Sri Lanka's Peace Chief on R2P, GCR2P and the stability of the State

Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP)
29th February 2008

Since misleading reports have appeared in both English and Sinhala language newspapers concerning the involvement of the Peace Secretariat in the ICES controversy, it seems desirable to issue publicly the statement made by SCOPP Secretary General to the CID when it was investigating the original complaint to the police. There were two complaints, one by those in charge of the office after Dr Mani's dismissial as to papers she had removed, the other by Dr Mani alleging harassment by these individuals. Obviously both were made in all seriousness, in the hope that they would be investigated by the Sri Lankan authorities.

The involvement of SCOPP had nothing to do with these complaints, except insofar as incriminating documents might have been removed, nor with financial improprieties that had gone on at ICES under the management of Ms Coomaraswamy, Mr Weerakoon or Dr Mani. These may however prove relevant if it turns out that ICES was sold to the highest bidder to overcome debt.

SCOPP involvement arose because its attention was drawn to ICES coincidentally in two ways. One was when the Secretary to the Ministry for Constitutional Affairs and National Integration asked whether the Peace Secretariat could assist in monitoring an ICES proposed project since she felt that Ministry did not have the capacity to monitor thoroughly. This followed on the Department of External Resources suggesting she seek SCOPP's views on funding proposals involving FLICT (Facilitating Local Initiatives for Conflict Transformation). Since SCOPP looks carefully at all documents brought to its attention, it became obvious that there were several matters which requiree greater scrutiny, given that funds expended in the name of peace were obviously not achieving the required purpose. Presumably it was because ERD had registered that something of the sort was going on that SCOPP's involvement was requested in the first place.

Simultaneously a representative of a local NGO wrote drawing SCOPP attention to an article in the New York Times that referred to a Colombo associate of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and asking what was being done about it. Since SCOPP had been involved previously in rebutting some of Gareth Evans' less reliable assertions in the speech he delivered last year, this was a subject with which SCOPP was both concerned and familiar. The website revealed the connection which had hitherto been kept concealed from the ICES Board.

Closer attention was therefore urged to a complaint that had already been made, with regard to missing material, and the CID that was detailed to this task questioned the Secretary General. The statement that was made to them which urges fuller investigation follows in full. It should be noted that the UN has now dissociated itself with what happened. The UNDP Regional Coordinator has made it clear that he was inveigled into signing a petition by inaccurate statements by Dr Mani and her associates, while the UN has now realized the dangers of potential conflicts of interest and, after discussion with the Secretary General's officials, Ms Coomaraswamy has announced that she will resign from the Advisory Board of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha
Secretary General
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process

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