UK Bar expresses concern over impeachment of Lankan CJ

Thursday, 3 January 2013 00:53 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) in a statement said it was concerned at the circumstances surrounding the impeachment of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, Shirani Bandaranayake, and at reports of attacks against the judiciary and the legal profession within Sri Lanka.

The statement also said:

The independence of the Judiciary is fundamental to the rule of law, and we condemn any move to restrict or compromise that independence. The rule of law is integral to the protection of fundamental human rights, and without it the basic principles of democracy are at risk. These principles are enshrined in international law and reflected in the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

It is fundamental that judges should not be removed from office except on serious grounds of misconduct or incompetence, in accordance with fair procedures ensuring objectivity and impartiality set out in the constitution or the law. They should never be removed on the basis of decisions they have made which are unfavourable to the Government. This is reflected in the Sri Lankan Constitution at Article 107.

Furthermore, it is a basic tenet of constitutional democracy that governments are required to respect the rights of lawyers and the courts to carry out their professional duties without intimidation, harassment or proper interference. We believe that this is paramount to upholding and protecting the human rights of the individual.