In a conflict that has been marked by horrific violence, unknown casualties, widely reported breaches of human rights on both the government and LTTE sides, is mediation of the post-conflict peace possible? The government has claimed military victory, but this provides no guarantee of either peace or justice as the immediate aftermath.
My question to myself (bearing in mind all of those questions about “ripeness” for mediation) is whether mediation is likely when one party has claimed victory (through power) and when that victory follows a sustained conflict that also reignited after a negotiated/mediated peace agreement. The government has already indicated that there will be no external inquiries into human rights abuses and allegations of war crimes, as the domestic legal process can do this.
A couple of recent commentaries explore the challenge faced in “winning the peace” after winning the war:
Mark Magnier in the LA Times:
And Rohan Gunaratna on Open Democracy:
What seems unlikely at this stage is mediation by any external agency or government; or even by a member of SAARC, given the government’s antipathy towards intervention and its perception of bias in the Norwegian process. But what must be of concern to the process and to mediators is the fact that President Mahinda Rajapaksa, speaking in Tamil, said (on the one hand) “we all must now live as equals in this free country” but, on the other, and reported in the Guardian Weekly, that this unity was to be based on Buddhist principles. That seems a shaky start to open dialogue on peace with Hindu and Muslim minorities!