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On Sri Lanka, Holmes Opposed Citing War Crimes, UNredacted by ICP

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 14 -- It is becoming more clear why the UN blacked out portions of its report on its actions and inaction in Sri Lanka, and then took the report off-line once asked about the redactions, by Inner City Press.

  Also becoming clear: former UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes vehement denial of the report.

  Inner City Press has re-posted the report as it appeared with redactions, and is going behind the redactions. A significant deletion occurs on Page 68 in Paragraph 84. The material the UN blacked out, but is now being "liberated" by Inner City Press, appears in brackets, followed by an explanation.

"USG-Humanitarian Affairs, who responded on 13 March stating: ".... we have ourselves avoided being too specific about the casualty figures because of the difficulty of being able to defend them with confidence in the absence of reliable, verifiable information … The civilian casualties have certainly been, and continue to be, heavy, but the detailed figures are still hard to be sure about [… (ii) The references to possible war crimes will be controversial … I am not sure going into this dimension is helpful, as opposed to more indirect references to the need for accountability, in this conflict as elsewhere.” ]

So the UN's top humanitarian official was against referring to war crimes, after having buried a report of over 2000 civilian deaths. Holmes also tried to censor Press coverage of his on the record comments during Ban's May 2009 "victory tour" of Sri Lanka, click here for that.

  More occurred later in connection with a film screening in the UN's Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, fallout written up by the SLC, here. There is more. Watch this site.

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