12 December 2012
Commenting on further developments in Sri Lanka to impeach the country’s Chief Justice, Dr Shirani Bandaranayake, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said today: “The Commonwealth at large and Commonwealth governments in particular are set apart by a commitment to uphold in word and deed the shared values and principles which we ourselves have defined. In particular, all Commonwealth governments have recognised the importance of maintaining the separation of powers and the integrity of the roles of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. And all Commonwealth governments have recognised that access to justice and an independent judiciary are fundamental to the rule of law.”
The Secretary-General was commenting following a telephone conversation on 10 December 2012 with the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, Professor GL Peiris.
Mr Sharma expressed appreciation for the briefing provided by Professor Peiris and the readiness of the Government of Sri Lanka to discuss concerns that have been raised regarding the impeachment of the Chief Justice. The Secretary-General and Minister of External Affairs agreed to remain in contact on this matter.
“We encourage full and practical application of shared Commonwealth commitments with regard to the impeachment process,” the Secretary-General concluded.
At Harare in 1991, we pledged to work for the protection and promotion of the fundamental political values of the association, namely democracy, democratic processes and institutions which reflect national circumstances, fundamental human rights, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, and just and honest government.