on Gaza UN's Ban Speaks of Terms of Reference, 3 Month Delay on Sri
Lanka Panel, Kohona in Israel Probe
June 6 -- Six days after Israel killed nine people on a ship
headed to Gaza, the UN put out a note to the Press that Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon was conferring with the prime ministers of Israel
and Turkey "to ensure that any investigation has the full
cooperation of the countries most closely concerned. He is also
developing possible terms of reference and logistical arrangements
for such an effort."
Ki-moon's recent track record on developing such terms of reference? It
has now been over three months since Ban announced he would name a
panel of experts about possible war crimes during the final phase of
the conflict in Sri Lanka last year, in which tens of thousands of
civilians were killed.
yet,on Sri Lanka Ban
Ki-moon has yet to name a single member of the promised group of
experts, nor to announce the terms of reference.
When asked by
City Press how the allegations of the International Crisis Group
about the UN's own role in pulling out of civilians areas,
ineffectually seeking a ceasefire and funding internment camps would
be investigated, as well as issued concerning his chief of staff
Vijay Nambiar's role in convincing to surrender rebel leaders who
were then killed, Ban said he rejects all such allegations.
the assurances of safety were provided to him by Sri Lanka's
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa and
current Ambassador to the UN Palitha Kohona. (Kohona has
timing to Inner City Press.)
named Kohona to lead a separate investigation of Israel's
treatment of Palestinians. Only at the UN.
be out of New York on that ironic work from June 8 through 19. Given
that Ban and Nambiar have given Kohona full access to the delayed
process at every stage, does this mean that even after three months,
Ban will wait at least another 12 days?
UN's Ban views internment camps May 09- Sri Lanka,
Gaza not shown
City Press on June 4 asked the UN's top humanitarian about
ICG's charges, the pull out from Kilinochchi, the funding of
internment camps, as well as OCHA's having stopped reporting the
numbers of civilians killed following government complaints about the
leaking of these figures to Inner City Press.
Holmes issued a rote
defense -- video here
-- and said an international inquiry is not
required. There is a history here.
Off camera, Holmes told Inner City
Press he is leaving at the end of August, and that the UK's new
government is not reducing aid, only wanting to measure its efficacy.
But will the new government be satisfied with the OCHA post? Watch
* * *
Kohona Denies Assuring UN's Nambiar Rebels Would Not Be
Executed, Qorvis told Peiris to Leave NPC
May 28 -- Before surrendering Tamil Tiger leaders were shot
to death last year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Vijay
Nambiar says he was assured they would be treated like normal
prisoners of war by Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and
Palitha Kohona, currently Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to
May 28, Mr.
Kohona told Inner City Press that he never provided such assurance.
Since this differs from what Vijay Nambiar told Al Jazeera -- see Al
below -- Inner City Press inquired further.
said that he spoke to Nambiar "the day after" --
presumably, the day after Nambiar conveyed the two Rajapaksas'
assurances to the LTTE leaders, leading to their surrender and death.
ask you to
report my denial," Kohona told Inner City Press. "And say
that the other two, you did not have the opportunity to ask."
Inner City Press pointed out to him, the questions might well have
been put to the Rajapaksas' Minister of External Affairs G.L. Peiris,
but Kohona denied or ignored Inner City Press' request to interview
Washington DC, Peiris had been scheduled to take questions at the
National Press Club but walked out before answering a single
question. A witness says that just prior to the event, Peiris was
audibly told by his and the Rajapaksas' public relations advisors at
Qorvis that Peiris might face some "unfair" questions."
So Peiris immediately left.
But Peiris should
answer detailed questions, if he is the country's Minister of Foreign
Affairs. That is why Inner City Press, hearing of the Sri Lankan
Mission's invitation to journalists who have never written about the
conflict to wine and dine with Peiris, asked instead to interview
changed your attitude," Kohona said. "Now that you want me
out... maybe I'm going to have to change my approach."
UN's Ban and Kohona, assurances and
allegations denied, outside inquiry opposed
is repetitively sending to Inner City Press letters meant to
discourage questioning, right before the UN noon briefings. On May
28, Inner City Press asked a number of Ban Ki-moon / Sri Lanka / panel
and Nambiar related
questions, and received at least some answers on the former, but no
answers to the Nambiar questions. Watch this site.
you played in negotiations for the surrender of many of the
Tamil leaders at the time. What was agreed?
As you know both in April and May of last year the UN had
made strenuous efforts in order to try and see that the civilian
population would be safeguarded from some of the difficulties, the
tragedies of the conflict that was taking place. Now, when I went in
May during my second visit, the extent to which I was involved in
this was a telephone conversation, a telephone message I got from a
Sunday Times correspondent through the UK Foreign Office and through
the UN headquarters where I was asked to check with the Sri Lankan
authorities regarding the possible protection could be given to two
of the Tamil leaders... When I received this call, I said that I will
make an effort and contact the government authorities, which I did,
the same day that is I think it's the 17 and 18 of May. I went and I
spoke to the foreign secretary at that time, Mr. Palitha Kohona, the
defense secretary, and subsequently I spoke to the president also. So,
I raise this question …the Sunday Times correspondent talked
about their wanting to surrender…they may want to do it to a third
party…afraid for their lives…so I raised this with them and
suggested …the response from them was that they would be treated
likes normal prisoners of war, if they raised the white flag they
would be allowed to surrender. Now that is the extent to which I was
is what President of Sri Lanka told you..
president also in response to my statement, he said the
same thing, as did the foreign secretary and the Defense Secretary.
specifically said they would treat them…
just made…they just responded in the manner, they would be
treated like ordinary prisoners of war.
To be continued - watch