Lanka, ICC Prosecution “Could Be an Option” for State Party
December 7 -- With International Criminal Court prosecutor
Luis Moreno Ocampo at the UN on Tuesday, Inner City Press asked him
about the killings in Sri Lanka
and if and when the ICC could take
action. Video here,
from Minute 21:14.
with the obvious, that Sri Lanka is not a state party to the Rome
Statute of the ICC. But as Inner City Press pointed out in its
question, several of those suspected of war crimes in Sri Lanka have
dual citizenship, some with countries that ARE members of the ICC.
if there becomes “clarity that nationals of state parties committed
crimes, that could be an option.” Video here,
from Minute 23:29.
such clarity and addressing this obvious legal and factual question, UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's otherwise defanged Panel of Experts --
which has not even asked to go to Sri Lanka, nor confirmed it will
speak with Sri Lankan military figures posted in the country's Mission
to the UN -- could at least perform some service.
Ocampo & UN's Ban: Panel's discussion o
nationals of ICC state parties not shown
should be noted
that the ICC under Ocampo says it is considered charges against non
state parties, including most recently North Korea / DPRK. While the
ICC can only get involved when local / national judicial processes
fail, the leaked cable by US Ambassador in Sri Lanka Patricia Butenis
are no examples we know of a regime undertaking wholesale
investigations of its own troops or senior officials for war crimes
while that regime or government remained in power. In Sri Lanka this
is further complicated by the fact that responsibility for many
alleged crimes rests with the country's senior civilian and military
leadership, including President Rajapaksa and his brothers and
opposition candidate General Fonseka."
which so upset the Rajapaksa government that Ambassador Butenis
nearly alone among US Ambassadors issued her own press release
seeking to explain it, runs counter to US Ambassador to the UN Susan
Rice's more positive public statement AFTER Butenis' on the ground
assessment of the Rajapaksa run Lessons Learnt process.
Inner City Press asked the speaker at the ICC State Parties event for
Human Rights Watch Rickard Dicker about Sri Lanka. Video here,
“I would look to China... and to Australia and the US to arrest Sri
Lankans in their country who may have committed war crimes.” We'll
* * *
Can't Confirm Will Talk to White Flag Silva, Or Report Will
-- 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?
Press put this question to
Ban's acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq on November 22, the day
after a widely circulated article “'War
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,
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.
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
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?
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.
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?
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.
Do they intend to talk to this individual who is now,
you know, described in a widely [inaudible]?
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…
This is my last question now on that. Is there any idea
yet whether that report will be made public?
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.