Lanka, After Ban Passes Buck to UN Councils, UN Won't Say If He's Raise
to UNSC or Who Advised Him
April 26 -- The UN was unable or unwilling to answer
questions about its Panel of Experts report into Sri Lanka war crimes
on Tuesday, a day after Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon belatedly
released the report.
asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky three questions at Tuesday's
noon briefing, not one of which was answered.
accompanying the report stated that for an “investigation
mechanism, [Ban] is advised that this will require host country
consent or a decision from Member States through an appropriate
asked, twice, BY WHOM was Ban advised that he doesn't have the power
to investigate? Nesirky would not say. At opening the briefing,
Nesirky had called it an “advisory” report. But the advise on
what Ban can't do is not from the report.
a number of
seeming errors in the report, such as misidentifying in Paragraph 171
the role of Presidential brother Basil Rajapaksa in the so-called
White Flag killings in which Ban's own chief of staff Vijay Nambiar
has acknowledged he was involved, without recusing himself from
review of the report, Inner City Press asked Nesirky to explain this
error, and to clarify Basil's role. Inner City Press had previously
posed this question, and ones about Nambiar, by e-mail to Nesirky and
his deputy Farhan Haq.
will have to
check that, Nesirky said, adding that the Panel's work has ceased
when it turned the report in. Why this is being done differently
that Ban's panel on the murder of Benazir Bhutto, on which a press
conference with questions and answer with the Panel chairman was held
after the release has not been explained.
Ban & M. Rajapaksa, Nambiar & actual investigation not shown
accepted Ban's argument for his own powerlessness, which Amnesty
International and others do not, Ban could formally ask an
intergovernmental body to vote on an investigation of war crimes in
briefing the Security Council then the press on Tuesday afternoon. He
will tell the Council not only about this recent trip to Ukraine,
Hungary, Russia and elsewhere, but also about Cote d'Ivoire and,
Nesirky said, Sri Lanka.
asked Nesirky if Ban will be asking the Security Council to take up
and vote on his panel's recommendation for an international
investigation of war crimes in Sri Lanka, since Ban is advised -- by
whom, we still do not know, beyond noting it is the Rajapaksa's and
Vijay Nambiar's position -- that he cannot order an investigation
himself. Nesirky did not answer that either. Watch this site.
* * *
Ki-moon's Buck Passing to UN Councils & Agencies
Questioned, No Answers on Nambiar Role
-- In the hours after the belated
release of the UN
Panel of Experts' report on Sri Lanka war crimes, numerous
expressed surprise to Inner City Press at Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's cover letter saying that for an “investigation mechanism,
[Ban] is advised that this will require host country consent or a
decision from Member States through an appropriate intergovernmental
than a little strange,” a Security Council member's ambassador who
covers the issue told Inner City Press on Monday night at Colombia's
end of Council presidency reception. Others mentioned for example
Ban's investigation into the destruction of facilities in Gaza, and
earlier UN probes.
in the UN General Assembly lobby, Inner City Press asked one of Ban's
advisers -- not his chief of
staff, who was involved in the
White Flag killings described in the Report
at Paragraphs 170 and 171
-- whether Ban's passing the buck to “an appropriate
intergovernmental forum” was a reference to the UN Human Right
Council, which already converted a proposal on accountability into a
celebration of the Rajapaksa's bloody victory.
the Ban adviser responded to Inner City Press. But there a
veto seems assured, based not only on the issue of Sri Lanka being
kept off the Council's agenda in 2009 during what a then UN official
called the “bloodbath on the beach,” but also comments made,
notably by Russia, when the report was mentioned in the Security
Council last week by Department of Political Affairs chief Lynn
Representative of one of the states most interested in Sri
Lanka told Inner City Press on Monday night that perhaps the make-up
or balance of views in the Human Rights Council has changed since the
last vote on Sri Lanka -- whose advocate at that time in Geneva has
since been kept out of the loop -- for Ban to defer to the HRC and
Security Council is a recipe for inaction and impunity.
9 pm US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice issued a statement, which
does not address Ban's argument that he and the UN are powerless to
order an investigation absent Rajapaksa consent or a vote in the
Security Council, General Assembly or Human Rights Council, from
which the US was initially unsuccessful in excluding Libya, and now
seeks to exclude Syria. Click here
for Rice's statement. A request to
the French Mission's spokesmen for France's position was not been
answered; a UK statement was said to be coming.
the Spokesperson has still not answered question about chief of
Vijay Nambiar's involvement in the White Flag killings and in
reviewing the Panel's report, which Inner City Press submitted on
April 21 and again on April 25.
debated these issues with a Sri Lankan journalist on radio on Monday
the podcast, and watch this site.
has made much of Ban's statement that “he will
respond positively to the Panel's recommendation for a review of the
UN's actions,” deferring even this to “after consultations with
relevant agencies, funds and programs” is telling.
had its high energy biscuits excluded from Sri Lanka on the
theory that the Tamil Tigers of the LTTE could eat and benefit from
them, as detailed in the report. It was not any UN affiliate which
withheld casualty figures: it was the Secretariat, and Ban's own
chief of staff's role most needs to be investigated. But Ban has
allowed him to be involved even in reviewing the report. Watch this
* * *
Lanka Report, Ban Says He Can't Investigate w/o Consent or
link -- After close of business on April 25, the UN belatedly
released -- and immediately undermined the recommendations of -- its
Panel of Experts report on war crimes in Sri
Lanka, eleven days after the UN told Sri Lankan Deputy Permanent
Representative Shavendra Silva it would be released in 36 hours.
released along with a page and a half cover letter by Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon, which in pertinent part states that
the recommendation that he establish an international
investigation mechanism, the Secretary-General is advised that this
will require host country consent or a decision from Member States
through an appropriate intergovernmental forum.”
advised" by whom? This is a huge letdown, and some say abdication.
We will have more on this.
which obtained and quickly up online Monday morning a leaked copy of
the report, asked Silva about the report and its delayed release late
Monday afternoon in front of the UN Security Council, which Silva
visited for more than a half hour.
seen the publication on Inner City Press, as well as the day's UN
noon briefing, at which questions about the involvement of Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar were left
the Panel's report, as well as his role in the 58th Battalion, which
moved in on the so-called No Fire Zones. He was polite but non
of the Report's recommendation must make him, and the
Rajapaksa and certain others, relieved.
Ban and Nambiar, Sri Lanka report now
shown, relief in some quarters
has refused to answer questions about Nambiar,
not only in the briefing but also in writing. On Monday before the
release of the Report by the UN, Inner City Press asked some factual
questions, militating for a press conference by the Panel members and
“Defence Secretary Basil Rajapaksa provided
assurances that their surrender would be accepted... following a
particular route indicated by Basil Rajapaksa.”
Gotabaya Rajapaksa was and is the Defense Secretary, is this
just a typo?
the Panel saying indicated the route: Basil or Gotabya Rajapaksa?
specifically did the OSSG know about the Feb 22 meeting between
Mohan Peiris and the Panel, as set forth in Annex 2 of the Report?
state the role of Mr. Nambiar in reviewing the report, please
disclose how much was spent by the UN in preparing the report, please
state whether the Panel or any member traveled to Sri Lanka and if
not, why not, and please deny or confirm and describe any meeting by
any Sri Lanka government official since the Panel's work began.
questions have been answered. Watch this site.
Panel of Experts report:
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.
and Defence Secretary Basil Rajapaksa
[sic?] 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.[sic?]
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.
of April 21, Inner City Press asked Ban's top two spokesmen
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.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb .26 UN debate
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.