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Sri Lanka Report Held by UN's Ban & Nambiar Partially Describes White Flag Killings Nambiar Involved In: Conflicts

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 -- With the UN still withholding its Panel of Experts' report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, The Island in its ninth day of publishing portions of the reported that were leaked, presumptively by the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, has run the “'White Flag' incident” section (see below).

  This section raises questions about UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon not having required the recusal of his chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, who was involved in the incident -- about the the Panel of Experts itself.

  The Panel's report as leaked to The Island describes part of the White Flag killings and lists by name the involvement of Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brothers Gotabaya and Basil and Permanent Representative to the UN Palitha Kohona, against whom a filing has been made to the International Criminal Court for his involvement in the presumptive war crime.

  As partially described by the UN Panel of Experts, “Nadesan and Pulidevan, and possibly Colonel Ramesh” conveyed a request to surrender to an “official[] of the UN” and received assurances they would not be killed through “intermediaries.” They were then killed.

While the Panel's reports, troublingly, does not disclose the involvement of Vijay Nambiar, instead referring only to a UN intermediary as having conveyed assurances that those surrendering would not be killed, Nambiar has acknowledged being involved.

Inner City Press, which visiting Sri Lanka covering Ban's trip in May 2009, has followed this issue closely, repeatedly asking for a statement by Mr. Nambiar describing his role. Inner City Press was directed to a single filmed interview Nambiar gave, in which he acknowledged a role

  The Panel of Experts, named and essentially paid by the UN of Ban Ki-moon, was remiss in not naming Nambiar. Given how and by whom the Panel's members were named and paid, and their final work product, there was a conflict of interest.

  Ban Ki-moon, many now conclude, has been remiss in allowing Nambiar to remain involved in handling the report, even inreviewing it for what the UN should do next. It is a blatant conflict of interest.

Ban and Nambiar, Sri Lanka report still not shown

Following numerous previous inquiries by Inner City Press into this, including Palitha Kohona heatedly disputing the account that Nambiar gave, on April 12 and 19 Inner City Press again asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq if Nambiar would be involved or recused.

Haq, who previously denied the existence of the filing with the ICC which details Nambiar's role in the White Flag killings, said that Nambiar is a senior advisor and was involved in reviewing the report.

Other leaked portions describe Nambiar interfacing about the review with Kohona and his Deputy, General Shavendra Silva, also reportedly involved in war crimes at the end of the conflict.

Still other leaked portions allude to a February 22 meeting, which Ban's lead spokesman Martin Nesirky in essence denied to Inner City Press took place, between the Panel of Experts and Sri Lankan Attorney General Mohan Peiris, in the office of another of Ban's advisers, Lynn Pascoe.

Late arriving on the scene, in Sri Lankan press accounts, is Ban's deputy chief of staff Kim Won-soo, perhaps in belated acknowledgment that Nambiar should never have been allowed to be involved in the report, which partially describes the White Flag killings in which he was involved.

Now it is said that Ban will take a call from Minister G.L. Peiris. Even if the report is released on April 25, along with a UN response in which Vijay Nambiar has clearly been involved, it is too late, and poisoned by the conflicted involved of Nambiar. This is all a new low for this UN. Watch this site.

From the leaked Panel of Experts report:

The "White Flag" incident

170. Various reports have alleged that the political leadership of the LTTE and their dependents were executed when they surrendered to the SLA. In the very final days of the war, the head of the LTTE political wing, Nadesan, and the head of the Tiger Peace Secretariat Pulidevan, were in regular communication with various interlocutors to negotiate surrender. They were reportedly with a group of around 300 civilians. The LTTE political leadership was initially reluctant to agree to an unconditional surrender, but as the SLA closed in on the group in their final hideout, Nadesan and Pulidevan, and possibly Colonel Ramesh, were prepared to surrender unconditionally. This intention was communicated to officials of the United Nations and of the Governments of Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as to representatives of the ICRC and others. It was also conveyed through intermediaries to Mahinda, Gotabaya and Basil Rajapaksa, former Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona and senior officers in the SLA.

171. Both President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Basil Rajapaksa provided assurances that their surrender would be accepted. These were conveyed by intermediaries to the LTTE leaders, who were advised to raise a white flag and walk slowly towards the army, following a particular route indicated by Basil Rajapaksa. Requests by the LTTE for a third party to be present at the point of surrender were not granted. Around 6.30 a.m. on 18 May 2009. Nadesan and Pulidevan left their hide-out to walk towards the area held by the 58th Division, accompanied by a large group, including their families. Colonel Ramesh followed behind them, with another group. Shortly afterwards, the BBC and other television stations reported that Nadesan and Pulidevan had been shot dead. Subsequently, the Government gave several different accounts of the incident. While there is little information on the circumstances of their death, the Panel believes that the LTTE leadership intended to surrender.

  On the morning of April 21, Inner City Press asked Ban's top two spokesmen to "please state the role of Mr. Nambiar in reviewing the report." No response has yet been received, more than 60 hours later. We will have more on this. Watch this site.

* * *

On Sri Lanka, After Russia Bashes UN Report, Ban Withholds It, Asks Medvedev to Support Him for Second Term as S-G

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 22 -- Shortly after reneging on his Spokesperson's Office repeated commitments that the UN Panel of Experts' report on Sri Lanka war crimes would be released “this week,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev, "I'd like to really count on your strong support, leadership and guidance in continuing my work as secretary-general.”

In Colombo, Russia's Ambassador Valdimir P.Mikhaylov had the previous day appeared at a press conference with Defense chief and presidential brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa and said "unfortunately it seems that the panel of experts went beyond its task, at least as it had been made known to our representatives of New York... we speak not about a 'UN report', since it was prepared neither by a UN body or nor even by its request. It was just a personal initiative of the UN Secretary General.”

In this context, for Ban to ask Russia in this way and at this time not to veto the second term he wants seems to many to telegraph that while the report may inevitably be released, Ban will not take serious action on it.

 As leaked to The Island newspaper, presumptively by the government, the report urges Ban to himself investigate the UN's own compliance with international humanitarian law.

Ban's own chief of staff Vijay Nambiar was involved in the so called white flag killings of surrenderees, as described in a filing with the International Criminal Court.

 As such, Nambiar is at a minimum a witness, perhaps a person of interest, in a violation of international humanitarian law.

But Ban has allowed Nambiar to be involved since then in the work on the Panel of Experts, including handing the report to General Shavendra Silva, reviewing the reports and, it seems, deciding not to release it when promised.
  On the morning of April 21, Inner City Press asked Ban's top two spokesmen to "
please state the role of Mr. Nambiar in reviewing the report." No response has yet been received, more than 24 hours later. We will have more on this. Watch this site.

* * *

On Sri Lanka, As UN Further Delays Release of Report, Pascoe Tells Press He Didn't Know - So Nambiar In Charge?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 21 -- In a loss of nerve that sadly is not surprising, the UN Secretariat on Thursday delayed its noon briefing in the expectation that it would belatedly release its Panel of Experts' report on war crimes in Sri Lanka -- and then did not release the report.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq came in half an hour late and said that he “still expects” the report's release, but it did not happen at the briefing. He said Sri Lanka is being given another chance to submit a response.

Inner City Press asked about Haq's statement just the previous day, April 20, that while the UN was “expecting that there will be a response from the Government of Sri Lanka... That doesn’t need to tie our hands down regarding when we are going to put out this report. As we have said repeatedly, we’ll put it out this week.”

Haq said it is only Thursday. But Friday is a UN holiday (and UN staff get “early release” on Thursday). In any event, was it true that the UN's hands weren't tied down?

After asking more questions at the “noon” briefing, Inner City Press ran to the Security Council and caught up with the head of Ban's Department of Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe, coming out of the morning's meeting on the Middle East.

Inner City Press told Pascoe that the Sri Lanka report had not, in fact, been released.

“You've told me something I didn't know,” Pascoe told Inner City Press. “I've been busy.”

Why was it not released?

“I'll find out,” Pascoe said, leaving.

It seems clear that Ban's chief political adviser wasn't told that the report wouldn't be released. Ban is traveling to Russia. So who made the decision?

Sources tell Inner City Press of the involvement, still allowed by Ban, of Vijay Nambiar, whose role in the so called white flag murders of surrenderees in Sri Lanka has been described in a filing to the International Criminal Court.

This UN sinks lower and lower. Inner City Press asked Haq if the Panel of Experts will hold a press conference and answer questions, as was done by Ban's Panel on the murder of Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan.

The Sri Lanka panel has disbanded, Haq said. Watch this site.

 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.

* * *

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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