Lanka, UN Panel Delays Report into Next Month, Travel UNclear
January 14 -- On war crimes in Sri Lanka, UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon belatedly set up a Panel of Experts, saying that
their work would be finished, and report provided, by January 15. On
December 17 he announced that the Panel could travel to Sri Lanka,
and thanked President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his “flexibility.”
of Sri Lanka has said visas would only be granted for
Ban's Panel to “make representations” to Rajapaksa's own Lessons
Learnt & Reconciliation Commission. Inner City Press has asked
whom Ban spoke with before his December 17 announcement, and whether
the Panel members or their staff are in fact going to Sri Lanka.
Neither question has been answered.
15 deadline coming, Inner City Press on January 13 asked Ban's
spokesman Martin Nesirky if the Panel will turn in its report on
time, and if they have traveled or will travel to Sri Lanka.
would look into it. While Inner City Press did hear back from
Nesirky's Office for the rest of Thursday, apparently late on
Thursday an answer was inserted into the transcript, as if it had
been given to Inner City Press. (See below). Then on Friday this
Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] un.org
Date: Fri, Jan 14, 2011
at 8:16 AM
Subject: Your question on Sri Lanka
To: Inner City
expects to submit a report sometime in February.
was silently extended, just as it ostensibly extended its deadline
for submission of comments and evidence, after many e-mails bounced
from the Panel's full mailbox and overnight mail packages were
refused, no one to receive them.
this extension would seem to be the visit to Sri Lanka announced by
Ban Ki-moon on December 17. But the UN has refused to say if the
visit will take place, under what agreed conditions, and with whom
Ban spoke before making his announcement. This is flexibility?
UN's Ban and his Panel: no guidance on switch
from Dec. 17 statement
supplemented January 13 transcript:
Press: since there’s no noon briefing tomorrow, I just wanted
to ask....with the Sri Lanka panel, and it was said that the four
months, its work term, expires on 15 January. Is that report going
to be turned in on that date? Has there been any — you know, on
the Secretary-General’s statement of 17 December, that the panel
was going to go to Sri Lanka?
I’ll check on both of them for you, Matthew. Okay, thank you very
much and have a good afternoon.
added that the Sri Lanka panel has been granted an extension
until the end of February.]
* * *
Speaks of “Conditional Visas” for Ban's Panel, UN Switches to
“Potential Visit," No Answer on to Whom Ban Spoke
4 -- Eighteen days after UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon said his Panel on Accountability would go to Sri Lanka, his
spokesman Martin Nesirky now openly called it a “potential visit,”
and refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about who Ban spoke
with before his December 17 announcement, and if even the Panel's
staff would visit Colombo.
and New Years, Nesirky refused to answer six
questions Inner City Press asked each day. Nesirky insisted, as he
did on January 4, that he has “no new guidance” from the Panel.
Inner City Press that "between Christmas and New Years [we had] a
number of exchanges... nothing has changed in the guidance I have for
you." Video here,
That is, that
Ban and his Panel refuse to provide Spokesman Nesirky
with information as basic as who in the Sri Lankan government they
now speaking of “conditional visas” and the Panel being
limited to “making representations” to the Lessons Learnt &
Reconciliation Panel set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose
brother directed military operations during the bloody events in
2009, Nesirky claimed that “we were fairly clear on where things
were, and they remain there.” What?
Spokesman Farhan Haq has twice told Inner City Press that
Ban's Panel's work goes beyond speaking with the LLRC. But then,
without answering any of Inner ity Press' pending questions, he told
BBC's Sinhalese service that perhaps Ban's panel, contrary to what
Ban said on December 17, will NOT go to Sri Lanka.
actually have an agreement from the Rajapaksa administration --
apparently absent its minister of external affairs G.L. Peiris -- for
a less restriction visit to Sri Lanka by his Panel? Or did he agree
that his Panel would only “make representations” to the LLRC
members? This should be clarified, but Ban's spokesmen have refused
to. Watch this site.