Canadian Judge Beverley McLachlin to Step Down from Hong Kong's Top Court Amid National Security Crackdown

Canadian judge Beverley McLachlin will step down from Hong Kong's top appeals court next month upon her term's expiration. Despite recent resignations by two British judges amid a crackdown on dissent under a 2020 national security law, McLachlin expressed her ongoing confidence in the court's independence and rule of law.

Reuters | Ottawa | Updated: 10-06-2024 23:23 IST | Created: 10-06-2024 23:23 IST
Canadian Judge Beverley McLachlin to Step Down from Hong Kong's Top Court Amid National Security Crackdown
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A Canadian judge who sits on Hong Kong's top appeals court announced on Monday she would step down next month when her term expires and said she still had confidence in court members and their independence. Beverley McLachlin made her announcement four days after two British judges on the court stepped down, the latest foreigners to leave the bench amid a years-long crackdown on dissent under a China-imposed national security law in 2020.

McLachlin, repeatedly criticised by some Canadian media commentators for not stepping down earlier, said she had turned 80 and would leave on July 29 when her term expired. "It has been a privilege serving the people of Hong Kong. I continue to have confidence in the members of the Court, their independence, and their determination to uphold the rule of law," she said in a brief statement.

Since 1997, Hong Kong has appointed foreign judges to sit on the five-person court of final appeal for certain cases. The five judges are selected from a larger pool. The two British judges quit one week after a landmark verdict in which 14 prominent democratic activists were convicted for subversion amid a national security crackdown on dissent in the financial hub.

One of the judges said the "political situation" in Hong Kong had sparked his move but added that he still had "total confidence" in the city's judiciary. Britain, which handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, says the security law that punishes offences like subversion with up to life imprisonment has been used to curb dissent and freedoms.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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