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
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
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process