Amnesty accuses Sri Lanka of targeting judges

2 November 2012 08:16 am - 17     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Human rights watchdog Amnesty International on Friday accused the Sri Lankan government of cracking down on the judiciary, a day after ruling party lawmakers moved to impeach the country's top judge.

President Mahinda Rajapakse's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) party submitted a resolution pushing for Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, who has been accused of flouting the constitution, to be sacked.

"The crackdown on dissent has extended to lawyers and members of the judiciary who speak out against abuses of power," Amnesty said in a statement.
Amnesty also highlighted the case of a high court judge who was attacked and injured by armed assailants last month after he had complained of attempts to interfere with the independence of the judiciary.

Similar concerns about pressure on judges in Sri Lanka were raised by the United States and Germany when the country's rights record was reviewed at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday.

The US ambassador to the UN mission in Geneva, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, asked Sri Lanka to end interference in the judiciary, "especially in light of... news of the efforts to impeach the chief justice."

She asked Colombo to protect judges, and to restore a "fair, independent, and transparent mechanism to oversee judicial appointments."
The impeachment motion is the latest sign of efforts by the government to tighten its grip on power after crushing the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels in 2009 at the end of a decades-long war.

Analysts have said that the government was infuriated by Bandaranayake's decision to shoot down a bill that sought to give more powers to the economic development ministry headed by the president's younger brother Basil.

Sri Lanka's special envoy on human rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, told the UN council that impeachment was in line with the constitution.
"This impeachment matter was raised by the US and Germany and I can assure you that due process will be followed," Samarasinghe said.

A total of 117 ruling party MPs signed the resolution, which requires only 113 votes for it to succeed in the parliament where Rajapakse's party commands a comfortable two-thirds majority.

There was no immediate reaction from the country's Supreme Court or the independent Judicial Service Commission.(AFP)
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  • patriot Saturday, 03 November 2012 12:05 AM

    THERE IS A NEW TREND IN SL POLITICS NOW , SINCE MR GANG HAS 2/3 , THEY THINK THEY CAN DO ANYTHING

    patriotic Sunday, 04 November 2012 12:00 AM

    Judiciary under MR Jeopardy via DM Android App

    patriotic Sunday, 04 November 2012 12:00 AM

    Human rights maddog via DM Android App

    lal Saturday, 03 November 2012 01:25 AM

    A $50,000 donation seems to do wonders. Or, was it the first payment of many more to come? The human rights industry know how to sniff and milk a cash cow but never mind human rights or human dignity. Very sad indeed.

    mewan Saturday, 03 November 2012 01:45 AM

    We don't have any faith in judges and lawyers.

    Mal Friday, 02 November 2012 08:50 AM

    The person who killed 900 policemen became as a minister . Everything is possible untill power goes. ( from the body)

    Roy Friday, 02 November 2012 09:25 AM

    Judiciary was first politicized by Sirima and Felix Dias during the SLFP led coalition government in the seventies by appointment of a less competent supreme court judge who was supporting the party. Now it has become worse.

    Hemantha Friday, 02 November 2012 09:49 AM

    End of all fundamental rights of all citizens. all people become slaves , there is no place to seek justice. end of media freedom.

    Lokka Friday, 02 November 2012 10:08 AM

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL IS CRYING FOUL FOR THE LTTE.

    Game Kolla Friday, 02 November 2012 10:10 AM

    Downfall of this country began in 1956.Since then it has been steep fall up to now.

    Nodrog Friday, 02 November 2012 10:26 AM

    The International busy-body AI singing for their supper again. More competent international authorities are already voicing their dissent at whats going on here so AI need not poke in their 2 cents.

    Senaka Friday, 02 November 2012 05:27 PM

    Mind your own business !

    S.Sriranjan Friday, 02 November 2012 10:32 AM

    Two Third Majority is going To Third Grade????

    ganesh Friday, 02 November 2012 10:53 AM

    If your rights are violated go to courts rather than complaining at these forums. If you have a backbone do- it rather than insulting our country. Supreme court has 10 more Judges. Who entered from back doors must be gone through that. When she was appointed many danced, when she is removed the same clan dances again.... Jobless ha?

    Mims Friday, 02 November 2012 11:56 AM

    The response to an international body here is ridiculous. Every time there is a call for accountability from the Rajapakasa regime, their faithful servants here start attacking those who call for justice, not for that international body, but for the people of Sri Lanka. Another obvious attempt by the Rajapaksa's to avoid being investigated, or being held accountable for the steady list of crimes against Sri Lankans.

    Ryan Saturday, 03 November 2012 08:09 AM

    It is a one fo the profession which the person has to lie blatantly knowing that it is a lie which can be harmful to so many people

    Shaik Ahamath Friday, 02 November 2012 12:37 PM

    Interference of te judiciary is only permissible when there is gross misdemeanour. By no stretch of the imagination is refusing a government bill considered a misdemeanour except instigating a debate on the matter to explain wshy it was refused.


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