Sri Lanka Begins Impeachment Hearing against Chief Justice

Posted November 23rd, 2012 at 8:00 am (UTC-5)
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Sri Lanka's parliament has begun an impeachment hearing against the chief justice of the country's Supreme Court.

Friday was the first day Shirani Bandaranayake appeared before a parliamentary panel to answer charges of financial misconduct filed by the ruling party.

Lawmakers rejected a non-binding order issued by the Supreme Court on Thursday to delay the impeachment hearing while legal challenges to the process are heard.

Ruling party lawmakers had wanted the chief justice to step aside during the impeachment process, but she has refused.

Chief Justice Bandaranayake's lawyers have said their client can easily refute all the allegations. The accusations include a charge that she did not declare the details of several bank accounts.

Opposition parties and independent analysts call the impeachment motion a politically motivated attempt to stifle judicial independence, and say it is part of a government effort to concentrate power in the hands of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.