Statement made by Hon. Jayantha Jayasuriya, PC, Attorney General at the 7th Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption on 9th November 2017, Vienna

Agenda Item 2: Review of the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption

Madam Chair,
Distinguished delegates,

Today’s discussion on the review of implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption is an appropriate moment to highlight the positive aspects with regard to the overall assessment of implementation of the Convention, the effectiveness of the process and mechanism as well as the measures that are being taken to implement the provisions of the Convention in my own country, Sri Lanka.

First, let me stress that the Convention against corruption provides anuniversally accepted legal framework for combating corruption. A holistic approach covering all relevant institutions at all levels is necessary to meet the challenges in giving full effort to achieve all goals. As emphasized in our main statement at this conference, Sri Lanka remains fully committed to implementing all the provisions of the convention in an effective and meaningful manner.

In allefforts that we undertake as States Parties and stakeholders, aimed at promoting the objectives of the Convention and pursuing effective follow up, we are no doubt bound together by the shared goal of achieving a world, which is free of corruption and a culture which inculcates the value of honesty and integrity in everyone, in particular in youth and children.

It is in this context, Madam Chair, that we value the innovative, useful, and practical contributions that the Implementation Review Mechanism established under the Convention have made towards the efficacious advancement of the objectives of the Convention. It remains aunique mechanism, which isnon-intrusive and persuasive,which is proactively supported by a Secretariat which emphasizes the importance of, and ensures, inclusive participation and dialogue. This, combined with a built-in peer review system, which is broadly representative of different legal systems, is a laudable achievement of the global anti-corruption community, in the direction of achieving a corruption-free world and integrity-centered culture and governance.

We are pleased that the Implementation Review Mechanism has demonstrated its value exceeding our expectations. It can be looked up to as an appropriate model for other treaties covering crime prevention and criminal justice.

The review of implementation by Sri Lanka, of Chapter III (Criminalization) and Chapter IV(International Cooperation) of the UN Convention against Corruption was completed by the Implementation Review Mechanism in 2014. Of the remaining chapters, as agreed by the 6th Conference held in St. Petersburg, the implementation of Chapter II (Prevention) and Chapter V (Asset Recovery) has been reviewed following the submission of the completed Self-Assessment Checklist by Sri Lanka this year as one of the first countries selected for the second five year cycle. Our experience from active participation in the two review cycles has been both rewarding and enlightening.

We have identified through this productive engagement action pointsin the policy, legal, legislative and executive domains. While embarking in the progressive transitioning of CIABOC, by further enhancing its capacity to be a fully fledged, premieranti-corruption institution in Sri Lanka,we have initiated progressive changes and have made headway in the following importantareas:

i. Upon the approval given by the Cabinet of Ministers recently, we have initiated the process of developing a National Plan of Action on anti-corruption, which we expect to complete by the first quarter of 2018.
ii. We have already held consultations with a view to criminalizing acts which the Conventionprescribes as criminal offences. This includes, for instance, bribery of foreign officials; trading of influence; bribery in the private sector; non-declaration of assets; campaign-financing, etc.

iii. Sri Lanka has already enacted Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses Act No. 04 of 2015 and Right to information Act No. 12 of 2016.

iv. We are in the process of establishing a fully equipped Prevention Unit and Expert Investigation Unit within the Commission. The Government has approved the proposal to recruit eligible graduates as Prevention Officers.

v. Sri Lanka has also achieved constitutional recognition of the Convention in the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which has further strengthened CIABOC as anindependent and credible institution.
Theseare a few among many that have been accomplished or are on the anvil.

Madam Chair,
As I have outlined earlier in my statement, our strong commitment and the relentless pursuit, to combat the phenomenon of corruption including through marshalling of all our resources and efforts, with international cooperation,remain. We are making steady progress in translating the action points that entailed from our participation in the review processes held.

I thank you, Chair.

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