War Crimes, US Rapp Says Sri Lanka Panel Doesn't Meet Standards, Ban
Names Next Week
June 19 -- Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa administration insists that
on "Lessons Learned" is a sufficient response to
reports of tens of thousands of civilians killed in the final stage
of the conflict last year. On June 18, Inner City Press asked
Rapp, US ambassador at large for war crimes issues, if "Lessons
Learned" are enough.
been announced to date has not met the standard," Rapp
said. "They're telling use it does have that capacity, to
investigate these cases, to follow up and call witnesses. We're
hearing it, but we're not seeing it."
City Press had previously questioned as prosecutor of the Special Court
for Sierra Leone,
said his office will be filing another report with the U.S. Congress
by the end of July, on "what has been done." He said, "they
will not have concluded their investigation, but we can talk about
Rapp responded to Inner City Press that he had seen the BBC
Hard Talk interview with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he said he had "missed"
the portion in which Gotabaya
Rajapaksa said that if former top
general Sarath Fonseka testified about war crimes, he would be
as a traitor.
that?" Rapp asked. "It missed that... Witnesses need to
testify freely, without consequences." Yeah. Rapp emphasized
that the US is "engaged... Samantha Power was there." Yes,
in the run up to the victory celebration.
Ki-moon, who back on March 5 said he would appoint of Group of
Experts to advise him on accountability in Sri Lanka, is belatedly
name the Group this coming week.
Stephen Rapp in previous role, new US position on
Sri Lanka not shown
Austrian member whose
nationality but not name Inner City Press has previously reported, an
publication in Sri Lanka has named as
a pane member Indonesia's
former attorney general Marzuki Darusman.
the wires may
be crossed -- Darusman
was on June 18 named the new Special
Rapporteur on human rights in North Korea by the UN Human Rights
Council -- Inner City Press has previously questioned
the April 15, 2010 press conference on the Benazir Bhutto report.
Darusman told Inner City Press he had not interviewed Mugran bin
Abdul Aziz, nor former US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad.
We'll see -- watch this site.
* * *
Lanka Rajapaksas Threaten War Crimes Witness Fonseka with Death,
UN's Ban Ki-moon Has No
7 -- The role in war crimes in Sri Lanka of the UN, its
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his chief of staff Vijay Nambiar
have been questioned by the International Crisis Group and others.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the defense chief brother of Sri Lankan
president Mahinda Rajapaksa, has on film threatened to hang military
whistleblower Sarath Fonseka if he dares testify to any independent
investigation into war crimes in the country.
and his Office, though aware of Gotabaya Rajapaksa's threat, had no
comment on it on June 7. Inner City Press asked about Ban's three
months delay since March 5, when he said he would name a group of
experts to advise him on war crimes in Sri Lanka, and whether
Gotabaya Rajapaksa's death threat against witnesses would convince
Ban, as human rights groups have concluded based on the history, that
a Sri Lankan government self-investigation is not credible.
Farhan Han, while acknowledging that UN is aware of the
quote, would not comment on it, and disputed that three months in
even coming up with the terms of reference of the group of experts
constitutes any delay. Video
here, from Minute 15:02.
UN's Ban and Sri Lanka's Kohona, war crimes inquiry not shown
strange, given for example that less
than a week after Israel's assault on a flotilla headed to Gaza,
Ban's Office says he is already discussing the terms of reference of
a panel with Israel's and Turkey's prime ministers.
it the UN's
documented and alleged involvement in Sri Lanka's war crimes that
explains Ban's greater delay and defensiveness about events in Sri
Lanka? Haq finally said that "we're very close to announcing
names" for the three months delayed Sri Lanka panel. But will
they be impartial? Watch this site.
* * *
Gaza UN's Ban Speaks of Terms of Reference, 3 Month Delay on Sri
Lanka Panel, Kohona in Israel Probe
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.)
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
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.
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
* * *
Denies Assuring UN's Nambiar Rebels Would Not Be
Executed, Qorvis told Peiris to Leave NPC
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
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
your attitude," Kohona said. "Now that you want me
out... maybe I'm going to have to change my approach."
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.
played in negotiations for the surrender of many of the
Tamil leaders at the time. What was agreed?
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
what President of Sri Lanka told you..
also in response to my statement, he said the
same thing, as did the foreign secretary and the Defense Secretary.
said they would treat them…
made…they just responded in the manner, they would be
treated like ordinary prisoners of war.
To be continued - watch