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On UN's Sri Lanka Failure, Petrie Hands Report to Ban Ki-moon + 3, Minus Nambiar, Kohona Denial

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 14 -- The long delayed report on the UN's actions and inactions in Sri Lanka in 2009 was given to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon by Charles Petrie on Wednesday morning.

  After an initial Media Alert not permitting independent press coverage of the hand-over, a 7:30 am email clarified that it could be covered. Inner City Press was there, and took photos, here and here.

  Attending with Ban were his chief of staff Susana Malcorra (who is also studying the UN's failures in responding to or at least communicating to member states about Hurricane Sandy), the chief of Ban's political unit and another staffer.

  Not present was Vijay Nambiar, who was not only Malcorra's predecessor but also Ban's envoy to Sri Lanka in 2009. He became embroiled in the so-called White Flag Killings, in which he conveyed to two Tamil Tiger leaders that if they came out, they would be treated in compliance with international humanitarian law.

  After this assurance, they came out and were immediately killed.

Nambiar earlier this year told Inner City Press that he spoke with, among others, then Sri Lankan foreign secretary Palitha Kohona.

  Kohona has denied it to Inner City Press; today, Kohona is quoted that it is "'absolute nonsense' to say a 'small country' could intimidate the UN and that his country had worked with senior UN officials."

   Well, yes: Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa goverment "worked with" senior UN officials, including Nambiar and Ban himself. Sri Lanka got Ban and others to accept one of the Generals responsible for the carnage, Shavendra Silva, as a "Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping Operations" to the UN. Ban told Inner City Press that this was a decision of the member states.

  Silva appeared with Kohona at a film screening in the UN's Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, fallout written up by the SLC, here.

On November 13, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: I want to make this request in advance, I've been thinking of the Benazir Bhutto report, and I remember in this, I think it was in this room that the Chair, Mr. [Marzuki] Darusman, gave a press conference, is there some ability to have Q and A either of Mr. Petrie or the Secretary-General on this important report of the UN’s own performance?

Spokesperson: That’s being looked into. We are obviously aware of the interest and that’s one reason why it is being made public.

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