of 2d Term, Ban Still Hasn't Watched Sri Lanka Killing Fields Film,
Called Not Correct
June 21 -- As the film Sri Lanka Killing Fields was screened
Tuesday on the west side of First Avenue in New York, across the
street at the UN Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky if Ban has yet seen the film, and
for the UN's response to its conclusion that Ban has not implemented
the recommendation of his own Panel of Experts on war crimes in the
stating that Ban has not seen the film -- available online including here
-- said that Ban's role is
“something not correctly portrayed in that film.” But when asked
by Inner City Press if even the review of the UN's own actions,
committed to by Ban in April, has in fact begun,
Nesirky said only
that “the process of coordinating between different parts of the UN
system, to ensure that kind of internal look, is being coordinated
between different agency and diff parts of the Secretariat at the
actions to be reviewed are withholding casualty figures, pulling out of
Kilinochchi, and the role of Ban's own chief of staff Vijay Nambiar
in conveying assurances of safety to surrenderees, who were in fact
killed in the so-called White Flag incident.
With whom will Ban
coordinate about that one, some have asked -- Nambiar?
Ban & Mahinda Rajapaksa, Killing Fields and chopper offer not shown
told Inner City Press, “you were there with the Secretary General
in Sri Lanka [in May 2009], you know well yourself it was more than a
whistlestop tour to one refugee camp. You were a witness to that
Yes -- and that's
one of the reasons to be pursuing
these questions, even on the day Ban is slated to get a second five
year term as Secretary General. We'll be covering that as well --
watch this site.
the screening in the Church Center, five men in suits at the back
of the room said they had a stack of Sri Lanka's response to the
film. Inner City Press, on the way to the UN noon briefing, asked for
a copy. “You'll get it afterward,” one of them said, refusing to
provide a copy. It's said that Sri Lankan Ambassador Palitha Kohona
was going to respond. He too was involved in the White Flag incident;
separately the Mission he heads often urges more positive coverage of
Sri Lanka. But
why not provide the response? We'll see.
* * *
As UN Denies Sri Lankan
Copter Offer, Killing Fields
Moved Out of UN
17 -- The UN on Friday denied it has received any
offers for helicopters from Sri Lanka.
air force spokesman air
force spokesman Andy Wijesuriya was quoted that “we have offered
our aircraft” -- Ukraine-manufactured Mi-24 helicopter gunships as
well as Chinese-made Y-12 fixed-wing transporters -- Inner City Press
asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky how the Panel of
Experts' report on war crimes would impact the UN's review of the
Nesirky's office sent this response to Inner City Press:
on Sri Lanka
Date: Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 4:24
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] un.org
Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com
Cc: Martin Nesirky [at] un.org
of gunships, DPKO's Force Generation Service has not yet
received any formal offer from Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan air
force was involved in what even UN under secretary general John
Holmes called the “bloodbath on the beach” in 2009, most recently
depicted in UK Channel 4's “Killing Fields” documentary.
was to be screened inside the UN in New York on June 21, just before
a vote is taken in the General Assembly on Ban Ki-moon getting a
second five year term as Secretary General. (As of June
15, Ban had not watch the film, Nesirky told Inner City Press.)
screening has been moved outside of the UN, to the “Church Center”
across the street. Sri Lankan Ambassador Palitha Kohona told Inner
City Press he was going to attend the screening if it was inside the
UN. Apparently, he will not attend across the street. Of the scenes
of extrajudicial execution, he said one cannot prove who is Sinhalese
and who is Tamil. There is, of course, a sound track. Watch this
* * *
Hasn't Seen Killing Fields Film Nor Reviewed UN
-- The day after the one hour documentary “Sri
was shown on Britain's Channel 4 and the
Internet, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's
spokesman Martin Nesirky a series of questions about the
extrajudicial killings, rapes and UN misdeeds portrayed in the film.
Ban “has not actually seen the documentary” but is “aware of
asked what Ban has done on his commitment back in April to review the
UN's own actions in Sri Lanka. The documentary shows the UN workers
leaving Kilinochchi, covers the extrajudicial execution of two
surrendering Tamil Tiger leaders -- assurances of whose safety were
conveyed by Ban's own chief of staff Vijay Nambiar.
days, that review has not started. When Inner City Press asked Ban
about it on June 6, when he announced his bid for a second five year
term as Secretary General, Ban did not answer that part of the
question. On June 15, Nesirky said that the Secretariat is
with other parts” of the UN system “on how that will actually
re-appointment in the Security Council on June 16, and in the General
Assembly on June 21. Killing Fields may be screened inside the UN in
New York before that process is over. Will Ban has seen it by then? (Click
to view it.)
asked Nesirky if Ban has reconsidered his position that he cannot or
will not follow the recommendation by his own Panel of Experts that
he establish an independent international investigation mechanism
until either Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa government agrees, or the Security
Council, Human Rights Council or General Assembly orders it.
statements but added that for an investigation to have
“administrative and judicial powers,” a vote by one of the three
bodies would be required.
asked if that was an acknowledgment that an investigation like the
Democratic Republic of the Congo Mapping Report could be initiated
without waiting for a Security Council, Human Rights Council or
General Assembly vote.
used a phrase that he has used before: that the Panel of Experts
report “is out there.” So is the documentary The Killing Fields.
But what will Ban Ki-moon do? Watch this site.
UN's June 6, 2011 transcript:
commissioned that Panel of Experts report; then you
said that you couldn’t do any investigation unless an
intergovernmental body orders you to. Ms [Navenethem] Pillay has said
that such a body should be set up. Do you follow in that? And what
steps have you taken on this idea that you would review the UN’s
own performance in the final stages of the conflict? Even your Chief
of Staff has been described in a still murky incident of the killing
of surrendering fighters. So I was wondering: have you taken any
steps in the forty days since you said that to do that?
must have read all the recommendations of the
Panel’s report. Most of the recommendations of the Panel’s report
concern steps which the Sri Lankan Government needs to take. Beyond
what I can do within the UN to review its actions during the final
stage of conflict, much will depend on the Government of Sri Lanka
and the Member States who have been studying this report. Addressing
the issue of accountability will be an essential step towards lasting
peace and stability in the country. And I will continue to discuss
this matter with the Sri Lankan leadership so that they will
implement fully the recommendations in this Panel’s report. First
and foremost, proper action is needed to be taken by the Sri Lankan
Government. That’s what the international community really wants.
Again, another one is that I am still awaiting the response of the
Sri Lankan Government. I am checking almost every day, every week so
that they will send their response as soon as possible. That can give
me further review on their response.
* * *
UN “staff were not in the
position to assess” the number of casualties in 2009, Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky told the Press on
April 27, as they had to withdraw because the Government said
security could not be guaranteed.
2009, a detailed UN
document it obtained reported that the "minimum number of
documented civilian casualties since 20 January 2009, as of 7 March
2009 in the conflict area of Mullaitivu Region [is] 9,924 casualties
including 2,683 deaths and 7,241 injuries.”
leaked document, and here
for Inner City Press' report
exclusively published it.
Affairs casualty figures. It now appears, including based on
statements by staff who have since left the UN, that Ban's UN
consciously decided to withhold and once leaked deny the casualty
information it WAS in the position to compile.
to Ban the
previous day, said that this topic and others will now be reviewed
the UN, by Ban and his senior advisers.
Nambiar, who was involved
in the White Flag killings which appear in the UN report at Paragraph
171, will be one of the senior advisers involved in the review.
at the full range of topics contained” in the report.
to play any
role in the review of an incident he was involved in? The answer
should have been, and should be, no -- but hasn't been.
Nesirky would not say, but
acknowledged that there is a public interest in it. With 40,000
civilians reportedly killed, yes there is a public interest.
only be investigated if the Rajapaksa government consents or members
states vote for it in an intergovernmental forum, Ban when he
reported on Sri Lanka to the UN Security Council on April 26 did not
even ask them to schedule a vote on the recommendation for an
investigation of war crimes. We'll have more on this.
executed when they surrendered to the
SLA. In the very final days of the war, the head of the LTTE
political wing, Nadesan, and the head of the Tiger Peace Secretariat
Pulidevan, were in regular communication with various interlocutors
to negotiate surrender. They were reportedly with a group of around
300 civilians. The LTTE political leadership was initially reluctant
to agree to an unconditional surrender, but as the SLA closed in on
the group in their final hideout, Nadesan and Pulidevan, and possibly
Colonel Ramesh, were prepared to surrender unconditionally. This
intention was communicated to officials of the United Nations and of
the Governments of Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States,
as well as to representatives of the ICRC and others. It was also
conveyed through intermediaries to Mahinda, Gotabaya and Basil
Rajapaksa, former Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona and senior
officers in the SLA.
[sic?] provided assurances
that their surrender would be accepted. These
were conveyed by intermediaries to the LTTE leaders, who were advised
to raise a white flag and walk slowly towards the army, following a
particular route indicated by Basil Rajapaksa.[sic?]
Requests by the LTTE
for a third party to be present at the point of surrender were not
granted. Around 6.30 a.m. on 18 May 2009. Nadesan and Pulidevan left
their hide-out to walk towards the area held by the 58th Division,
accompanied by a large group, including their families. Colonel
Ramesh followed behind them, with another group. Shortly afterwards,
the BBC and other television stations reported that Nadesan and
Pulidevan had been shot dead. Subsequently, the Government gave
several different accounts of the incident. While there is little
information on the circumstances of their death, the Panel believes
that the LTTE leadership intended to surrender.
received, more than 60 hours later.
We will have more on this. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb .26 UN debate
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.