Sri Lanka, UN Now Says Panel "Not Very Soon," Response to
NAM, and by UK
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 15 -- Even after the UN says
it will belatedly take
some action about war crimes in Sri Lanka, , it steps back from its
announcement, using as justification a letter whose logic even UN
senior advisers find specious.
week after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
said he "made
clear to President Rajapaksa that I intend to move forward on a
of Experts which will advise me on setting the broad parameters and
standards on the way ahead on establishing accountability concerning
Sri Lanka," now there is no timetable for establishing the
asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky on March 15 about the timing,
and a pro-Rajapaksa letter submitted to Ban by Egypt's Ambassador on
behalf of the Non Aligned Movement. Nesirky, reading from notes,
said that the panel is "unlikely to be established very soon."
He did not respond about the NAM letter. Video here,
City Press asked a senior Ban adviser, who immediately questioned the
logic of the NAM letter. "They will be getting a reply,"
the adviser promised. While he tried to explain the now announced
delay is setting up the panel of experts, one can compare this to the
speed with which Ban named a panel on the killing of 150 civilians in
Guinea on September 28, 2009.
panel was named, investigated and has already reported. By contrast,
on many more killing in Sri Lanka in early 2009, the UN says that its
late announced panel is "unlikely to be established very soon."
UN's Ban and UK's Miliband, NAM letter and
Guinea double standard not shown
on Sri Lanka and war crimes, while UK Foreign Secretary David
Miliband did not, as UK embassies in the U.S. had appeared to promise,
respond to Inner City Press' timely submitted question about the
investigation of and accountability for war crimes -- "If Sri
Lanka refuses to investigate war crimes does UK think the UN should
name a panel of inquiry as in Guinea?" -- the following was
From: Brian.McGuigan, British
To: Inner City Press
Date: Fri, Mar
We're sorry that the Foreign Secretary was not able to answer your
question on Twitter. We'd still like to give you a response from the
British Government, however.
was a war without witness. The UK supports any credible process to
address possible violations of international humanitarian law by both
sides to the conflict. Such a process could advance the prospects of
national reconciliation. Whatever the outcome of the UN process, the
GoSL retains primary responsibility to investigate possible war
crimes committed on its territory and we urge it to do so.
We will have more on this.
Sri Lanka, UN's Ban Restates Concern on Lack of Progress, Unaware
of Job Request
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 8 -- After a weekend during which Sri Lanka's
president and ruling party attacked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
for saying he will
name a panel to advise himself about possible war
crimes in Sri Lanka, Inner City Press asked Mr. Ban for his side of
Ban said " I am concerned with the lack of progress
of the joint statement which both I and President Rajapaksa had
agreed during my visit last year." Ban declined to provide any
further description of the panel or when he will name its members.
and below; video here.
also asked about the acknowledgement over the weekend by Sri Lanka's
foreign minister that he has sought a UN job for his son.
same sources who first told Inner City Press about the minister's
letter say it was addressed to Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar,
Ban replied that he is unaware of the request. He said that the UN
has transparent recruitment procedures, an assertion that many
dispute, including as to the children and sons in law of the top UN
UN's Ban depicted shaking with presidential
brother Basil Rajapaksa, under the gun
is the UN's
transcript of the Q & A:
City Press: Mr. Secretary-General, late last week you spoke with the
President of Sri Lanka, and said that you are going to name a panel,
to advise yourself, on accountability. Over the weekend, the
President said that you had no right to do it and had a very
different read-out of the call than we received, at least the way I
hear it. Can you explain what the purpose of the Panel is and when
you think you’re going to name it? And also the Foreign Minister
of Sri Lanka, also over the weekend, confirmed that he sought a job
for his son with the UN. I wonder if you think that is appropriate,
and is such a job going to be given?
As you said, I had a frank and honest exchange of views with
President [Mahinda] Rajapaksa, Thursday night, last week, over issues
that were of concern to both of us. This included moving forward on
political reconciliation, further movement on the condition of
internally displaced persons, and the establishment of an
accountability process. I am concerned with the lack of progress of
the joint statement which both I and President Rajapaksa had agreed
during my visit last year. I raised this issue and discussed [it]. I
made clear to President Rajapaksa that I intend to move forward on
a Group of Experts which will advise me on setting the broad
parameters and standards on the way ahead on establishing
accountability concerning Sri Lanka. For that purpose, we have
agreed that I dispatch [Under Secretary General of Political Affairs]
Lynn Pascoe in the very near future.
Do you think that it’s appropriate for the Foreign Minister of a
country with which you are dealing with on possible war crimes to be
seeking a job for his son with the UN?
First of all, I am not aware of that particular case of job
application of the Foreign Minister’s son. As a matter of fact,
process will have to be dealt with in a most transparent and
objective manner by the selection committee members. That is what the
United Nations has been [using] as a principle.