RESOLUTION ON THE RULE OF LAW AND JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE IN SRI LANKA

REFERRING to the Statements we have previously issued expressing our grave
concern about the flawed impeachment process by which Chief Justice
Bandaranayake was removed from the office of Chief Justice in defiance of the
judgements of the highest courts in Sri Lanka

REFERRING also to the statements of concern issued by the UN Special Rapporteur
on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers;

RECALLING:
the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the proper relationship between
the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary;
the Commonwealth Declarations of Principles and Values as recently embodied in
the Commonwealth Charter;
Sri Lanka’s commitment, as a Member of the Commonwealth, to these values;

NOTING:
that Membership of the Commonwealth is seen as a badge of respectability but that
badge is being tarnished by repressive actions in Sri Lanka:
– the continued erosion of the independence of the judiciary through the
impeachment of the Chief Justice and the subsequent relocation of magistrates and
judges in Sri Lanka;
– the Executive’s failure to abide by court orders; and
– the gross and persistent harassment of members of the legal profession and others
who are seeking to defend these values in Sri Lanka.

THE CLA, CLEA AND CMJA, representing three branches of the profession,
assembled at the 18th Commonwealth Law Conference, in Cape Town, South Africa:
1. Call upon the Members of the Commonwealth, through the Commonwealth
Ministerial Action Group to place Sri Lanka on the agenda of its next meeting on 26
April 2013 and suspend it from the Councils of the Commonwealth for serious and
persistent violations of the Commonwealth fundamental values. This suspension
would not preclude the people of Sri Lanka from participating in non-governmental
Commonwealth activities; and
2. Exhort Members of the Commonwealth to reconsider the holding of the next
Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka as to do so will:
a) tarnish the reputation of the Commonwealth especially given that the Sri Lankan
Head of State will thereby assume the role of Chair – in – Office;
b) call into grave question the value, credibility and future of the Commonwealth;
c) be seen as condoning the action of governments who violate its principles and by
its silence will undermine the moral authority it purports to have in protecting and
promoting fundamental values of the rule of law and human rights
Notwithstanding this resolution, the CLA, CLEA and CMJA affirm their support to
those seeking to uphold the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

Download a PDF version of the Resolution

This entry was posted in Statements and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.