Sri Lanka to “Use” in a “Process of Accountability”
the UN Panel Report - Which Ban Ki-moon Still Withholds
April 14 -- On Sri Lanka, the Obama administration would like the
Mahinda Rajapaksa government to “use” the Panel of
on presumptive war crimes in the final stages of the conflict,
Department spokesman Mark Toner told Inner City Press on Thursday.
said the US
has “encouraged the Sri Lankan government to engage in a process of
accountability” and to “use the Panel of Experts and its
expertise to address that.” Video
days ago, UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave the long delayed reported to the
Rajapaksa government while not releasing it to the public. Despite
Ban's repeated claims that his Panel could travel to Sri Lanka, it
-- which the UN denied and / or concealed -- was held at the UN in
New York between Sri Lanka's Attorney General Mohan Peiris, the
Panel's three members and Ban's top political adviser, former US
State Department official B. Lynn Pascoe.
Sri Lankans, it was Pascoe that urged and agreed that the meeting
should be secret. So a former US State Department official is
engaging in secret negotiations with a government accused of war
crimes, while the US and UN both preach transparency.
about Pakistan at the briefing, Toner said “I don't discuss drone
strikes.” Some things, it seems, are simply not discussed. But why
should war crimes in Sri Lanka be one of them?
also answered an Inner City Press questions on Sudan, and took ICP
questions on Cote d'Ivoire and visas, on which we will be reporting
Department transcript, video here:
Press: A question on Sri Lanka. There’s this report that was
commissioned by the UN about war crimes, I think, final stage of the
conflict. It’s been shown to the Government of Sri Lanka but still
hasn’t been given to the public? Does the U.S. have any – one,
does it think it should be made public? And what steps does it think
should be taken? Does it think that the internal --
This is the UN Panel of Experts report?
Press: That’s correct. Yep.
Yeah. I can get you more detail on that, but we, obviously,
have encouraged the Sri Lankan Government to engage in a process of
accountability and to also use this panel of experts and their
expertise, obviously, to address some of the questions.
Press: The government’s already kind of condemned the Panel,
and I wonder whether the U.S. thinks this Lesson Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission that the government set up itself – was
that sufficient? Or are you looking for more –
And again, I think that we believe that the Lessons Learnt
commission and Reconciliation commission were good steps. But we
believe also that the UN Panel of Experts is a useful asset and
should be taken advantage of by the government.
* * *
Ban Ki-moon's Panel Met Sri Lanka AG, UN Said “That Is Simply Not the
April 12 -- To prepare the UN report
on accountability for
presumptive war crimes in Sri Lanka, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
claimed in December and January that his panel could travel to Sri
Lanka due to the “flexibility” of President Rahinda Rajapaksa,
who along with his brothers is accused of the war crimes at issue.
blocked the announced trip, talk turned to sending Sri Lankan
officials including Attorney General Mohan Peiris to New York to meet
with Ban and his Panel.
Inner City Press photographed the beginning of the meeting between
Ban and Mohan Peiris and others including another accused of war
crimes, General Shavendra Silva. Click here
for Inner City Press report on that meeting, which had been denied.
and after, Inner City Press
asked if Ban's panel would meet with the Sri Lankan officials, but no
answer was given.
March 7, Inner
City Press directly asked
Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky about “a
report in Sri Lanka quoting UN sources, saying that after a meeting
between the Attorney General of Sri Lanka and Mr. Ban and other
officials, there was another meeting with, in fact, the
Secretary-General’s Panel. That, I just want you to either confirm
or deny that.” Click here.
that “the reporting over the weekend suggested that there was a
secret meeting with the Secretary-General, and you know as well as I
do, because you were there, that
that is simply not the case. You
were there taking pictures, so the reporting may be a little bit
Press asked if there was a meeting of the Sri Lankan officials “with,
in fact, the Secretary-General’s Panel” -- and Nesirky's answer
was “that is simply not the case.”
City Press published
an article on March 7 that the UN was denying the occurrence of
a meeting with Ban's Panel -- which is what Inner City Press asked
Nesirky about, even as transcribed by the UN.
March 28, after
even a high South African official spoke of the Sri Lankans' meeting
with Ban's Panel, Inner City Press again
Vice-President of South Africa, in a formal address to and Q and A
with the Parliament, said that he understands that the panel, Ban
Ki-moon’s panel, met with the Sri Lankans here in March... did the
panel meet that day, that mysterious day, or some other day in March
with Sri Lankan officials?”
answer that question, and after Inner City Press' next question,
Nesirky left the briefing room. Since then he has tried to
Inner City Press from asking follow up questions, and has even told
Inner City Press in advance that he won't answer its questions.
Why, one wonders, go to a briefing where questions are responded to in
Ban & Nesirky, denial that Lankans met with Ban
Panel not shown
April 12, for
briefing at which Ban's receipt -- but not release to the
public -- of the Sri Lanka Panel report was to be announced,
did not appear. He sent his deputy Farhan Haq to deny
that he has
Press: from this podium, I don’t know if it was only Martin or
if it was you as well, it was said that there was no meeting in March
when the Attorney General of Sri Lanka came, no meeting… there was
a meeting with the Secretary-General, but no meeting with the Panel.
Spokesperson Haq: No, no, Matthew; you’re
mischaracterizing. He said that the Secretary-General met with the
Panel. He said that he did not comment on what the Panel did.
Press: I saw the briefing. So are you confirming now that there
was a meeting between the Attorney General…
Spokesperson Haq: Matthew, I saw the exact same briefing. Like I said,
the work of the Panel will be detailed in the report and
you can see for yourself what they’ve done.
Press: But this is important, though. Can you say for yourself
that the meeting took place? I mean, we can go over the transcript,
but it seemed pretty clear that this meeting was not disclosed.
Spokesperson Haq: Go over the transcript. I remember this. You tried to
put some words into his mouth, in which you said he
denied there was a meeting, and which he explicitly did not [deny].
last shows at
Ban's spokesman's office feels free to add
words to its
transcriptions. But even as it has transcribed it, the answers on
Lanka are troubling. And now what of the report? We will have more on