Senior public officials do not need prior permission to take pro-active decisions and pre-emptive actions about issues that falls under their statutory duties. However, from the evidence that is available there appears to have been a systems failure that went beyond the two individuals who have been charged. This includes the exclusion of the prime minister, deputy defense minister and police chief from the National Security Council meetings after the abortive attempt at a constitutional overthrow of the elected government and the failure to hold meetings of the National Security Council in the period leading to the bombings.
In these circumstances, the pinning of blame for the failure to stop the Easter Sunday bombings on former Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara feels unfair. We believe that it will be useful to apply Systems Thinking which can help us see that what may seem an isolated problem is actually part of interconnected network of related issues. Ignoring this interconnectedness will lead to many unintended negative consequences for Sri Lanka in the short and long term. Quick fixes do not help in the long term.
The National Peace Council calls on the government to come up with a comprehensive report speedily on the factors that lie behind the Easter Sunday bomb attacks and to identify the loopholes in the national security system prior to deciding on which individuals to target to punish. It is possible that persons higher in the chain of command may also be held accountable. In particular, we call on the President, Prime Minister and Opposition leader to put political motivations aside and to jointly formulate an accountability process that will punish the guilty and rectify the systemic shortcomings that led to the tragedy of Easter Sunday.
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organization that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.