[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Sri Lanka's chief justice found guilty

Shirani Bandaranayake has been found guilty of three charges in impeachment proceedings.
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2012 11:56
It is not immediately clear if Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake will be stepping down now or in January [Reuters]

Sri Lanka's chief justice has been found guilty of three charges of professional misconduct and financial irregularities by a parliamentary panel, in impeachment proceedings that has sparked opposition protests and raised international concerns.

It was not immediately clear if Shirani Bandaranayake, Sri Lanka's first female head of the Supreme Court, has to step down effectively from now or has to wait until parliament debates the impeachment investigations in January.

"We have found her guilty of three charges out of the first five we have investigated," Nimal Siripala de Silva, minister of irrigation and a member of the impeachment panel told reporters on Saturday.

Parliament Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa appointed an 11-member select committee, seven of them from the ruling party, to investigate 14 charges against Bandaranayake, ranging from unexplained wealth to professional misconduct.

The move to impeach Bandaranayake came after she scuttled several bills, including one that gave more powers to President Mahinda Rajapakse's brother Basil, the economic development minister.

Opposition committee members hearing the accusations walked out on Friday, a day after Bandaranayake staged a similar walkout, leaving the process in disarray amid charges that the government is determined to get rid of her.

The US embassy in Colombo said it was "very concerned" about the impeachment process and demanded that the government follow the rule of law.

The main Sri Lankan lawyers' associations, which represent thousands of lawyers, united on Friday to express solidarity with Bandaranayake and praised her for upholding the independence and dignity of the judiciary.

The associations and opposition parties have described the impeachment as an effort to undermine judicial independence and concentrate more powers with President Rajapaksa, who holds executive powers and effectively controls the 225-member Parliament with two-thirds of its members on his side.

275

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.