The majority Sinhalese-dominated government had told the United States and India it would embark on a reconciliation program after winning a bloody war against Tamil rebels in 2009.
Analyst Kusal Perera said the impeachment was more likely the result of a personal falling-out between a government and a chief justice who once worked hand-in-glove, rather than a dispute over judicial power.
"I don't see the chief justice as a principled person. Her appointment itself was very political," said Perera.
Weliamuna, the human rights lawyer, warned that if the government continues to assert authority over the justice system, it could start appointing party hacks as judges and destroy what remains of judicial independence.
"See the message given to the international community. The chief justice is not protected in Sri Lanka. How can we protect our own citizens?" he said.
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