Sri Lanka War Crimes, UN's Ban to Name Panel to Advise Only Him, No
Pascoe, Nambiar Nepotism Follow Up
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 5 -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has informed Sri
Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa that he will "name a panel of
experts to advise him, the Secretary General, on the way forward on
accountability issues related to Sri Lanka."
Martin Nesirky included this information in a March 5 response to
questions from Inner City Press, about war crimes, attempted nepotism
and the UN's seeming failure to follow through on the statement that
Lynn Pascoe, top UN political advisor, would visit Sri Lanka in
February. Video here,
from Minute 7:49.
traveling next week to India and Nepal, but not nearby Sri Lanka. On
the night of March 4, when Inner City Press asked
to the UN Gerard Araud why Ban has been so slow to act on Sri Lanka,
Araud said this was due to pressure from member states.
first, then China. He also said that France viewed the Rajapaksa
administration's military offensive in Northern Sri Lanka as a
"welcome" crushing of terrorism. Click here
for that Inner
City Press report.
even the UN called the "bloodbath on the beach," Ban
visited Sri Lanka in May 2009 and issued a statement about
reconciliation with the Tamils and accountability for war crimes. But
in the months that followed he took no action.
Rapporteur Philip Alston publicly urged Ban to appoint an
international panel to investigate presumptive war crimes in Sri
Lanka. These include the urging of LTTE leaders to emerge with white
flags, after which they were executed. Ban's chief of staff, the
Indian diplomat Vijay Nambiar, was a go between conveying the
Rajapaksas' message that emerging with a white flag held high would
March 5, Inner
City Press also asked Nesirky about reports in the Colombo press that
Sri Lanka's foreign minister wrote to a senior UN official,
identified as Nambiar, seeking a job for his own son with the UN
Secretariat. Nesirky said "I'll find out." We'll see.
UN's Ban and M. Rajapaksa: panel of experts will
advise only the former
emphasized to Inner City Press that the panel will only advise Ban,
and not Sri Lanka, it is important to note that what Ban is belatedly
doing about 30,000 deaths in the first half of 2009 is less and later
than what he did for 160 deaths in Guinea in September.
at the UN
many people asked Inner City Press why Ban was doing so little, so
late, why he is "running scared," as one put it. On
Thursday night, France's Gerard Araud attributed Ban's reticence to
pressure from India and China. Did Ban check with these and other
states before belated announcing a self-referential panel of experts?
Watch this site.
* * *
Sri Lanka, UN's Ban Was Lied To, But Pascoe Trip Delay, of Job
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 3 -- The UN's failure to follow through even on what
few commitments it made about Sri Lanka became clearer this week. So
too did the UN's refusal to answer about the perception of conflict
of interest by the Secretary General's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar,
named in an Australian documentary, even as he reportedly fielded a
request from Sri Lanka's foreign minister to give a job to his son.
the week of
Mahinda Rajapaksa's arrest of opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka,
Inner City Press had asked for the UN's response. The response was
that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's top political advisor Lynn
Pascoe would be sent to Sri Lanka by the end of the month, February.
as the month
was almost over, Inner City Press asked, what of the visit? Spokesman
Martin Nesirky said he would check. Days later on March
2, Inner City
City Press: I know time is limited. So, I wanted to ask you the
question about Sri Lanka, if I could. It has been… the President
there, [Mahinda] Rajapaksa, has extended emergency rule even though
this is months after the internal war is supposedly over. He has
extended emergency rule. Former
UN spokesman Gordon Weiss has been
quoted in an Australian TV programme that just aired as saying
essentially that the Secretary-General was lied to by the President.
What he says, and it seems important to nail this down, he says, for
months the Secretary-General was told by the President, of heavy
weapons: “We are not using them. There are no heavy weapons used. When
one leader speaks to another you speak in good faith and accept
assurances. If you are told a barefaced lie, it is very difficult to
work against that.” What I am wondering is, given that the
Secretary-General has said he’s considering appointing some panel
for accountability, he was considering, I believe, if I understand
you correctly, in February, sending Mr. [B. Lynn] Pascoe there. Where
do things stand, particularly given the UN’s own former
spokesman for Sri Lanka saying that the UN was lied to, essentially?
Where things stand [are] where they were before, and what I mean by
that is that, firstly, the Secretary-General has indeed made it clear
that he is looking into the possibility of there being an independent
commission to help [advise the Secretary-General and] the Sri Lankan
authorities to look into the allegations that there are. The second
is on Mr. Pascoe’s announced visit, as it were. We’re still
waiting to find out exactly what the dates are for that.
City Press: Is there any response to what Gordon Weiss has said, that
the communication to the Secretary-General turned out to be patently
I am not going to comment on that.
also spoke with Ban Ki-moon about investigating war crimes, but
nothing has been done. Still, Ban has done nothing about it.
UN's Ban and Nambiar, follow through on Sri Lanka
comes a report in the Colombo media that "a senior Cabinet
minister who has been interacting with the UN during the recent
confrontations has written to a high-ranking UN official -- and on an
official ministry letter head -- soliciting a job for his son in the
has spoken with sources extremely informed about that above quote,
who say it was Sri Lanka's foreign minister, writing to Vijay
Nambiar. On March 3, spokesman Nesirky made a point of disallowing
Inner City Press a second question.
Later on March 3, well placed UN
sources said the push is on for Nambiar to have to leave the chief of
staff post, to be farmed out to covering Myanmar. That would be bad
enough, according to Burma focused NGOs. But to continue to be
involved in any way in Sri Lanka? Watch this site.