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Sri Lanka & Kohona Gun for UN Budget Post While Press Threatened

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 9 -- Earlier this year, after a backroom process involving Saudi Arabia, the Asia Group at the UN nominated Sri Lanka for its seat on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations.

  Then Sri Lanka named as its representative to SAG General Shavendra Silva, whose battalion is depicted in Ban's own experts' report on Sri Lanka as engaged in war crimes in May 2009.

  Now, Inner City Press has exclusively learned, Sri Lanka is gaining the Asia Group nomination to head the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee, in the person of Palitha Kohona, who also figures in Ban Ki-moon's report and had a described role in luring surrenderees out, where they were killed.

 Beyond Inner City Press' reporting on Silva and Kohona, see this profile of Kohona and war crimes in the Sidney Morning Herald in Australia, where Kohona is also a citizen, click here to view.

  While Sri Lanka has circled the wagons and maintains the Silva is on the SAG, chairperson Louise Frechette has ruled he cannot participate. Silva has been conveniently "out of town" during at least the last two sets of two-day meetings of the SAG. This would not be acceptable on the Fifth Committee.

  Questions are beginning to arise if this is now the right person to head the UN's budget committee. Projects in the UK led to a recent cancellation of a speech with the Queen by Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

  Over this past weekend, his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa the defense minister shouted as an investigative journalist, "the people will kill you!"

  Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman about it, and was told that of course Ban hasn't heard of it. Fifth Committee here we come? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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