Lanka, Stealth Solicitation of Submissions by UN Ban War Crimes Panel
October 20 -- The lack of seriousness of the Panel of Experts on war
crimes in Sri Lanka appointed by UN Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon is exemplified by the “soft launch” of their call for
the submission of evidence.
City Press was forwarded a copy of what seemed to be a UN Panel
notice that evidence could be e-mailed until December 15. But the
notice came from the comments
section of a Sri Lankan website. An
Internet search on the morning of October 20 found the notice on only
at the UN noon
briefing on October 20 Inner City Press asked for confirmation that
this obscure notice did in fact originate from Ban Ki-moon's Panel.
Ban's acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq read a prepared statement
that yes, it was the Panel's notice. He refused to explain where it
has been posted, and why it had been so quiet.
takes place as
rights groups have declined to participate in the Sri
Lankan government's own “Lessons Learnt” panel, and Sri Lankan
minister of external affairs G.L. Peiris in turn calls the human
rights groups “colonialist.” Meanwhile, new pictures
identifiable Sri Lankan military officers leading bound prisoners,
and corpses on the ground, have emerged.
Photo, ICP claims no copyright, UN Panel solicitation not shown
this and other
evidence is submitted to Ban Ki-moon's stealth panel, what will they
do with it? If a Panel meets in secret, and even downplays its own
solicitation of submissions, what is the sound of one hand clapping?
Watch this site.
From one of only two
notices on the Internet, reprinted as a public service:
Panel call for evidence on alleged violations in Sri-Lanka
On 22 June 2010, the UN Secretary-General established a Panel
of Experts to advise him on the issue of accountability with regard
to alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian
law during the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka. The members
of the Panel are Marzuki Darusman, Steven Ratner and Yasmin Sooka.
The Panel officially began its work on 16 September 2010.
Panel will look into the modalities, applicable international
standards and comparative experie nce with regard to accountability
processes, taking into consideration the nature and scope of any
alleged violations in Sri Lanka. The Panel advises the
Secretary-General and is not an investigative or fact-finding body.
Anyone wishing to make submissions in respect of the above
may do so as follows:
1. Organizations and individuals may
make one written submission not exceeding ten pages, and must include
the contact details for the author(s) of the submission.
The Panel will receive submissions until 15 December 2010.
Submissions may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions made to the Panel of Experts will be treated as
Further information may be solicited from the
Panel s Secretariat at the following address:
* * *
with Sri Lanka's
Rajapaksa, UN Won't Answer
2010 -- The UN's
stonewalling on Sri Lanka
expanded on October 1 with the Spokesman for Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon dodging whether Ban reached a private understanding with
President Mahinda Rajapaksa that Rajapaksa could represent what Ban
said in a one on one meeting about the limits of the UN war crimes
“It's up to
individual heads of state” to issue whatever summaries they want,
Spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
did Ban reach
an understanding with Rajapaksa, that he could say things not
included in Ban's own summary of their meeting? Nesirky did not
answer. Video here,
again, as it has for months, for a desciption of Ban's contacts
with Rajapaksa, including before and as Ban became Secretary General.
to provide the answer, Nesirky on October 1 said he
didn't understand the question: a list of meetings? Yes, of meetings
and topics and whether Ban considers Rajapaksa a personal friend.
else to explain
what Ban's adviser Nicholas Haysom called the “abnormal” summary
of the two men's meeting -- which unlike other UN summaries included
the President's as well as Ban's words -- and the separate
understanding about Rajapaksa issuing his own summary?
to explain how the “abnormal” summary of Ban's meeting
with Rajapaksa was produced. Hayson, for one, seemed surprised to see
wouldn't explain how it was produced implies that Nesirky
was not involved in his preparation. Who was, then?
the question of
Ban's son in law Siddarth Chatterjee's involvement in Sri Lanka, with
the Indian army force, Nesirky
deemed it “irrelevant” two weeks
after saying he would answer it. On October 1, Inner City Press asked
if Nesirky had even deigned to ask Ban or his Office about it -- that
is, whether Nesirky had the answer and wouldn't provide it, or didn't
even have the answer. Even this was not answered.
that there are a lot of other issues than Sri Lanka: the
Middle East, Myanmar...
City Press agreed but noted that Sri Lanka is the only
country in which Ban has been burned in effigy - and from which
people protested his speech at a midtown Manhattan hotel -- and that
an “abnormal” summary of his meeting with the President had been
issued, Nesirky asked if Inner City Press was saying that because of
the burning in effigy, the summary was different. Perhaps it was a
I wanted to ask, this is on another inquiry war
crimes, the one in Sri Lanka. I have done a little bit more
reporting and can say that a Sri Lankan diplomat yesterday told me
that President Rajapaksa had an understanding with the
Secretary-General that he could issues his own summary of the
tête-à-tête meeting. That they violated no rules;
that that was
the understanding. I wanted to get your comment on that.
said, it’s up to individual countries. If they wish to
provide a readout of a meeting, it’s for them to do.
there an understanding? That’s the word that he
used to me, that there was an understanding that would be done, but
it wasn’t done, and then the Secretary-General chose not to
comment. The understanding was that it would be done in that way.
I said, this was tête-à-tête meeting. I
wasn’t in the
room. I assume that the diplomat that you refer to was also not in
the room, and I think I will leave it at that.
want to ask, you’ve said that the information about
Ban Ki-moon’s son-in-law’s involvement in Sri Lanka is
irrelevant, although I would encourage you to just answer questions
rather than judge their relevance. But I do want to know whether you
are going to give an answer to this description of the
Secretary-General’s relationship with President Rajapaksa prior to
important to understand precisely: what do you mean by
mean what do you want? A list of the number of times they met
or what? I mean, it’s just not clear to me.
times that they met; the terms on the issues on which
they met about, whether, you know, whether the Secretary-General
considers him a personal friend. All going to this point of whether,
in on extraordinary…, why this, there was an abnormal described by
Haysom as abnormal; and why the Sri Lankan Government is now saying
they had a special understanding with the Secretary-General that
apparently other Governments don’t get when the issue at issue is a
inquiry into war crimes and the killing of 40,000 people. It seems
relevant. But I mean, whether you think it is irrelevant, I have
asked you that. You’d said you’d get it and I don’t have it. And on the
question of the son-in-law, I don’t, have you been told? Have you asked
the Secretary-General’s Office for that information
or have you just not asked him? Do you have it but you don’t want
to tell me or you don’t have it? That’s what I want to know.
logic of that is a little bit confused. On the question
of the Secretary-General’s meetings or otherwise with President
Rajapaksa, the Secretary-General, as you know, before he was
Secretary-General was the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea.
And I will need to check what meetings he may have had in that
if he went on a visit with the President down to
the hometown of the President in southern Sri Lanka.
we can obviously find that out. I mean, you are asking,
we can obviously find out. But I mean, there are a couple of things
here. One is that your focus is on this topic. There are many other
topics that the Secretary-General deals with, whether it’s Myanmar,
or the Middle East or, many topics. And it’s not about homing in
and singling out one particular topic.
no, Mr. Haysom himself said it was abnormal, and I
think if you look at the readouts that your office put out, there is
only one that has a representation of what the country said. It’s
also the only country that burned Ban Ki-moon in effigy since he’s
been in office. So, I don’t think it’s a random, it’s not a
country he picked at random. [inaudible]
think that the readout was done like that because the effigy
was burned, is that what you are saying?
I didn’t say that. I said those are true facts that
make it significant, you can try to minimize it, but many people were
killed, he visited the country [inaudible].
about minimizing, it’s not about minimizing. Don’t
put words into my mouth, Matthew, It’s not…
said there are many other things.
not minimizing. That’s just saying that there are
I asked this question at the beginning of the year,
about his relationship with Rajapaksa, and I asked it two weeks ago
and you’d said you’d get it. So, I don’t want to belabour it,
I just want say…
you’re belabouring it. And if I have something, I’ll
be happy to share it.
it’s easy enough to get that. I mean, it’s not…
it’s easy enough maybe you will have got it already.
but from the Secretary-General. You are his
Spokesman, I am not.