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UN Says Lankan President's Nephew was Murdered in Tanzania, Genocide Theory Offered

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 24 [UN admits error Aug 28] -- Following the death in Arusha, Tanzania of the nephew of Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa, Shyamlal Rajapaksa, who served as a prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, allegations have been made in Sri Lanka that the UN is involved in a cover-up of the death.

  In New York on August 24, Inner City Press Michele Montas, the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to respond to the allegations, including about UN insurance coverage. Ms. Montas answered that "the preliminary finding... is that he has been murdered." Video here, from Minute 10:03; transcript here and below.

  This is more than a little strange. In Sri Lanka, "outgoing Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona told The Sunday Times they were awaiting a full report from Tanzania... He said the accountability is clearly with the UN, whether the death was caused by natural causes or otherwise since Mr. Rajapaksa was working for the world body. He also said Mr. Rajapaksa was entitled to full insurance compensation irrespective on how the death occurred."

  Inner City Press asked Ms. Montas if the UN's payment of insurance would be impacted by the cause of death, which some press reports ascribe to a drug overdose. Ms. Montas called insurance a "hypothetical question."

  But "Lalitha Rajapaksa, mother of Shyamlal, said it was difficult to accept the UN version that her son died owing to natural causes. She said she suspected that there was more to it... 'It was known that my son was in possession of a damning report that was to shed a lot of light on the Rwandan genocide some 15 years ago. He had even made this known to his UN bosses last month,' Ms. Rajapaksa said.

UN's Ban and Mahinda Rajapaksa only last month, insurance and response to genocide theories not shown

  'Shyamlal had been on a five-year fact-finding mission regarding the massacres in Rwanda, a task from which several others opted out because of the dangers involved. I suspect UN officials are trying to cover up something either to dodge the insurance payments or simply to save face in the international community,' she said. Ms. Rajapaksa said the truth could be found out if the investigators were able to retrieve the bombshell report that her son had."

  As one wag at the UN put it, the cousin of the president of one regime accused of genocide had discovered some smoking gun about another genocide? Watch this site.

From the UN's transcript of August 24, 2009 --

Inner City Press: A cousin of the President of Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa, died in Tanzania. Was apparently an employee, or a prosecutor for the court on the Rwandan genocide. His mother has said that the UN is somehow covering it up and that there is some UN investigation of his death and some issue around the payment of the insurance. What’s the UN’s response to this, I guess, response by a relative of the President of Sri Lanka?

Spokesperson Michele Montas: Well, in this specific case, as you know, he was working for … as a prosecutor. We could only confirm that he was found dead in his home and that there were preliminary findings, police findings is that he has been murdered. This is all we know. The investigation is being done with the Tanzanian and Sri Lankan law enforcement officials. So, I really don’t have anything more to say, as long as they have not really reported to us on exactly the facts of the case.

Inner City Press: She seems to say something about insurance. Is there any difference in the payment of UN insurance based on the cause of death?

Spokesperson: Not that I know of, and I can… check that. At any rate, it is hypothetical…

Question: Sure.

Spokesperson: …to the extent that we don’t have yet the result of the investigation.

But see UN admits error Aug 28

Inner City Press' June 18 debate on Sri Lanka, click here

 Channel 4 in the UK with allegations of rape and disappearance

  Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

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.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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