among winners of coveted award
The Sunday Times Consultant Editor and Defence Correspondent Iqbal
Athas is among a ten member team of journalists from the Washington
based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)
who have won a coveted award for their joint report on "Making
a killing - The Business of War."
award has been made by The Society of Professional Journalists -
the United States' largest and most broad-based journalism organisation
- for Online Investigative Reporting.
In a two-year
long worldwide investigation, a team of ten reporters from the Washington-based
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) laid
bare the role of mercenary groups worldwide during the probe on
THE BUSINESS OF WAR. Their detailed eleven-part report was released
The I CIJ was
launched in 1997 as a project of the Centre to Public Integrity
to extend globally the Centre's style of watchdog journalism in
the public interest by marshalling the talents of the world's leading
investigative reporters to focus on issues that do not stop at the
Amid the military
downsizing and increasing number of small conflicts that followed
Cold War, this probe focussed on Governments turning increasingly
to private military companies (PMCs) - a euphemism for mercenaries
- to intervene on their behalf.
Iqbal Athas was the only Asian journalist to serve in the probe
team. He examined the role of private military companies in Sri
Christina Rocca to visit Sri Lanka
US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca is scheduled to
visit Sri Lanka on May 12 and 13 at the invitation of Prime Minister
Ranil Wickremesinghe. She is part of the delegation of Deputy Secretary
of State Richard Armitage visiting Afghanistan, India and Pakistan
and will visit Sri Lanka at the conclusion of those visits.
will lead the US delegation to the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction
and Development of Sri Lanka to be held next month which is being
co-chaired by the US.
visit is a follow up to the successful Pre-Tokyo seminar held in
Washington in April 2003 hosted by the State Department.
Ms. Rocca will
discuss during the visit bilateral relations in the context of the
deepening ties between Washington and Colombo. She is scheduled
to meet the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and members of the
negotiating team including ministers G . L . Peiris, Milinda Moragoda,
and Rauff Hakeem among others.
to visit trouble spots in the east
The SLMC plans to take Japan's special envoy Yasushi Akashi to the
Muslim community in the violence-hit Mutur and Toppur on Tuesday,
General Secretary T. Hassan Ali said.
will be joined by officials of the Japanese Embassy. The Japanese
delegation, along with SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem and several Muslim
Congress MPs, is due to visit refugee camps.
Govt. harassing Police, says PA
By Harinda Vidanage
The opposition is preparing a document to be submitted to the United
Nations Human rights commission in Geneva on the harassment of police
officers by politicians of the UNF government.
Nimal Siripala de Silva who is playing an active role told the Sunday
Times that he would make his case to a committee appointed by the
commission under the UN Human rights commission clause 1503.
to take such action due to the increased political involvement in
harassing the officials who are in charge of maintaining law and
order in the country, this has resulted in a total breakdown in
law and order ", Nimal Siripala said.
He said that
they were already documenting the evidence and recording statements
from the parties who have become victims of this process and even
had opened up a public evidence gathering process as well.
Mr. de Silva
added that the letter written by president Chandrika Kumaratunge
recently, highlighting this matter to the Interior Minister will
add muscle to their case. The UN Human rights commission has already
appointed a five member committee to probe the earlier case he had
presented on the victimization of opposition party members by this
government and had requested the Sri Lankan Embassy in Geneva to
obtain an official response from the UNF government.
Mr. de Silva the embassy had requested the Attorney general to respond
on behalf of the government . He said "I will meet the Attorney
General next week to see the government's response.
said he hoped to present the police harassment case to the Human
rights commission some time later this month.
professionalism in the Police Department
By Tassie Seneviratne
Depoliticising the Police Department, promoting professionalism
within it while making the newly set up National Police Commission
an effective body were the topics discussed at a recent seminar.
Seminar on Promoting Professionalism within the Police Department
was held by the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute at its auditorium
recently. Representatives at decision making levels of the Police
Department, the A.G's Department, eminent legal practitioners, members
of the Judiciary, members of the National Police Commission, retired
Senior Police Officers, and a large gathering of serving Police
Officers of varying ranks, participated in the seminar.
Counsel and National Police Commission Chief Ranjith Abeysuriya,
speaking on the need for Institutional restructuring for professionalism
in the Police service, reiterated that insulation of the Police
Service from political influence is foremost in its role, and explained
how some of its powers such as transfers of all Police Officers,
recruitment to and promotions in the lower ranks had been delegated
to the I.G.P with guidelines set by the Commission.
All that sounded
very good. Achilles Joseph, former D I G and presently an expert
in Human Resources Management, informed the Chairman, N.P.C. that
the rank and file still had reservations about depoliticisation
of the police when it came to practice, and suggested the NPC sends
out a circular informing all ranks of its independence from politicians.
spelling out its role in black and white will enable Police officers
to take up with the NPC any deviation from its guidelines. The NPC
Chairman, however, was not in favour of committing it to a document.
S B W de Silva, taking it up from there, drew attention to a question
that he had raised at the previous seminar on 26th March in regard
to absorption of Police Reservists to the Regular Police.
was simply whether the NPC was aware of such steps presently underway.
The Chairman did not respond to the question and it was obvious
he knew nothing about it. When the question was repeated several
times it was the IGP who responded stating that "modalities
are being worked out in regard to absorption of reservists".
his point that the NPC does not know all what is happening in the
Police Department as regards recruitment and promotions, S.B.W cited
a question by NPC member, Mrs S. L. Ebert that very evening in regard
to recruitment and promotions of women police officers and the answer
given by S/DIG Chandra Fernando, which answer one would expect NPC
members not only to be aware of but also to have approved.
the Chairman NPC of his question on March 26, S B W brought to his
notice a General Order signed by the IGP on the same March 26, 2003,
wherein 94 Police Reservists had been absorbed to the Regular service.
It is now revealed
that the absorptions had been ordered by the I.G.P.as early as 15th
March 2003 but these facts were withheld by the IGP when the question
on 26th March 2003. Of the 94 Reservists thus absorbed.-- 40 are
from the President's Security Division, 24 from the Ministers Security
Division, 05 from the Prime Minister's Security Division, 08 from
Police HQ, and the balance 17 from different Police Stations. No
criteria for absorption had been published and no applications called
to enable others to apply.
It is not clear
whether the IGP had assumed the powers of absorption under powers
delegated to him for recruitment. But then, the Director recruitment
has had no hand in the selection process. Mr S B W de Silva went
on to explain the magnitude of the anomalies that are bound to arise
in the way of displacement of the Regulars from their seniority
reservists who had joined with lesser qualifications, and had lesser
training, but received promotions faster on lower standards will
now be placed above them. There was no reply from the Chairman NPC
as to whether these absorptions had the approval of the NPC or whether
the NPC had laid down guide lines for absorption.
was that any affected police officer could appeal to the NPC and
that the NPC would look into the appeals at that stage. Mr Mahesan
Selvaratnam, former Senior D I G joined in to ask, why wait for
the negative outcome? He too went on to explain the disparity between
Reservists and Regulars and the inherent anomalies that lie ahead
when absorptions are done on parallel levels. Mr Mithra Ariyasinghe,
former Senior D I G adding his bit stressed on the importance of
the NPC having an effective monitoring mechanism to ensure that
its policies and guidelines are followed.
It is as important
that policies and guidelines are sought in areas where there are
none. Good intentions and high hopes of the NPC alone are not enough.
The above mentioned observations came from hard boiled professional
former Senior Police Officers who now have no stakes in the Police
other than public interest and the image of the police, who can
now stand aloof and give the best insight into the workings in the
Police and on Human Resources Management as concerns the Police.
A probe on the
order absorbing the 94 Reservists alone will show that political
influence is still very much alive and that the NPC is deliberately
being kept in the dark. The attitude of the NPC just formulating
policies, laying down guidelines and expecting things to happen
smoothly reminds me of the three wise monkeys who said "I see
no evil", "I hear no evil", "I speak no evil".
That policy is good enough for monkeys. But the enormous task before
the NPC is no monkey-business.
Mr K. Udugampola,
ASP Kandy, informed the Chairman NPC how the authority of the OIC
Stations and ASP Districts is undermined when subordinate officers
are transferred to stations stipulating the branch and position
they are to function.
He explained how the team spirit is broken by this and attributed
this practice to political influence.
It is known
that members of the NPC are engaged full time in other pursuits,
and find little time to devote to affairs of the Police Service.
A question privately aired by many interested observers is, whether
the NPC working only one evening a week can fulfill its enormous