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At UN, Sri Lanka War Crimes Report To Be Handed to Ban Ki-moon on April 12, Sources Say, Murky Panel

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 11 -- The UN's long delayed report on accountability for war crimes in Sri Lanka is now slated to be handed to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 12, sources tell Inner City Press. The report will not be made public at that time, they say, and perhaps it never will.

  Inner City Press has repeatedly asked Ban's spokespeople to explain Ban's statements in December and January that his panel could travel to Sri Lanka.

  Likewise, when Inner City Press asked spokesman Martin Nesirky if the Sri Lankan delegation in March, including Attorney General Mohan Peiris and reported war criminal Shavendra Silva, had met with Ban's Panel and not just Ban himself, Nesirky said no, you know it is no, you were there.

  But over the weekend, Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs G.L. Peiris said that the denied meeting did in fact take place, including Ban's head of Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe, who asked that it remain secret.

Ban and M. Rajapaksa, UN report and "flexibility" still not shown

Inner City Press told a senior Ban administration official about the comments of G.L. Peiris on April 11. “I have very surprised they are saying that,” the Ban official said.

Surprised because the meeting didn't happen? Or because both sides promised it would be secret?

I am just surprised.”

   Also present during the March meeting(s) was Sri Lanka Permanent Representative, and dual Australian citizen, Palitha Kohona. A filing now confirmed received by the International Criminal Court names Kohona as a target for investigation, as well as describing the role of Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar in the co-called white flag murders of surrenderees.
  Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq sent an email, on the record, that there has been no formal filing with the ICC. Even now that receipt has been confirmed by the ICC, there has been no subsequent statement by Haq's or Ban's wider office.

  It is in this context that the long delayed report will be "tabled."  Watch this site.

* * *

On Sri Lanka, UN Says No Date Set for Panel Report, Ban to Proclaim on Its Secrecy

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 28 -- The UN on March 28 said that for its Sri Lanka panel's report, “no date has yet been scheduled” for it to be submitted to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and that what happens after that, including any release to the public, is for Ban “to decide and pronounce on.”

  Inner City Press had asked, in light of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa's recent statements, including that Ban's Panel could not investigate in Sri Lanka, if Ban had given him assurances that the report will be kept secret.

  Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said that's for Ban “to decide and pronounce on.” But has Ban already decided?

  In December 2010, Ban pronounced that due to Rajapaksa's “flexibility,” his Panel could go to Sri Lanka. But time went on, and now Rajapaksa has said he prohibited any investigative trip. What flexibility was Ban praising? Inner City Press has asked, but it has still not been answered.

At Ban's last press availability, Nesirky did not call on Inner City Press to ask any question. Ban is now ostensibly "coordinating" the military action in Libya. Many question the differing responses to the killing of civilians in Libya this year and in Sri Lanka in 2009 -- but that's a question for another day. Watch this site.

Footnote: Inner City Press also on March 28 asked Nesirky about a public statement by South Africa's Vice President Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe that “As of March this year, we are aware that a Sri Lankan government delegation met with the UN panel in New York.” The UN has denied this meeting took place. Nesirky on March 28 did not even answer that part of Inner City Press' question, terminated the noon briefing and left.

* * *
On Sri Lanka, UN's Haq Insists His Denial Meant Nambiar Isn't Target of ICC Complaint, Is Only Called a "Co-Perpetrator"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 11 -- On Sri Lanka, a complaint filed with the International Criminal Court against Palitha Kohona states of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff that there is “a basis to question whether Vijay Nambiar was in fact an innocent neutral intermediary or in fact a co-perpetrator within the negotiation related community.”

Inner City Press on February 21 published a story containing that quote, and this paragraph from the complaint:

"NAMBIAR again through the United Nations-24 hour dispatch center in New York. NAMBIAR replied to COLVIN that MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE, GOTABAYA RAJAPAKSE, AND PALITHA KOHONA had assured NAMBIAR that the LTTE members would be safe in surrendering to the SLA and treated like “normal prisoners of war” if they “hoist[ed] a white flag high.”

Days later Ban's Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq sent a reporter an on the record statement that

The Inner City Press story is inaccurate; there has been no complaint formally filed at the International Criminal Court.”

Inner City Press asked Ban's lead spokesman Martin Nesirky to explain Haq's statement, but Nesirky refused, saying that Haq had sent it to another journalist, not Inner City Press. But it was an on the record response. Still, no answer, including from Nambiar.

On March 11, for the first time in weeks Haq and not Nesirky took questions at the UN's noon briefing. Alongside questions about the vetting of Ban's envoy to Libya and UN actions in Sudan, Inner City Press asked Haq to explain his statement.

After attempting the evade the question by calling it "all of your personal things"  and saying it could be addressed outside of the briefing room -- Inner City Press has asked outside of the briefing, without answer -- Haq now argued that he had been asked if the ICC complaint named -- that is, was against -- Nambiar.

But Haq's statement in his e-mail, which Inner City Press published on February 23 and is reproduced in full below, did not refer to whether Nambiar was the named target, which he couldn't be as a citizen of India, which is not a member of the ICC. (Kohona is named because he is a joint citizen of Australia, which IS an ICC member.)

UN's Haq in briefing room, belated e-mail spin not shown

  Rather, Haq's statement called inaccurate “the Inner City Press story,” which quoted directly from the ICC filing, as set forth above. The story was not inaccurate.

  It appears, including to the journalist who received the e-mail from Haq, that the goal was to convince other media to ignore any link between Nambiar and the ICC complaint, and the underlying killing including “white flag murders” in Sri Lanka.

Even many of those closest to Ban Ki-moon have questioned why Ban sent to Sri Lanka former Indian ambassador Nambiar, given India's interest in Sri Lanka especially after the murder of Rajiv Gandhi, and with Nambiar's brother Satish writing publicly in praise of the Rajapaksas military campaign in Northern Sri Lanka which has given rise to the war crimes charges.

  One Ban insider says, “It's not really Nambiar's fault, Ban should just never have made him the envoy to Sri Lanka.”

  But the mistakenly-given role of Nambiar for the UN in Sri Lanka has so distorted the Ban administration's and the UN's response to the events in Sri Lanka that the spokespeople act as described above, and won't even answer with whom Ban's Panel on Sri Lanka met. It is a low point in Ban Ki-moon's tenure as UN Secretary General.

From the UN's transcription of its March 11 noon briefing:

Inner City Press: there was a filing with the International Criminal Court (ICC), admittedly not by a Government but by a private group, naming the Sri Lankan Ambassador here, but also having two paragraphs concerning the Chief of Staff of the Secretary-General, Vijay Nambiar. And I, it has come to my attention that you wrote to a journalist saying that this is inaccurate; that there is no complaint filed with the ICC. And I wanted to know what the basis of that statement was, since they claim it was filed and they have proof of filing?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Again, you know, this briefing is not for me to discuss all of your personal things. We can always discuss this outside. The basic point is a reporter — and I don’t know what his exchange with you was, but his exchange with me was whether a complaint had been filed naming Mr. Nambiar. That is not the case.

  But here is what Haq sent out:

From: Farhan Haq [at]
Date: Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 7:16 PM
Re: Question about Nambiar, ICC and Burma envoy role

Yes, he is still the acting Special Adviser on Myanmar.

The Inner City Press story is inaccurate; there has been no complaint formally filed at the International Criminal Court. Please ask the ICC for anything more on that.

As for a full-time Special Adviser, Ban Ki-moon has been considering that idea; there is nothing to announce for now.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb .26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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