Friday, August 27, 2010

At UN, Sri Lanka Move to Place Alleged War Criminal As Ambassador Questioned

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 25 -- Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN post, vacant following Bandula Jayasekera's department triggered by a sexual harassment scandal, is now reportedly slated to be filled byMajor General Shavendra Silva, who “was allegedly among those mentioned by MP Sarath Fonseka in a media interview where he had said that the former 58 Division Commander had received orders to shoot at sight LTTE suspects who came with white flags to surrender to the army during the final stage of war.”

At the UN on Wednesday, Inner City Press asked Martin Nesirky, the spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, about this reported appointment and that of General G.A. Chandrasiri to replace Palitha Kohona as Permanent Representative. Video here, from Minute 53:36.

While Nesirky said he wouldn't comment on hypotheticals, when Inner City Press asked if Ban would have some discretion to not accept credentials when presented, Nesirky said he would look into it.

Shavendra Silva is clearly a witness to the war crime events about which Ban has appointed a (stalled) three member panel to advise him. Would appointing him an ambassador give him de facto or de jure diplomatic immunity?

UN's Ban takes credentials from Kohona- is acceptance automatic?

Inner City Press also asked Nesirky if the four month “clock” of Ban's panel of experts had finally begun. No, Nesirky said, the clock has not started but it is being wound. But why so slowly? Watch this site.

Later on Wednesday Inner City Press asked a Sri Lankan diplomat about the reported new Deputy Perm Rep and Perm Rep. “It's not yet confirmed,” he answered, adding that the entire staff of the mission in New York might be replaced.

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