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Sri Lanka lawyers urge fair trial for Chief Justice, resolve not to welcome replacement
16 Dec, 2012 09:36:48
Dec 16, 2012 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's main lawyers association has asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reconsider an impeachment against the Chief Justice or ensure that a fair trial complying to rules of natural justice is followed.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka had adopted the resolution amid protests from those backing the administration with vice president Anoma Goonethilake saying she would resign as it was not put to vote, The Sunday Island newspaper reported.

There had also been a post-meeting brawl among lawyers representing different factions, reports said.

The BASL had also resolved not to welcome a new CJ if the incumbent is replaced without a fair trial.

Sri Lanka's chief justice and opposition members walked out of a parliamentary committee after her lawyers said she was insulted and not given basic rights available to any other accused including the right to cross-examine witnesses and sufficient time to answer charges.

A group of lawyers on behalf the Chief Justice said in a statement that resolution of the Bar Association vindicated the position that the impeachment process was "devoid of fairness and without adhering to the basic principles of natural justice."

The statement said she was "humbled" by the fact that so many lawyers gathered "to express their commitment to safeguard the independence of the judiciary of Sri Lanka."

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