UN Can't Confirm Will Talk to White Flag Silva, Or Report Will
22 -- Will the Sri Lanka accountability panel of UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon even ask to interview General Shavendra
Silva, now posted in New York as the country's Deputy Permanent
Representative to the UN?
City Press put this question to
Ban's acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq on November 22, the day
after a widely circulated article “'War
Gets a UN Job.”
permanent representative is an employee of the government of Sri
Lanka, I would refer those questions to the government of Sri Lanka,”
Haq replied. Video here,
Minute 46:08. The government of Sri
Lanka, of course, has arrested and barred entry by journalists
covering war crimes. Haq and the UN have referred those questions to
UNESCO, which has of late said nothing.
asked, since Ban's panel chief Marzuki Darusman is this whole week in
South Korea, how
much time the panel members are putting into their review of Sri
Lanka. Haq replied “they are putting in considerable time,”
adding that “a secretariat putting together information.”
panel even ask to interview Shavendra Silva, who was in charge during
the alleged murder of those exiting with white flags, a process in
which Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar was involved, having only
even purported to explain his role once, to a media now barred by Sri
“As you are
aware we have not been putting out a day by day summary of the people
from whom the panel gets information,” Haq replied. He said the
panel will submit a report to Ban, “then we'll have information.”
report even be public?
Silva glowers - Ban's panel cowers? Answers not seen
Haq said that
Ban Ki-moon will decide. So the
UN cannot even say it will ask to interview Shavendra Silva, and will
in all probability never even make clear if it asked to interview
him. Some panel.
Footnote: that a
sitting General like Silva would come in the Deputy and not Permanent
Representative spot has been marveled at by other diplomats at the UN.
Another DPR has even asked Silva about it.
Monday at the UN Security Council, Silva was not seen. Rather,
Perm Rep Palitha Kohona handed Inner City Press his statement on
"Protection of Civilians," saying "quote from it." Okay: "the
Government policy of zero civilian casualties had a deep impact [on]
the country's professional armed services." Just ask Shavendra Silva --
if you can.
From the UN's
November 22 transcript:
Press: I want to ask you one thing about Sri Lanka. There is a
story in, over the weekend, I guess it’s a confirmation or making
more public that the headline story is “War Criminal Gets UN Job”. So,
I am asking you to respond; the new Deputy Permanent
Representative of Sri Lanka is in fact a general that was allegedly
involved in the killing of the white flag people in which, I believe,
that the Chief of Staff of the Secretary-General had some phone
calls, not in any killing, had some knowledge of — what I wanted to
know is whether, one, whether the UN has any response to a story that
is entitled, at least, “war criminal gets job”; and two, whether
the Secretary-General’s Panel would be interviewing an individual
who is in New York City, entering the building, who is widely now
linked to an alleged war crime?
Spokesperson Farhan Haq: The Deputy Permanent Representative
to the Mission is an employee of the Government of Sri Lanka, so I
would refer those questions to the Government of Sri Lanka.
Press: What about the Panel’s role? I notice that Mr.
[Marzuki] Darusman is today in South Korea. I wanted to get a sense
on that Panel; how much time is actually being put into the Panel by
the three members?
Spokesperson: They’re putting in considerable time, and as
you know, they also have a regular secretariat that is beyond the
three panellists themselves; the secretariat that is putting together
information so that work continues.
Press: Do they intend to talk to this individual who is now,
you know, described in a widely [inaudible]?
Spokesperson: As you are well aware, we haven’t been
putting out a day-by-day summary of the people from whom the Panel
gets information. They will report to the Secretary-General once
they have their advisory report ready. And at that point we’ll
have some information on that. But we don’t have…
Press: This is my last question now on that. Is there any idea
yet whether that report will be made public?
Spokesperson: We’ll have to see. As you know, it is an
internal body, but it will be up to the Secretary-General to
determine what he makes public once he received that information.
* * *
War Criminal Posted as Sri Lanka Deputy, Will Panel Interview Him?
21 -- Sri Lanka's placement as its Deputy Permanent
Representative at the UN of general
Silva, responsible for
many of the war crimes in 2009 which made UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon belatedly name a Panel of Experts, has now been noted
New York tabloid.
ago for an August 25
Inner City Press asked
spokesman Martin Nesirky about the
both the Permanent Representative and the Deputy
Permanent Representative slots of Sri Lanka are being changed. The
DPR spot is empty and one, the person being sent, according to the
Sri Lankan press, was a commander that was in charge of the battalion
that shot surrendering troops that came out with a white flag as
somehow negotiated or spoken to by Mr. Nambiar.
to know is, if these reports in Sri Lanka are true, and if
such individuals that were actively involved in the final stage of
the conflict in Sri Lanka, which is now being investigated by Sri
Lanka and advised in, does the Secretary-General have to accept…when
he says he accepts credentials, is this an automatic rubber stamp? Can
a country send, could Sudan send Ahmed Haroun and that would be
accepted? What’s the Secretary-General’s discretion in holding
those photo-ops and credentials? Does he have the freedom like a
country does to reject someone who is submitted?
On the general point about the procedure, I would need to find
I do not know. But on the specific, I’m not going to enter into
is no longer
hypothetical, and has not been for some time. Ban Ki-moon did
nothing, and now many say that his Panel of Experts is doing nothing.
We do however note that their soliciation of submission has now,
after delay and questions, been put online, here.
Panel says it
will accept and presumably review submission until December 15.
Disturbingly, the Panel has not even asked to go to Sri Lanka, or at
least has not complained about any denial of request. (Early on, the
Rajapaksa government said they would deny any such request -- at
best, Ban's Panel gave in to that; at worse, they didn't even want to
try to go.)
Mahinda Rajapaksa with generals including Silva,
accountability not shown
they have a war
criminal, a man with first hand knowledge, coming into the UN to
represent Sri Lanka. Will they even interview him? Watch this site.
Silva is the only person in the Sri Lanka
mission with such knowledge, that is not the case, not least with
regard to the white flag murders. There are two individuals with
first hand knowledge who can often be found together inside the UN