The Inconvenience of a Just Legal System

The Chief Justice of Sri Lanka used to be Shirani Bandaranayake but she was impeached recently and removed from office. The International Bar Association’ s Human Rights Institute was going to send four lawyers from its Human Rights Institute to investigate the removal of the former Chief Justice, because there were concerns that the impeachment was irregular and motivated by political reasons rather than proper legal reasons.

Of course it is important that Judges are secure in office, subject to good behaviour; the independence of the judiciary is one of the cornerstones upon which the freedom of democratic nations is based. It is not the only corner stone, but like all cornerstones if it is removed the structure of the rule of law and democracy usually comes tumbling down. Good and sound legal systems are a great inconvenience to politicians.

The Sri Lankan government withdrew the visas that they granted to the four member team of the IBAHRI, claiming that the visas were obtained without the members declaring their true purpose of the visit.

Nevertheless, the four member team were able to carry out their investigations into the impeachment of the former Chief Justice and have published a report with ten recommendations, the most significant of which (in relation to the original brief to investigate the removal of the former Chief Justice) appear to me to be:-

  1. Immediate steps should be taken to reverse the impeachment and replacement of Chief Justice Bandaranayake.
  2. Standing Orders  that enable the removal of judges and the creation of a proper and fair disciplinary procedure for judges
  3. A Code of Conduct for judges should be drawn up
  4. A Constitutional Council that is independent of the President should be created to appoint judges in Sri Lanka.

These are sensible recommendations and you can read the full report at

The IBAHRI also took the opportunity to inquire into other injustices alleged in Sri Lanka and seem to argue that Sri Lanka should not host the Commonwealth Conference as a result of its human rights record.

The IBAHRI do not seem to have overly concerned themselves with another place where the corner stones of free democratic nations simply do not exist, and so cannot be removed. On the other side of the world one hundred and sixty six souls are out of sight and out of mind. They are kept in a place where there is no law, where the writ of habeus corpus does not run and where they have been held for more than a decade without charge, without trial and subject to the most appalling abuse. In Guantanamo Bay, which is part of the Island of Cuba but under USA’s control but not it seems part of the jurisdiction of the United States of America about one hundred of those people are making the only protest that they have left to them; they are on hunger strike.

Whatever these prisoner may have done, (and some of them are innocent) after twelve years they are political prisoners now. When Booby Sands went on hunger strike in Northern Ireland many Americans (but not all) felt that his death was an outrage; some erected memorials to him.

It seems that the USA does not want to set the people locked up in Guantanamo free or charge them and try them in open courts, but it does want to keep them alive, so it is flying in forty people to help with the force feeding of the hunger strikers.

Presumably the USA has provided tyrants of the world a way to avoid the inconvenience that the legal system brings to politicians. Let us hope that other nations do follow where the USA leads.

We should remember that the USA hosts the United Nations. Perhaps that organisation should remove itself from New York until the USA amends its ways on human rights.

2 Responses

  1. The United Nations IS the problem Rob, under its flag they have started nearly all the wars in modern history, but like all empires it is beginning to fail as we speak, the next phase is about to be ushered in, under the same voice, but with a different banner and new world order, where there will be far fewer rights for the whole.

    Bessell, BIS, UN = NWO, The Bay is a warning sign of what is possibly to follow for the whole. Wink.

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