be guaranteed by the State” and that“it is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary.”’

Baroness Kennedy QC told the media today that the IBAHRI believes that the physical assault on Tilekaratne and the reported attempt by the government to impeach the Chief Justice was connected. The Baroness told BBC that while the Government has the right to take action against senior judges, with the judiciary increasingly coming under threat and intimidation, any action taken by the Government against the judiciary will look politically motivated. At a time when the president and the chief justice are at loggerheads it might be perceived as an attempt to remove the Chief Justice as the government does not like what the judiciary is doing, she said.

The Baroness said that while the Sri Lankan government has initiated investigations against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake’s husband’s alleged financial mishandling, the CJ’s conduct and that of her husband are unrelated affairs.

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Latest comments

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    It is good to know that the world is watching what the Rajapaksa regime is doing to it’s people. Their concerns are very welcome and that is probably what will save the country from the dictator at the end.

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    Here comes the attacks on the international bar association. No international body, official and even a prestigious respected association, can speak out the truth, or criticize, the crimes against the Sri Lankan people and stripping them of the constitution. There is a disgusting arrogance that rears it’s ugly head, whenever these anti democratic acts are enacted. The Sri Lanka we once knew does not exist any more.

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    If the developed nations who preach and practice Democracy keep quiet we as a nation will succumb. If the Good and Honest as these speak up and press the world body to take action against our corrupt leaders who are protected by some powerful in the regimes of the very developped nations shielding them is the problem we have.

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    The issue is not the CJ but the freedom and independence of the judiciary. The attack on the CJ based on an anonymous slanderous letter and a confession by former minister of justice that the govt made a wrong appointment. On both counts the CJ is not guilty.

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    No body above the law,CJ husband involement need to be invegisation is very essential to be clear our Legal system and maintain indulge of court of law.This is not INTRUDE of indepandance of System of Justice in Sri Lanka.
    Certain mass media has given worng interperation of this is a interfering Judiciary indepandeance.Is not that.
    Helena Kenndy of Baroness of QC did not recived right information form our END on CJ-husband’s real involement of underhand Share Transcation of NSB deal by her husband.
    Still CJ husband under invesgastion on sloid ground of alligation and chrges of Inside trading of NSB shares.Charges against her husband and Verdit need time,but before proved by court of law CJ has bad Image for as higest authority of Indepandance Judiciary!
    Can CJ excerise her ingenue in-house Judicial Authority in INDEPANDANCE JUDGMENT in our Court of Law?
    Hope sooner or later ( QC )Helana Kenndy will be ENLIGHTEN.

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    By the way, what has happened to the DiviNeguma Bill? The Supreme Court was to deliver the judgment on October 30 to his royal highness Rajapassa no less?!
    Has younger brother Basil Rajapassa’s planned poverty politics slush fund been quashed by a tainted CJ who seems to have got wise to the ways of Rajapassa Bros. Inc. recently when the screws were put on her corrupt husband?! Its wheels within wheels – the current CJ has been a Rajapassa stooge and got lots of favours and perks in the past but the relationship seems to have soured and now there are sexist attacks on her. Well good for her if even now Shiranee Bandarainyake can do the right thing and learn from her mistakes — unlike that shameless criminal and creep the former CJ Sarath Silva who once was Chandrika Bandaraniyake’s golden boy.

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    IT IS THE ONE TIME CHIEF JUSTICE SARATH SILVA, WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR
    THE PRESENT SITUATION.
    AFTER ALL HIS DEEDS AND MISDEEDS HE WAS PONTIFICATING ON BUDDHISM ON A
    WEEKLY TV PROGRAME.
    THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR CRITICISM AND COMMENTS, BUT FOR THE LAWYERS
    AND PROFESSIONALS TO AROUSE THE PEOPLE AS IN PAKISTAN.
    ITS TIME THE PEOPLE TOOK A LESSON FROM THE “ARAB SPRING”
    FOR THE MOMENT THERE IS A WARNING FROM ABOVE.THE DROUGHT FOLLOWED BY
    FLOODS. WE HAVE HAD TREMORS.
    JUST WAIT FOR THE TSUNAMI FROM MAGAMPURA!!!!!

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    The Philippines recently convicted its chief justice of failing to declare his assets and removed him. He was an appointment by the outgoing President, the thoroughly discredited Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and her politcal allies made the same charges that the current President Aquino was politically motivated in removing him. But the public sided with President Aquino and against the Chief Justice who will soon be indicted for tax evasion.

    Here, the CJ was appointed by MR himself so it is counterintuitive that he would try and oust her if she and her husband were not guilty of provable corruption. Yet despite this attempt to reduce corruption in the highest ranks of government, rather than applaud those efforts it seems too many have implied ulterior motives without any proof.

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    The involement of CJ’s loving -daling Husband inside trading of NSB share transfever has nothing to do with Mahinda Rajakapasa or his family!
    Please understand NSB share are belongs to poor Sri lankan people’s hard earning deposities comes form long-yeras savings.Is public fund of money nobody can play for thier own PERNOAL GAIN -MAKING BUSNIESS VENTUTE FOR MISUSUNG HIS OR HER POSITION?
    The charges against CJ’s husband is so serious of corrupation of PUBLIC FUNDS.
    In such cases how CJ’s can REMAIN IN HIGHEST POSITION IN JUDICIARY IN OUR COURT OF LAW.The country and nation become Lawless LAND!

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