Lawyers go on strike over CJs impeachment process

Bandaranayake, 54 awaits removal from the position early January after parliament holds a vote on the recommendations of the parliamentary select committee submitted last week.The report was released after Ms Bandaranayake and her lawyers walked out of the proceedings calling it unfair.Following concerns raised internationally, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Tuesday, said he would appoint an independent panel to seek its views on the select committee report prior to acting on them. Lawyers across Sri Lanka went on strike on Wednesday protesting the impeachment motion against the island nation’s first woman Chief Justice, bringing the judiciary to halt.The protesters were seen clashing with pro-government protesters who called for the resignation of Ms Bandaranayake staging counter demonstrations in support of the impeachment Mr Rajapaksha said the BASL committee had resolved to condemn the procedure adopted and the findings of the parliamentary select committee on the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. The parliamentary panel last week announced that Ms Bandaranayake has been found guilty of three of the 14 charges slapped against her by the government.The protesting lawyers said that some of the court’s functioning was crippled in many provincial areas throughout today and is likely to remain so tomorrow. “We have come out today to protest in the branch association across the country on the single theme, ‘let’s protect the independence of the judiciary’”, Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, the head Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) said. However, the lawyers rejected the President’s offer. “The President’s statement that he would appoint an independent panel to review the report is an admission by the President that it was an unlawful process and that the report is flawed. Therefore the said Report must be withdrawn immediately. Any future inquiry must take place only after a fair procedure and tribunal are lawfully introduced. Until then the agitation of the Bar will continue”, a lawyer’s union statement said. (The Hindu) read more

UN chief praises political courage determination of Israels Ariel Sharon

Saddened by the death of Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister of Israel, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today praised the late statesman’s political courage and determination, and urged the country to build on Mr. Sharon’s legacy of pragmatism to press ahead with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban offered his condolences to the late leader’s bereaved family and to the Government and people of Israel. Mr. Sharon, 85, became incapacitated by a severe stroke in 2006. He passed away earlier today at a hospital near Tel Aviv. “Throughout a life dedicated to the State of Israel, Ariel Sharon was a hero to his people, first as a soldier and then a statesman,” said the Secretary-General. “Prime Minister Sharon will be remembered for his political courage and determination to carry through with the painful and historic decision to withdraw Israeli settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip,” the UN chief said, adding that Mr. Sharon’s successor faces the difficult challenge of realizing the aspirations of peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people. The Secretary-General called on Israel to build on the late Prime Minister’s legacy of pragmatism to work towards the long overdue achievement of an independent and viable Palestinian state, next to a secure Israel. “At this time of national mourning, the Secretary-General renews the commitment of the United Nations to work alongside the Government and the people of Israel for peace and security,” said the statement. read more