|Stop attacks on the independence of judiciary: Gabriela Knaul|
Impeachment against the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul has expressed serious concern about the impeachment proceedings against the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake and the recent attacks against lawyers who have been fighting for the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka.
According to information received by the independent expert, attacks and threats against members of the judiciary and lawyers, as well as interference in their work, have dramatically increased over the past few months.
The case risks a destabilizing clash between President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government and the judiciary. Opposition parties have withdrawn from the process, saying it was unfair.
“The recent steps taken by the executive and legislative towards impeaching the chief justice appear to be the culminating point of a series of attacks against the judiciary for asserting its independence,”Gabriela Knaul said in a statement.
A parliamentary impeachment panel found Bandaranayake guilty on three counts earlier this month. She has appealed against the decision and the United States, the United Nations and Commonwealth have all raised concerns about the process.
Gabriela Knaul said article 107 of the Sri Lankan constitution, read together with Standing Orders of Parliament, contravened international human rights law and needed amending so that disciplinary proceedings against judges were conducted by independent commissions.