UN's Sri Lanka Panel, Nambiar Meets with Kohona, "Two Foxes,"
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 24 -- The UN's
panel on accountability for war crimes
in Sri Lanka is being put together by Secretary General Ban
chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, with his already controversial role in
the final stage of the "bloodbath on the beach" and the
Rajapaksa government's UN representative Palitha Kohona, Mr. Ban told
the Press on Wednesday.
full week after
said there would be "no delay" in putting together
the panel, Inner City Press asked him what had in fact been done.
from Minute 7:54. Mr. Ban replied that he is "in
the process of identifying persons" for the panel of experts.
cabinet has been meeting with Sri Lanka's Ambassador here," Mr.
Ban said. Video here, from Minute 8:29, UN transcript
Vijay Nambiar's role in Sri Lanka became more and more controversial
as 2009 progressed, including him telling surrendering LTTE leaders
that if they came out with a white flag they would be fine. They
were, in fact, shot and killed -- at the order of the Rajapaksas,
according to now imprisoned general Sarath Fonseka.
Rapporteur on Summary Execution Philip Alston has submitted questions
to the Sri Lankan government, Nambiar himself is at least a witness.
Why is he putting together the panel on accountability?
UN's Ban and NAMbiar, Kohona and accountability not
most recently, is reported to have given food baskets and $100
dollars to pro-Rajapaksa protesters who denounced Ban Ki-moon in
front of the UN twelve days ago.
instrumental in the Non Aligned Movement's letter to Ban contesting
his jurisdiction to appoint the panel. India's representative at the
NAM meeting at issue has told Inner City Press that at the end of the
meeting, essentially as people were leaving, Kohona asked for a NAM
letter to Ban. In the moment, no one objected, and the letter was
are the two
people putting together the panel to advise Ban Ki-moon on
accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka. It is, one close observer
told Inner City Press, like "two foxes studying the hen house."
Watch this site.
Inner City Press also asked China's new UN Ambassador Li Baodong for
his views on Ban's panel and the NAM letter. Video here,
While Li Baodong answered Inner City Press' question on
Myanmar, saying that its elections are a "matter of sovereign
states that should be respected," he pointedly declined to
answer Inner City Press' question on Sri Lanka, and walked away from
the microphone. Video here,
from Minute 4:34.
24 UN transcript:
City Press: a week ago you'd said on the Sri Lanka panel or board on
accountability that there'd be no delay. So a week's gone by, I want
to know if anything's been done in that regard in that week?
Ban: I'm in the process of identifying persons who can work in the
panel of experts. My chef de cabinet has been meeting with the Sri
Lankan ambassador here and they are now in the process of making a
move on this, and I expect that Mr. Lynn Pascoe will be able to visit
Sri Lanka in the near future to discuss all the matters.
* * *
Sri Lanka, UN Puts Spin on "No Delay," Jabs at NAM, Will
Fonseka Meet Pascoe?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 18 -- Amid charges by the UN that the Non Aligned
Movement's letter defending Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa government was not
agreed to by all NAM member, notably India, the UN is insisting
there is no contradiction between its statements about a panel to
advise Ban Ki-moon about approaches to war crimes in Sri Lanka.
March 18, Inner
City Press asked Ban's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq about his quote
that the panel would not be established very soon and Ban's
statements that there would be "no delay."
seems contradictory," Inner City Press began. "By many you
mean you?" demanded Farhan Haq. Video here,
from Minute 7:55.
after the briefing, a number of UN correspondents who neither ask nor
write about Sri Lanka approached Inner City Press to say they too
found it confusing, no delay but not very soon.
square the comments by saying no delay in considering the terms of
reference. Presumably Ban considered this before informing Mahinda
Rajapaksa he was going to name the panel. Again, timing in this
regard should be compared to Guinea, where the September 2009 killing
of 150 civilians has already triggered a UN panel, terms of reference
and investigation long completed. No delay?
advisors have told Inner City Press that they are mad at the NAM
letter, claiming that India for example did not agree to the letter.
Inner City Press is inquiring. For now, Inner City Press has obtained
the NAM letter -- the Sri Lankan Mission to the UN declined to provide
it to the press -- and puts it online here.
Ban and Basil Rajapaksa depicted with gun, delay and
NAM not shown
as the "no
delay" panel may in fact be intentionally delayed past Sri
Lanka's April election, so too many the trip of Ban's envoy Lynn
Pascoe. The question is, will Pascoe as least ask for, and hold out
to receive, permission to meet with Sarath Fonseka, the imprisoned
opposition candidate and former general? One cynic pointed to the UN
asking to meet in Myanmar with Aung San Suu Kyi.
advisor said that the Sri Lanka "case calls out of
investigation" even more than Guinea, in that the "general
who shot the gun at people with white flags" is saying he was
ordered to. But what about the UN official, Ban's chief of staff, who
told them to come out with white flags, that it would be ok? Watch