01/31/2015, 00.00
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Tamil to head Sri Lanka's Supreme Court

Appointing Kanagasabapathy Sripavan, an ethnic Tamil, as chief justice, is the latest election promise kept by the new president. The decision is part of his "national reconciliation" plan.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Sri Lanka's new President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a Tamil to the post of chief justice of the Supreme Court.

This is the first time since 1991 that a member of the ethnic minority is placed at the top of the country's justice system.

The international community and many Sri Lankans welcomed the president's decision.

On Wednesday, Sri Lanka's newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena re-instated Shirani Bandaranayake as chief justice. In 2012, she had been controversially impeached under pressure from the government of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In addition to her, President Sirisena also rehabilitated General Fonseka, a staunch opponent of the previous government.

Justice Kanagasabapathy Sripavan, 62, was sworn in today in Colombo. Already a senior judge in the court, he said he accepted the decision "with joy".

Sirisena's move is part of his "national reconciliation" plan, which he presented during the election campaign.

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