Lanka Panel To Include Steven Ratner and Yasmin Sooka of S. Africa,
Reconciliation or Accountability?
Russell Lee, Exclusive Must Credit
June 21 -- On Sri Lanka war crimes, sources tell Inner City
Press that the three names including not only former Indonesian
attorney general Darusman but also American lawyer Steven Ratner, and
South Africa's Yasmin Sooka, who served on that country's Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, who was proposed by Ban advisor Nicholas
Haysom, also of South Africa.
to these well placed sources,
and contrary to unsourced reports in the Colombo press, there will be
no Austrian on the panel.
criticized "victory tour" to Sri Lanka last May, during
which interned Tamil children were forced to sing for him in the
Vuvuniya camp, surrounded by barbed wire, Ban has hounded by calls to
follow through on his and Mahinda Rajapaksa's statement at the end of
March 5, Ban
said he would name a panel to advise him "without delay." Now, belated,
he is slated to name the panel this week.
Sri Lanka's banner of UN Ban, with gun, Vavuniya camps
Sri Lanka is
lashing out in advance, even as their ambassador to the UN Palitha
Kohona chairs an international investigation panel about the Occupied
Palestinian Territories. Can you say, hypocrisy?
also been named by Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar as having
provided assurances that surrendering LTTE leaders would be treated in
accordance with international law -- before they were killed. Kohona
disputes the timing of his communications with Nambiar. Watch this site.
War Crimes, US Rapp Says Sri Lanka Panel Doesn't Meet Standards, Ban
Names Next Week
19 -- Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa administration insists that
"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.
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
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.
be crossed -- Darusman
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.
* * *
Rajapaksas Threaten War Crimes Witness Fonseka with Death,
UN's Ban Ki-moon Has No
-- 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.
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.
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.
* * *
UN's Ban Speaks of Terms of Reference, 3 Month Delay on Sri
Lanka Panel, Kohona in Israel Probe
-- 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."
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.
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.)
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
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.
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
* * *