18 May, 2024


Removal Of CJ Bandaranayake Was Unlawful, Sri Lanka Facing Constitutional Crisis Concludes IBAHRI

The removal from office in Sri Lanka of Chief Justice Bandaranayake was unlawful, is undermining public confidence in the rule of law, and threatening to eviscerate the country’s judiciary as an independent guarantor of constitutional rights states the Executive Summary of an International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) report released today.

Chief Justice

Issued ahead of the full report, the Executive Summary of A Crisis of Legitimacy: The Impeachment of Chief Justice Bandaranayake and the Erosion of the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka finds the legal profession in Sri Lanka to be in a perilous state.

Sternford Moyo, IBAHRI Co-Chair commented, ‘We call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to reverse the impeachment and replacement of Chief Justice Bandaranayake and to work to rebuild the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession in the country, as a matter of absolute urgency.’
A high-level delegation, under the auspices of the IBAHRI, investigated the removal of Chief Justice Bandaranayake and the independence of the legal profession in Sri Lanka through a series of in-depth conversations by telephone and via the internet with a range of key players in Sri Lanka, including judges, lawyers, journalists, parliamentarians and civil society activists. The interviews were conducted remotely because authorities would not permit an investigation to take place within Sri Lanka. The delegation found there to be a systematic effort to intimidate and discredit lawyers and others who advocate and promote respect for fundamental rights in Sri Lanka.
In advance of the planning for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in November 2013, Mr Sternford Moyo stated, ‘This is a critical time for Sri Lanka and international efforts to work towards reform must be intensified. The IBAHRI invites the Commonwealth to carefully consider this report and Sri Lanka’s position with regard to respect for the separation of powers, the rule of law, good governance and human rights as enshrined in Sri Lanka’s Charter when deciding how to proceed with arrangements for the forthcoming CHOGM.’
The Executive Summary of A Crisis of Legitimacy includes specific recommendations to Sri Lanka’s authorities, including:
  • Taking immediate steps to reverse the impeachment and replacement of Chief Justice Bandaranayake, consistent with the Sri Lankan Constitution and extant rulings of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court;
  • Drawing up a Code of Conduct for judges as a matter of urgency, taking full account of the principles set out in relevant international instruments, including the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct and the Latimer House Guidelines; and
  • Repealing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and taking steps to create a body independent of the President and responsible for the appointment of all senior officials and judges in Sri Lanka;
To the UN, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group and Member Countries of the Commonwealth the delegation’s recommendations include:
Inviting the Government of Sri Lanka to indicate precisely what assistance it requires to put reforms into effect.
Asking the Government in particular how it will facilitate future visits by and cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
Read the report here
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Latest comments

  • 0

    The first and third recommendations above are almost like asking the present government to declare itself ‘invalid’.
    They will never be implemented.
    The regime will carry on regardless.
    CHOGM will happen in sri lanka in November as scheduled.
    Only sterner measures will work.
    Such action can be taken only by the international community, but who will “bell the cat”?

  • 0

    Is it business as usual in the legal fraternity?

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0

    No one has asked from where the PSC member Wimal Weerawanse who found the Chief Justice involved in financial scandal got Rs 50 million + to build a luxury three story house in the outskirts of Colombo. Can someone tell how many cars he got and where he has banked his ill gotten wealth. Definitely won’t be in Cypru. Must be in a Chinese bank.

  • 0

    All the International Legal bodies including this IBAHRI has condemned the removal of the CJ de jure and appointing a CJ de facto, by this Humbug MR. Condemning alone is not enough, but all the International Legal bodies should boycott the CJ de facto.

    It is sad that a news item relating to the CJ de jure earlier would have drawn hundreds of comments, but not any more. Typical Sri Lankan mentality, only two weeks and everything is forgotten thereafter.

    • 0

      you are right Gamini , i felt the same way .now no body is interested in CJ related news , same as general Sarath Fonseka , on the contrary look at Fashion Bug circus , how many readers rushed to comment. Regime creates topics we the ignorant public dives in , my gut feelings say this hot cake ( assignment )will not have a long shelf life and would reach sell by date than the manufacturers planned.

      • 0

        Have to agree with you Srilal, unfortunately we are a very gullible nation with a short term memory!
        Wonder what’s on their agenda next!?

        • 0

          it’s any body’s guess , but certain for a another spectacular circus when this drama dies down. Script writers and producers must be busy by now for the next staged managed drama. Leaving the real burning issues aside i.e rising cost of living , deteriorating law & order , corruption , nepotism, cronyism etc we will be forced to hear & respond to “ mathrooboomiya “ based topics.

  • 0

    The Impeachment Of The Chief Justice

    Constitutionally the CJ is the head of The Judiciary,
    Of late, Her Ladyship is at the centre of an untoward controversy.
    An impeachment motion against her by The State has led to an inquiry,
    This course of action had caused widespread protests within the country.
    For the CJ, the impeachment has turned out to be a huge embarrassment,
    The State with its action has placed the CJ in a predicament.
    From the proceedings, The Committee by its action had shown a negative attitude,
    The procedure adopted didn’t speak well of its moral rectitude.
    This impeachment violates basic norms of fair adjudication,
    The rules of procedure had not been laid down for proper interrogation.
    Aspersions and insults had caused the CJ to walk out from the proceedings,
    To prove her innocence against the charges, she appeared to be quite willing.
    Leaving no stone unturned, The Committee seemed desperate in its struggle,
    In the process, it realized not that it was getting into deeper trouble.
    The CJ’s walk out from the proceedings was a courageous act,
    Lacking transparency and accountability in its conduct, The Committee failed to attract.
    Preconceived feelings of guilt were much in dominance at the inquiry,
    By ignoring salient provisions of the law, The Committee had placed itself in a quandary,
    Infringement on the independence of The Judiciary was much in evidence,
    Peace-loving citizens pray judgement on the on-going trial should restore CJ’s confidence.

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