Lanka War Crimes Panel “Broader than LLRC,” Travel Unclear,
December 23 -- Despite UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
having announced on December 17 that his “Panel of
Experts is now
able to visit Sri Lanka,” now Ban's acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan
Haq says that "We can't confirm if the panel will travel to Sri
Lanka or will meet the LLRC in some other location.”
on December 23 asked Haq to explain what changed since Ban's December
17 announcement, and whether the Panel would speak only with the
Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission, and not for example
with General Sarath Fonseco, who has alleged war crimes.
is broader than dealing with the LLRC,” the UN's Haq said. Video
from Minute 6:55.
refused to say
if the Panel will, as Ban said, travel to Sri Lanka. Haq said that an
announcement will be made. But Haq also said that there will be no UN
noon briefings until January -- thus limiting the chance for
questions and answers.
UN's Ban & Mahinda Rajapaksa, visit and Q&A not shown
asked why the UN, which is open from December 27 to 30, is not
holding noon press briefings on those days. Haq blamed it on
“reporters,” claiming some had “said, do we have to come in
reporters Inner City Press asked about this disagreed, saying that
there should be live Q&A, even if some don't want to come in,
that shouldn't eliminate the chance to get answers. Watch this site.
* * *
Entry Deadline to End of 2010, Trip
Before Jan 15?
UN has quietly extended the deadline for
submission to its Sri Lanka war crimes Panel of Experts until the end
of this month, acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq told Inner City
Press on December 20.
the run up to
the initial December 15 deadline, Inner City Press asked Haq and his
office about bounced e-mails and Federal Express overnight packages
of evidence which the Panel refused or could not receive. Haq said
that he thought an extension would be announced -- but then did not
having received more complaints about packages refused by the Panel,
Inner City Press again asked Haq about the projected extension.
Staring down at note, Haq said it is extended to the end of the year.
Panel will in fact travel to Sri Lanka. Haq said he
had nothing to announced on that, while rephrasing the question to
concern only the Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission.
appears to mean that the Panel will not even be asking to
speak with, for example, ex General Sarath Fonseca, who has indicated
his willingness to testify about war crimes he says were ordered.
UN's Ban & Mahinda Rajapaksa, rejected evidence
and report not shown
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will keep confidential the report of
his Panel on Sri Lanka, Haq said Ban will decide once it is
submitted. Inner City Press asked if the Panel's January 15 deadline
is being extended. They are “on track,” Haq said. If so, the trip
must be soon, and the list of people spoken with would be short.
Watch this site.