London: Underlining that an independent judiciary is fundamental to the rule of law, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has discussed with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister concerns over the impeachment motion against country`s first woman Chief Justice.
The Secretary-General had a telephone conversation on Wednesday with the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, Professor GL Peiris, in which they discussed the issue of the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.
Sharma expressed appreciation for the briefing provided by Professor Peiris and the readiness of the Sri Lankan government to discuss concerns that have been raised regarding the impeachment.
The Secretary-General and the Sri Lankan 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 said.
Commenting on the developments in Sri Lanka to impeach the Bandaranayake, Sharma said, "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," he said.
"And all Commonwealth governments have recognised that access to justice and an independent judiciary are fundamental to the rule of law," he added.
A Sri Lankan Parliamentary panel last week found the Bandaranayake guilty on three counts of professional misconduct.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has "regretted" the impeachment motion against the country`s first woman Chief Justice and has said he will appoint an independent probe into the parliamentary panel`s report against her.