21 June 2007

sri lankan chief justice to speak at city university

check out the following flier and mark your calendar!

Chief Justice Sarath Silva holds much of the blame

In 1999 the president of Sri Lanka hand picked Sarath Silva, her attorney general, to be chief justice—over the head of the most senior judge in the court. She did this despite two motions against him alleging that as attorney general he had covered up an alleged rape and embezzlement of funds by a magistrate who is his relative; suppressed documents, and provided false information. He has not denied the allegations. The UN expert on judges and lawyers also warned against his appointment.

Since become chief justice he has
Attacked litigants
: In 2003 Chief Justice Silva sentenced rights petitioner Tony Fernando to one year’s rigorous imprisonment for talking loudly in court. He himself heard and dismissed the appeal. The UN expert on judges and lawyers described it as an “act of injustice”.
See: http://campaigns.ahrchk.net/tonyfernando

Harassed judges: In 2003 nine retired judges made a complaint that Chief Justice Silva had unfairly forced them from the courts; the opposition moved to impeach him, but the president stopped it. This was the second attempted impeachment of the chief justice. In 2006 two senior judges sitting on the Judicial Services Commission with him resigned in protest. The International Bar Association also condemned his actions.
See: http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2006statements/436

Intimidated lawyers: Chief Justice Silva has taken measures to intimidate lawyers who have resisted him, including senior lawyer Elmore Perera, who brought a case against him.

Fixed cases: Chief Justice Silva has controlled the lists of judges sitting on benches. He has excluded senior and independently-minded judges from sensitive cases, causing the most experienced and highly-respected Supreme Court judge to resign from his post.
See: http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2003statement/119

Protected politicians: Before the current president came to power in 2005 the police were conducting criminal inquiries against him; Chief Justice Silva stayed the inquiries and also made an order against the police investigators.
See: http://www.hindu.com/2005/09/30/stories/2005093002651400.htm

Rejected international law: In 2007 Chief Justice Silva ruled that by joining the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights the government had breached the constitution. On this ground, it now refuses to comply with the observations of the UN Human Rights Committee.
See: http://www.alrc.net/doc/mainfile.php/alrc_statements/418

In its 2007 report Transparency International highlighted the “integrity of the chief justice” as a key issue concerning judicial corruption in Sri Lanka, and listed the many allegations against him in detail: http://www.transparency.org/publications/publications/gcr_2007

See also the Asian Legal Resource Centre report,‘Dysfunctional policing & subverted justice in Sri Lanka’: www.article2.org

Prepared by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to inform students and staff of the City University of Hong Kong about the background of one of the invited speakers at “Hong Kong Basic Law: The First Ten Years and its Future”, June 22 and 23, 2007, Wei Hing Theatre, Amenities Building: www.ahrchk.net

UPDATE: so the chief justice is not coming after all, hmmm. check this out for details.

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