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Fri, 31 October 2014 21:01:05
Sri Lanka impeachment review committee to be made up of experts
13 Dec, 2012 14:55:30
Dec 13, 2012 (LBO) - A proposed committee to examine a report by a parliamentary committee involving the impeachment of Sri Lanka's Chief Justice will be made up of independent experts, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
President Rajapaksa told editors of media institutions Monday that such a committee was not mandated by the constitution but will be made up of knowledgeable persons who will assist him in making decisions.

The review process will not be a challenge to the parliamentary committee, he said.

The parliamentary select committee and its conduct came under fire for not meeting basic standards of natural justice with the Chief Justice walking out and opposition members withdrawing.

President Rajapaksa the standing orders relating to a parliamentary select committee (PSC) was set up by the current opposition United National Party in the 1980s when the then administration was attempting oust Chief Justice Neville Samarakoon.

The UNP was responsible for bringing a constitution in 1978 which destroyed the remnants of an independent public service and critics have charged that it was responsible for strengthening the powers of the state and rulers reducing liberties of the people.

Lawyers for chief justice Shirani Bandaranaike had objected to the PSC saying it was not a lawfully constituted tribunal to try a citizen and she was denied sufficient time.

Lawyers for the Chief Justice said they were told that no witnesses would be provided for them to cross examine.

Minister Anura Yapa who chaired the committee said he had informed the chief justice that parliamentary committees usually only had documentary evidence. But the accused had the opportunity to call witnesses.

But soon after the chief justice walked out, the committee called a series of witnesses. The committee found the chief justice guilty of three counts.

Wimal Weerawansa said people should look at the report and debate whether the charges and conclusions were correct instead of focusing on the process.

Sri Lanka's lawyers stayed out of courts saying due process was denied to the chief justice. The US, EU and organizations representing the legal profession had expressed concern.

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READER COMMENT(S)
1. Shaik Anwar Ahamath Dec 14
To his credit, :Presidednt Mahinda Rajapakse is in a small way heeding to the comments elsewhere in this paper, as he has proposed a committee made up of independent experts to examine the impeachment report. I agree it is not mandated but I hope he will put in place a similar committee to examine future candidates to these senior posts before appointing them.