Lanka Panel Meets With Nambiar, 4 Month Clock Frozen, Pillay's
Office Will Staff
July 20 -- While the UN Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka war
crimes did, the UN confirmed on July 20, have the first of three days
of meetings in New York on July 19, the UN now says that the four
month clock for the Panel's report will not beginning in these three
days. The UN would not say when it would begin.
the UN's July
20 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Spokesman Martin Nesirky for
confirmation, including that the four month reporting clock had
started, about who else the Panel met with and how the Panel will be
congratulating Inner City Press for its observation of the panel, add
that the members will also meet with the Croatian Assistant Secretary
General representing Navi Pillay in New York, with Under Secretaries
General John Holmes and Patricia O'Brien and, it emerges, with “chef
de cabinet” Vijay Nambiar.
Nambiar's controversial involvement in the surrender of Tamil Tiger
leaders who were subsequently murdered, Nambiar earlier this week
wrote a six page defense of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, saying
that he has “led from the front on important political issues from
Gaza to Haiti to Sudan.” Interestingly, Sri Lanka was not listed,
either because it is not deemed important, or Mr. Ban can't be said
to have “led from the front.”
makes much of the UN's hiring rules. Inner City Press asked Nesirky
whether UN hiring rules will apply to the staffing of the Panel of
Vijay Nambiar, Panel and commencement of its work not shown
replied that the staffing is being done under the
aegis of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi
that the top staffer will not be Ms. Pillay's friend Jessica
Neuwirth, as Inner City Press was previously told by both well placed
UN staff and ambassadors of both Permanent Five Security Council
members and impacted member states.
Now, the top
staffer will be
Richard Barrett, who previously served in Nepal. “Score one against
nepotism,” one of the source ambassadors told Inner City Press
after Tuesday's noon briefing.
members are only in New York for three days and then leaving, when
will they return, and when with the four month reporting clock begin?
Lanka Panel Holds 1st Meeting in NYC, "Doesn't Need UN Permission" for
Colombo Visit, of Darusman Fees and Sea Bass
July 19 -- The UN Panel on Accountability in Sri Lanka began
to meet on July 19, Inner City Press can report. This starts the four
month time line for them to produce a report, at least on the
compliance of Sri Lanka's “Lessons Learnt” panel with
international standards for inquiries into war crimes.
1:30 pm on July
19, panel members Marzuki Darusman, Yasmin Sooka and Steven Ratner
met in the UN's North Lawn building. At that moment, at latest, the
four month clock began.
chit chatting about
what hotels they are staying in and where to go to dinner, Ratner
noted that since UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky said it would be up to
the panel whether to seek to visit Sri Lanka, “we don't have to ask
the UN's permission.”
Press has previously reported, and has now further confirmed with
colleagues in Colombo, Sri Lankan government sources are pitching the
tale of Darusman bickering about fees for his prior position on a Sri
Lankan panel when it disbanded.
motives of such pitches are
clear, less clear is why the Ban Ki-moon administration or one of its
advisers would have given the Rajapaksas such an easy issue to work
with. We will have more on this.
July 19, Darusman said he was just in from Jakarta. Ratner, in from Ann
Arbor, Michigan, noted that
the UN listed hotels, that the UN will pay for, don't in fact have a
UN rate. The Bentley, he said, is still not too expensive.
a discussion of the more expensive Millennium Hotel, and of meeting
over dinner in the Italian restaurant across the street.
UN's Ban, Nambiar and Haysom, permission to travel
to Sri Lanka not shown
It is Padre
Figlio; inquiry by Inner City Press mid-day Monday found $86
Porterhouse steak on the menu. (In fairness, it is for two. A single
portion of Chilean sea bass costs $32).
the Department of Political Affairs of Lynn Pascoe, the panel was set
to meet with Nicholas “Fink” Haysom at 2 pm. They were then
observed, at 3:17 p.m., leaving the UN campus and entering the DC-1
building, with the Millennium Hotel, at 3:20 pm. The four month time
clock, and expense accounts, have begun. Expect a restaurant review.
* * *
Says No Visas, UN Says No Need to Visit or Talk to
“It's not a
question of speaking to witness,” Nesirky said, emphasizing twice
that it is “not an investigation, not an inquiry, not a probe.”
The obvious question is, why not? More than a year after thousands of
civilians were killed, the UN is only now convening three individuals
to advise Ban on what he might do.
told that the panel will have staff, to be based in New York.
Meanwhile in Sri Lanka, the government is said to be setting up some
protests to be held in front of the UN in Colombo. If Sudan were to
do this, the UN would denounce it. But here?
UN's Ban & GL Peiris, visa for UN panel not shown
in, as it did during the conflict, calling the slaughter entirely
“internal matter.” As one wag put it, “They should know.”
visas" announcement was made by External Affairs minister GL
Peiris, who twice rebuffed the Press while in the US lobbying against
the UN panel. Then, Hillary Clinton stood by Peiris. And now?
Sri Lankan Mission to the UN put out the foreign ministry's
statement, a day late and in an unwieldy format. The Permanent
Representative Palitha Kohona is still apparently not back in New
York. Sri Lanka has thumbed its nose at GSP Plus as well. What will
happen with the IMF? Watch this site.
* * *
To Include Steven Ratner and Yasmin Sooka of S. Africa,
Reconciliation or Accountability?
Exclusive Must Credit
-- On Sri Lanka war crimes, sources tell Inner City
Press that the three names including not only former Indonesian
attorney general Darusman but also American lawyer Steven Ratner, and
South Africa's Yasmin Sooka, who served on that country's Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, who was proposed by Ban advisor Nicholas
Haysom, also of South Africa.
well placed sources,
and contrary to unsourced reports in the Colombo press, there will be
no Austrian on the panel.
"victory tour" to Sri Lanka last May, during
which interned Tamil children were forced to sing for him in the
Vuvuniya camp, surrounded by barbed wire, Ban has hounded by calls to
follow through on his and Mahinda Rajapaksa's statement at the end of
March 5, Ban
said he would name a panel to advise him "without delay." Now, belated,
he is slated to name the panel this week.
Sri Lanka's banner of UN Ban, with gun, Vavuniya camps
Sri Lanka is
lashing out in advance, even as their ambassador to the UN Palitha
Kohona chairs an international investigation panel about the Occupied
Palestinian Territories. Can you say, hypocrisy?
also been named by Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar as having
provided assurances that surrendering LTTE leaders would be treated in
accordance with international law -- before they were killed. Kohona
disputes the timing of his communications with Nambiar. Watch this site.