The unconstitutional impeachment of Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice has been condemned by many people, including Sri Lanka’s own Supreme Court, and 54 senior court judges from 26 countries around the world.
The Government of Sri Lanka has appointed, as the new Chief Justice, Mohan Peiris. Mohan Peiris is a professional apologist for the President of Sri Lanka, having previously attended the Human Rights Council in Geneva on multiple occasions to defend the Government’s conduct. He has served as legal advisor to the President of Sri Lanka and Attorney General. Clearly his appointment as Chief Justice makes a mockery of the idea of seperation of powers.
As we have reported, Mohan Peiris has also been forced to admit that he misled the UN: telling the UN’s Committee Against Torture that a missing journalist was not missing at all – and that he knew where he was – and then admitting to a Sri Lankan Court that this was completely untrue.
We have released a joint statement with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, comdemning the appointment of Mohan Peiris and demanding decisive action from the Commonwealth. As we say in the statement:
“The choice of a close government aide, with a record of protecting the government from grave allegations of human rights violations, as the new Chief Justice, puts into question the ability of the judiciary to be independent.
“We call upon the Secretary-General to go beyond the mere expression of “deep disappointment” and recognise the continuing deterioration of democracy, human rights and rule of law in its totality. We urge the Secretary-General to initiate the process by which Sri Lanka would be brought on to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG)’s formal agenda for its serious and persistent violation of the Commonwealth’s fundamental values.
“We further call upon CMAG member states to urgently consider the situation in the country before Commonwealth Day (11 March 2013), when formal announcements are expected on preparations for the Commonwealth summit (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka.”
As we’ve previously stated, heads of Government should not legitimise the President of Sri Lanka’s total lack of respect for his own people by attending the Commonwealth summit this November, unless the situation dramatically improves.