Is the next plan to have the Judiciary take over Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka has been a guinea pig since colonial times experimenting “democracy”. Since post-independence we have been thrown numerous challenges to test us. These have enabled more “tests” to be thrown at us. Unfortunately, those we presume as leaders have failed us. Every new test has been daunting to the masses. The campaigns are now clear. The Executive & the Legislative are failures. This is the message being repeatedly drilling into us to create a psychological barrier to oppose politicians. This automatically should raise the question, whether the next move is to influence the 3rd pillar and requires us to evaluate the funding and effort gone into remotely control the Judiciary electronically & tap into the legal fraternity to be crowned to take over. Are the lawyers scrambling to clap and cheer aligned to this hidden objective? Why would USAID spend $2b since 1961 if there was no ulterior motive?
Finance Minister Sabry meets USAID, US State Dept & IMF officials in US
US Commends Justice Minister Ali Sabry’s “Access to Justice” mobile service
Commended Minister for successful completion of Legal & Humanitarian endeavor providing ‘Access to Justice’ mobile service launched from Northern Province (what about the other provinces)
Minister updated on progress made on law reforms, court infrastructure, empowerment of Judiciary & steps to provide service to North by the Office of Missing Persons, Office of National Unity & Reconciliation, Office of Reparations & other institutes under Justice Ministry.
US funds $15m Case File system for AG’s department plus training centre (US company)
Electronic system to track cases & legal files
Training facility for AG’s dept
Electronic file management system & file tracking
Attending event: AG Dappula De Livera / Justice Yasantha Kodagoda / Acting Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam / Secretary Ministry of Justice M M P K Mayadunne / DCM Kelly & USAID Director Reed Aeshliman.
If the system has been designed by US – it means US will have backoffice access to all the legal cases in Sri Lanka.
The US firm has advertised for an expert to be selected by USAID
USAID funds mobile app for Sri Lankan lawyers of Colombo Law Society
Colombo Law Society Members given a mobile application with access to online legal resources & court calendars.
CLS is affiliated to the BASL & has over 4000 attorneys in Colombo.
Attending launch: Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya
USAID supporting civil society to advance transparent governance, rule of law & gender equality
The same US company tasked create a Case File System for the AG’s department has been given a project titled “Increased Demand & Engagement for Accountability” (IDEA) to empower people to participate and advocate for inclusive people-centred approach to development.
Aims of Project
Integrate gender equality, youth, diversity
IDEA will support civil society organizations in SL
IDEA to strengthen organizational capacity of civil society organizations in SL
Grants to civil society vary from $25,000 to $90,000
“objective of the grant is of a religious nature”
Colombo Law Society launches Hulftsdorp Law Journal
Online legal training, strategic and practical tools for attorneys and law students.
Dec 2018 – USAID partners govt to strengthen Judiciary
USAID assists Ministry of Justice, BASL, Legal Aid Commission, Provincial Bar Association, Educational & Research Institutions & key NGOs to strengthen judicial integrity & improve court administration.
USAID’s Coherent, Open, Response & Effective (CORE) Justice Program with Rs.4.5b allocation.
USAID to support modern technology, training, reforms for a modern justice system to be implemented by Chemonics International Inc costing $15m (Sept 2021-July2025)
USAID’s Country Development Cooperation Strategy
USAIDs foreign policy goals to build a sustainable democratic state. Strengthening partnership between State & Citizens.
USAID to create Public Private Alliances to attract investment to conflict-affected areas for livelihood opportunities.
USAID to enhance workforce skills & productivity of enterprise to support regional economic development
USAID partners with the Department of Defense (DOD) (Pacific Command humanitarian assistance, Section 1207 funds, and Foreign Military Financing); Department of Justice (DOJ) (International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program); Department of State (DOS) (Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau, Bureau of Political- Military Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, and U.S. Embassy); and USAID (Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Special Programs to Address Needs of Survivors (SPANS), Development Grants Program (DGP), and Complex Crises Fund (CCF)).
United States Pacific Command’s (PACOM) Civil Military Support Element (CMSE). CMSE conducts a variety of infrastructure, humanitarian assistance, demining, and training activities in the North and East
March 2014 – BASL hosted National Law Conference attended by over 300 on Notarial Law & Conveyancing, Industrial Law, Electronic Transactions Act, Banking & Finance Law, Jurisdiction & Procedure – Provincial High Courts, Intellectual Property, Court Craft, Company Law, Civil Law, Environmental Law, Fundamental Rights.
March 2014 – Legal Aid Commission to train court stenographers in English
Training through NAITA & USAID’s CSI.ROL staff to work with Legal Aid Commission to determine participants
USAID’s CSI.ROL to strengthen BASL’s evidence-based legal & policy reform, case management & gender integration
Both will work with universities, CSOs, private sector & civil servants from select govt ministries to research justice system. MDPI recruited Christine Quirk for this initiative
National survey on public perception of legal system given to Lanka Market Research Bureau (BASL & LMRB)
Colombo Law Society Law Library – bids taken to upgrade books, bar coding, renovations.
Access to legal services for marginalized communities by Legal Aid Commision & BASL.
MOU between Millennium DPI & BASL signed on 6 Feb 2014
March 2014 – Subgrants to NGOs
USAID requested the Request for Applications to not be publicized
RFA focused on campaigns aimed at populations that had difficulty in accessing legal aid system, IDPs, women, children, hill country communities, migrant workers, disabled and slums
Millennium DPI consultant is former Norwegian Refugee Council staffer who set up Legal Aid Commission field offices in North. (Isaac Robinson)
March 2014 – USAID CSI.ROL team assists’ Legal Aid Commission staff to develop a project proposal for Legal Officers Court Skills Training for 9 provinces.
Training covers daily skills for legal officers in framing evidence, witness testimony, court pleadings. Legal Aid Commission identified K. Neelakandan and Kalinga Indatissa to develop course manual with help of Isaac Robinson.
USAID-Civil Society Initiatives to promote the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka
USAID contracted Millennium DPI Partners to launch this project across 3 years (Sept 2013-Sept2016)
BASL, Legal Aid Commission, provincial bar associations, educational & research institutions, CSOs were associated with this program.
Year 1 – to build capacity of BASL & relations with international bar associations to enable BASL to raise funds, improve member services, provide statistical reports & reforms. Legal Aid Commission to be assisted to expand legal assistance & partner with NGOs & CSOs. The program will provide funding for legal aid organizations & NGOs. Partnerships with private sector organizations also.
The team selected by USAID was to locate at BASLbuilding.
Full details of the BASL-USAID partnership is available including locals linked to the project & grants given including MOU with BASL & MDPI https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00MGTK.pdf
April 2014 – USAID CSI.ROL team & Legal Aid Commission hold team building
Public awareness and outreach to migrant workers and families
Mediation skills training for legal officers
Remand and bail legal services support
Plantation workers’ legal awareness and outreach
Stenographer training (see Component 3 above re: stenographer training)
LAC administrative staff training on IT and administrative processes.
April-June 2014 – NED & BASL
National Endowment for Democracy funds BASL & Solidarity Centre for provincial bar association lawyers
Legal Aid Commission annual training of 78 legal aid field offices attended by 120
Attending: Chief Justice / USAID Director / Justice Shiranee Thilakawardena / Attorney General
May 2014 – BASL & USAID
Labor Law Symposium
Training on forensics in criminal cases to be extended to judges & prosecutors
BASL co-hosts national conference on labor migration, forced labor & trafficking with Solidarity Centre
February 2014 – BASL Scholarships to University of Colombo Masters of Law Program
20 scholarships to be granted by USAID
In 2007 USAID funded a massive Anti-Corruption program involving GoSL, BASL, NGOs, CSOs, Private Businesses and civilians. Its 2022 and corruption exists but what was the real objective of bringing these parties together & getting access to so much information?
The MCC got a thumbs up from AG during the previous regime when present CJ was the AG.
Look at the scale of involvement by US in our judicial system from the AG’s dept, to the law students, to the legal members and even the Judiciary. In a space of 15 years, from case files, cases, records to books to training is open to the US.
Shenali D Waduge