Monday, April 25, 2011

Sri Lanka report held by UN's Ban & Nambiar

Photo courtesy: UN News & Media

By Matthew Russell Lee | Inner City Press

With the UN still withholding its Panel of Experts' report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, The Island in its ninth day of publishing portions of the reported that were leaked, presumptively by the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, has run the “'White Flag' incident” section.

This section raises questions about UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon not having required the recusal of his chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, who was involved in the incident -- about the the Panel of Experts itself.

The Panel's report as leaked to The Island describes part of the White Flag killings and lists by name the involvement of Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brothers Gotabaya and Basil and Permanent Representative to the UN Palitha Kohona, against whom a filing has been made to the International Criminal Court for his involvement in the presumptive war crime.

As partially described by the UN Panel of Experts, “Nadesan and Pulidevan, and possibly Colonel Ramesh” conveyed a request to surrender to an “official[] of the UN” and received assurances they would not be killed through “intermediaries.” They were then killed.

While the Panel's reports, troublingly, does not disclose the involvement of Vijay Nambiar, instead referring only to a UN intermediary as having conveyed assurances that those surrendering would not be killed, Nambiar has acknowledged being involved.

Inner City Press, which visiting Sri Lanka covering Ban's trip in May 2009, has followed this issue closely, repeatedly asking for a statement by Mr. Nambiar describing his role. Inner City Press was directed to a single filmed interview Nambiar gave, in which he acknowledged a role

The Panel of Experts, named and essentially paid by the UN of Ban Ki-moon, was remiss in not naming Nambiar. Given how and by whom the Panel's members were named and paid, and their final work product, there was a conflict of interest.

Ban Ki-moon, many now conclude, has been remiss in allowing Nambiar to remain involved in handling the report, even inreviewing it for what the UN should do next. It is a blatant conflict of interest.

Following numerous previous inquiries by Inner City Press into this, including Palitha Kohona heatedly disputing the account that Nambiar gave, on April 12 and 19 Inner City Press again asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq if Nambiar would be involved or recused.

Haq, who previously denied the existence of the filing with the ICC which details Nambiar's role in the White Flag killings, said that Nambiar is a senior advisor and was involved in reviewing the report.

Other leaked portions describe Nambiar interfacing about the review with Kohona and his Deputy, General Shavendra Silva, also reportedly involved in war crimes at the end of the conflict.

Still other leaked portions allude to a February 22 meeting, which Ban's lead spokesman Martin Nesirky in essence denied to Inner City Press took place, between the Panel of Experts and Sri Lankan Attorney General Mohan Peiris, in the office of another of Ban's advisers, Lynn Pascoe.

Late arriving on the scene, in Sri Lankan press accounts, is Ban's deputy chief of staff Kim Won-soo, perhaps in belated acknowledgment that Nambiar should never have been allowed to be involved in the report, which partially describes the White Flag killings in which he was involved.

Now it is said that Ban will take a call from Minister G.L. Peiris. Even if the report is released on April 25, along with a UN response in which Vijay Nambiar has clearly been involved, it is too late, and poisoned by the conflicted involved of Nambiar. This is all a new low for this UN.

© Inner City Press

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