Sri Lanka courts politicised, says ICG

July 01, 2009 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government must reform the country’s judicial system urgently if the military defeat of the Tamil Tigers is to lead to a lasting peace, an international non-governmental advocacy body has said. The Sri Lankan judiciary is not working in a fair and impartial way that secures justice and human rights for everyone regardless of ethnicity, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a new report called ‘Sri Lanka’s Judiciary: Politicised Courts, Compromised Rights’.

This risks undermining the government’s recent military victory over the Tamil Tigers, it said in a statement.

“A durable national reconciliation process is only possible if human and constitutional rights are fully restored,” the ICG said.

“The judiciary has not acted as a check on presidential and legislative power but has instead contributed to the political alienation of Tamils,” said Robert Templer, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director.

“Under the former chief justice, the Supreme Court’s rulings strengthened political hardliners among Sinhala nationalist parties.”

Rather than assuaging conflict, the courts have corroded the rule of law and worsened ethnic tensions, the ICG said.

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