The Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association (IBAHRI) says that the reported attempt by the Sri Lanka government to impeach Chief Justice is perceived as a politically motivated move to curtail the independence of the judiciary.
IBAHRI co-chair Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC, has told BBC Sandeshaya that IBAHRI regards the recent physical assault on JSC Secretary Manjula Thilakarathne, the constitutional challenge against Divi Neguma Bill and the attempts to impeach the Chief Justice as events that are linked to each other.
Elaborating further, Baroness Kennedy has said that although any government has a right to take action against the senior judges, under the current circumstances in Sri Lanka in which the judiciary has come under increasing threats and intimidation, whatever action taken by the government against the judiciary will be perceived as 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.
IBAHRI sincerely hopes, she said, that President Mahinda Rajapaksa will take serious note of the concerns raised by the world body representing lawyers worldwide.
She said although 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.
In a confidential letter sent to Sri Lanka President last week, IBAHRI has expressed serious concern over the threats and intimidation against the judiciary in the island.