a Secret at UN, Call for Timor Justice Spurned, Crimes in
Bangladesh, UN Won't Help a Trial
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 27 -- The UN deals with genocide in secret, and
demands an end to impunity only sporadically. On Timor Leste, just as
rights groups call for an UN international criminal tribunal to
get to the bottom of ethnic violence there, the UN Security Council
issued a press statement praising the government's efforts in this
regard. Inner City Press asked the Council president for August, UK
Deputy Permanent Representative Philip John Parham, if there was any
discussion in the Council of an outside tribunal. No, he said, I have
been authorized to praise the governments own efforts. Video here,
from Minute 3:18.
also asked his about a meeting held in the UK Mission to the UN this
week, of all 15 Council members with the UN's expert on genocide
Francis Deng. On August 26, UK Ambassador John Sawers said that
Parham had chaired on. On August 27, Parham said it was an "informal
informal" and therefore a closed meeting. The UN and genocide,
shouldn't it be public?
Training in Timor per UN, accountability for crimes not shown
after the question was asked, the following answer has been received
on the UN and Bangladesh:
Your question on Bangladesh
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
Inner City Press
8/26/2009 12:16:25 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
UN has responded positively to a request from the Government of
Bangladesh for technical assistance in its national efforts to
address the issue of the 1971 war crimes. The UN has offered to
provide the most suitable form of assistance - not to the trials
but to help the Government make an informed decision on the issue,
and is in discussion with the Bangladesh authorities on the subject.
not to trials?
Inner City Press has been told by sources that UN Development Program
chief Helen Clark, in one of her first meetings upon assuming the
post, met with Pakistani representatives. It's Pakistan accused in
the 1971 war crimes, and sources inside UNDP tell Inner City Press
that the agency's interest in helping Bangladesh has gone down.
claimed it didn't understand the question, and since then has refused
to answer it. The above is from the Secretariat, and is less than
helpful. Watch this site.
Francis Deng, it's understood, will hear about Sri Lanka on September
1. But will the Security Council ever hear?
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UN Mulls Sri Lankan Murder Video, Report on Camps Withheld, UK
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 26 -- When a war crime is filmed and presented to the
UN, will it take action? On August 26, Inner City Press asked three
officials at the UN about the now widely circulated video
depicting Sri Lankan soldiers shooting naked, blindfolded victims
At the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN
Spokesperson Michele Montas about "footage of what appears to be
Sri Lankan soldiers shooting naked, bound, unarmed people
[inaudible]. Is there any response by the UN to that footage?"
There was not.
Later another UN official said that the Office of the
High Commissioner for Human Rights is considering how to authenticate
the footage, perhaps with outside experts, in order to act on it. But
Council stakeout, Inner City Press asked the president of the Council
for this dwindling month, the UK's John Sawers, if he'd seen the
footage and what the UK proposes to do about it. He replied that
"first," he was appearing as President of the Council. He
said he hadn't yet seen the footage but had read about it. It does
seem "disturbing," he said, adding that it should be
investigated "in the first instance by the Sri Lanka
authorities." Video here,
from Minute 6:12.
Rajapaksa administration has already curtailed its investigation into
the killing of 17 aid workers of Action
Contre La Faim, and declared
that its soldiers committed abuses. (Others in the administration
have said that winners are never tried for war crimes.) So at this
late date to defer to Sri Lanka to investigate the snuff film seems
UN's Ban views Manik Farm camp in May, deaths not shown
in Sri Lanka, the level of disappointment at the UN and Ban Ki-moon
has grown. The groups are meeting one last time with UN country
representative Neil Buhne, to urge him to go public with the evidence
the UN has compiled. They say that Tamil females in the camps are
being used as comfort women. They say that UN has a report showing
that many people will die when the monsoon season comes if they
remain trapped in the camps. The UN is not releasing this report,
they say, asking why Ban Ki-moon appears so beholding to Rajapaksa.
Sri Lanka, the
administration is said to be concerned on this by only three things:
Delhi's reaction, an upcoming report to the U.S. Congress, and how
Rajapaksa is received at the UN General Assembly next month. Watch
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