UN's Ban Delays Bhutto Report 15 Days for Pakistan, Amid Dodges
on Who Sees It, Doubts Grow
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 30 -- The release of a UN panel's report on the murder
of Benazir Bhutto was stopped on Tuesday, based on a request from the
President of Pakistan to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Ban's
spokesman Martin Nesirky told the Press that the report will now be
released on April 15.
Inner City Press and others asked
if the report
would in the interim be shown to Pakistan, and if it could be changed
before April 15. Video here,
from Minute 11:15.
said, and his associate Farhan Haq later reiterated, that the report
had not and will not be shown to Pakistan before April 15. But
already there are quotes
from "a U.N. official who has been
briefed on the independent commission's report" that it faults
the Pakistani "government for scrubbing down the crime scene
after the killing."
City Press asked Nesirky if anyone in the Secretariat has seen the
final or a draft of the report. "Pass," Nesirky said. "I
don't know." Inner City Press asked if he would find out. He
said he would "if the information is available to be publicly
disclosed." Video here,
from Minute 26:51.
these circumstances, of quotes from UN officials "briefed"
about the report, and a refusal to answer which UN staff have seen or
been briefed on the report, suspicious grow that the report will be
changed, that such changes are the purpose of the 15 day delay.
UN's Ban and Zardari, Bhutto report, pre and post, not shown
the case of Sri
Lanka, Ban allowed the protests of Sri Lanka to
delay, and then give a seat to Sri Lanka's ambassador, in setting up
a panel of experts to advise him about war crimes in Sri Lanka.
the case of Pakistan, even once a report was finished, Pakistan's
president was able to get release delayed for two weeks, and no
assurances have been given that the report will not be changed.
UN loses credibility daily, on these panels and reports, and also on
elections, to which we will shortly turn. Watch this site.
the UN's transcript:
City Press: Has anyone in the Secretariat, not just the
Secretary-General, has anyone in the Secretariat seen either the
final or draft report? And will you tell us between now and 15 April
if anyone in the Secretariat, the Secretary-General or otherwise,
sees the report? Is that something that you can, given the doubts
that may come to exist about whether it was changed?
Nesirky: If I am at liberty to tell you, then I will.
City Press: If you are not at liberty, will you tell us that you are
not at liberty? I mean… [laughter]
Spokesperson: That’s called the moral
maze. What I mean is, if I am told I am
at liberty to tell you, then I will of course tell you. Do you
understand what I mean?
City Press: I suppose so. But then, so then… So, on the 15th then
we’ll ask you, did anyone see it, and then you will answer that?
Spokesperson: Sure. Look, as you know, the
commissioners have been working to put
together the report, and they have worked extremely hard to put it
together. They have worked with a team, and those people have been
providing the technical assistance, if you like, to compile the
City Press: And the team are paid by the UN or are UN staff? Who is
Spokesperson: Pass. I don’t know.
City Press: Can you find…?
Spokesperson: This is an independent
City Press: Staffed by the UN or DPA or no…?
Spokesperson: As I said, the three
commissioners, as you well know, they have
travelled to the region; they have had support in doing so.
City Press: Right. But I just want to be like… is it, has there
been any UN Secretariat staff involvement in staffing their work or
arranging their travel? You see what I mean? It’s called
independent, but who is actually doing the background for them?
Spokesperson: The Commission is
independent. It was established by the
Secretary-General, at his request. And the report is being provided
to him. So, clearly, assistance will have been provided to help them
to provide the report. The exact details, I don’t know the exact
details. I am just telling you that they have been helped with the
logistical support to compile the report.
City Press: [inaudible]… maybe, you may not know it right now. But has
anyone -- just the same question that I asked -- has anyone
in the Secretariat seen the final report ready to be delivered, or a
draft of the report?
Spokesperson: I don’t know that.
City Press: Will you commit to find that out or say if you can say
Spokesperson: If the information is
available to be publicly shared, then I will
do so, okay? I think you understand what I can do and what I cannot
do. I try to do my best, okay? Yes.
* * *
UN's Sri Lanka Panel, Nambiar Meets with Kohona, "Two Foxes,"
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 24 -- The UN's
panel on accountability for war crimes
in Sri Lanka is being put together by Secretary General Ban
chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, with his already controversial role in
the final stage of the "bloodbath on the beach" and the
Rajapaksa government's UN representative Palitha Kohona, Mr. Ban told
the Press on Wednesday.
full week after Mr. Ban
said there would be "no delay" in putting together
the panel, Inner City Press asked him what had in fact been done.
from Minute 7:54. Mr. Ban replied that he is "in
the process of identifying persons" for the panel of experts.
cabinet has been meeting with Sri Lanka's Ambassador here," Mr.
Ban said. Video here, from Minute 8:29, UN transcript
Vijay Nambiar's role in Sri Lanka became more and more controversial
as 2009 progressed, including him telling surrendering LTTE leaders
that if they came out with a white flag they would be fine. They
were, in fact, shot and killed -- at the order of the Rajapaksas,
according to now imprisoned general Sarath Fonseka.
Rapporteur on Summary Execution Philip Alston has submitted questions
to the Sri Lankan government, Nambiar himself is at least a witness.
Why is he putting together the panel on accountability?
UN's Ban and NAMbiar, Kohona and accountability not
most recently, is reported to have given food baskets and $100
dollars to pro-Rajapaksa protesters who denounced Ban Ki-moon in
front of the UN twelve days ago.
instrumental in the Non Aligned Movement's letter to Ban contesting
his jurisdiction to appoint the panel. India's representative at the
NAM meeting at issue has told Inner City Press that at the end of the
meeting, essentially as people were leaving, Kohona asked for a NAM
letter to Ban. In the moment, no one objected, and the letter was
are the two
people putting together the panel to advise Ban Ki-moon on
accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka. It is, one close observer
told Inner City Press, like "two foxes studying the hen house."
Watch this site.
Inner City Press also asked China's new UN Ambassador Li Baodong for
his views on Ban's panel and the NAM letter. Video here,
While Li Baodong answered Inner City Press' question on
Myanmar, saying that its elections are a "matter of sovereign
states that should be respected," he pointedly declined to
answer Inner City Press' question on Sri Lanka, and walked away from
the microphone. Video here,
from Minute 4:34.
24 UN transcript:
City Press: a week ago you'd said on the Sri Lanka panel or board on
accountability that there'd be no delay. So a week's gone by, I want
to know if anything's been done in that regard in that week?
Ban: I'm in the process of identifying persons who can work in the
panel of experts. My chef de cabinet has been meeting with the Sri
Lankan ambassador here and they are now in the process of making a
move on this, and I expect that Mr. Lynn Pascoe will be able to visit
Sri Lanka in the near future to discuss all the matters.