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UN's Alston Probes Execution Video, Kaelin Says His Praise Was Misquoted

The UN Special Rapporteur on executions Philip Alston, speaking to press at the UN, noted that the Sri Lankan government "investigations" were not independent in the past and raised doubts over the outcome of a probe on human rights to be carried out by a another new panel appointed by the government, according to a report by Inner City Press.

Philip Alston also told the Press that he has "begun to commission some analyses of that video tape" depicting Sri Lankan soldiers shooting bound and naked prisoners, according to Inner City Press.

Full text of Inner City Press report as follows:

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 27 -- As Sri Lanka announces another internal investigation of the war crimes charges against it, at the UN on Tuesday the Special Rapporteur on executions Philip Alston told the Press he has "begun to commission some analyses of that video tape" depicting Sri Lankan soldiers shooting bound and naked prisoners. Video here, from Minute 6:56.

Inner City Press asked Alston about the reports that people seeking to surrender in May, waving white flags after in some cases speaking with UN officials, were shot and killed, reportedly on orders from the highest ranks of the Sri Lanka military. Video here, from Minute 11:13.

"Let's have an independent inquiry," Alston said, noting that past "investigations" by the government were not independent. He used as his example that two Sri Lankan military figures were charged with investigating the execution video. The government of Sri Lanka cannot be proud of its track record, Alston said.

Before commissioning his own analysis of the video, Alston said he "would have liked the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights" Navi Pillay to have undertaken an investigation, as was done for example by Justice Richard Goldstone of the conflict in Gaza this year.

Inner City Press asked Alston about the countries on the Human Rights Council which have rebuffed his requests to visit, including both China and Russia, which blocked Security Council consideration of the conflict in Sri Lanka this Spring. Alston said "there has to be a limit," presumably to what members of the Human Rights Council can do. But for now, there are no limits. Alston's mandate expires in August 2010 and will no be renewed.

Two other Rapporteurs, on Internally Displaced People and freedom of religion, also took questions about Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Inner City Press asked IDP expert Walter Kaelin about a headline in Sri Lanka, "UN envoy pleased with progress," in the Sunday Observer of September 27.

Kaelin said he'd never spoken with that newspaper, and went on to criticize the conditions in the Manik Farms camps. He said people were being moved out. Inner City Press asked if the so called transit camps also restrict movement. He said that they did, and that this did not comply with international humanitarian law. Video here. But the UN keeps funding it, apparently.

Inner City Press asked about IDPs' right to return to their homes, and not be displaced, as some say is planned in northern Sri Lanka east of A9, by members of other ethnic grounds. While Kaelin said there is a right to return which the government of Sri Lanka has not disputed, he acknowledged that he is not able to closely monitor what happens on the ground. And therein lies the problem.

Inner City Press asked the Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Asma Jahangir about this same issue, Sinhalese versus Tamils, the Buddhist triumphalism some see in Sri Lanka. She acknowledged she'd heard of it, ascribing it to political fights "long ago." Video here. But these fights continue. The UN system, even its special rapporteurs, may appear out of touch. Watch this site. [courtesy: Inner City press]

7 Comments

I am glad to see the world is beginning to understand the dirty tricks of the Sinhala nation. If any Tamil who is above 50 -60 years old, will tell the world all about how-many inquiry commissions, the past Sinhala Governments formed to investigate the crimes against Tamils and what happened to them at at the end. Any inquiry by the Srilanka govt. would only be a window-dressing. After-all these Sinhalees may be the only nation in the world shamelessly, openly and law-fully set high standard for the Tamil students to enter university while setting them lower standard to the same. These people have low moral standards. They also have many of their professionals and academics who have no dignity and sell their professionalism for money. Therefore only an independent inquiry by the UN body can bring the war-crimes to light.

Posted by: afool | October 28, 2009 09:59 AM

Just read the editorial of Washington Times few days ago in which direction the world opinion is moving.

Posted by: SLFireBall | October 28, 2009 10:46 PM

the VIDEO has already been PROVEN to be FAKE ...so what's the point of all this discussion for anyway?

Posted by: Devinda Fernando | October 29, 2009 12:01 AM

A minority race that tried to exploit the free-education provided by the government for all its citizens are now crying foul when the government took the steps to curb that illegal conduct. The world has got to know the "hoodwinking" tactics used by the members of this ethnic group through using child soldiers, fake hunger strikes, blocking of highways with children and seeking refuge only in "Developed Western" countries.

Posted by: SLFireBall | October 29, 2009 11:22 AM

Some people in the UN like Mr Alston are more worried about the Terrorists than the victims of Terrorists word wide.Otherwise what's the purpose of flogging a dead horse like the fake Video.
Instead of wasting the scarce UN resources on "Fishing Expeditions" do something to help the innocent victims of Terrorism to help them get back their lives.
Look what the Terrorists are doing to your own staff in places like Afganistan?

Posted by: Praveen | October 29, 2009 06:48 PM

# Comments - Davinda & Praveen

"The video is already proven fake"

"Some people in the UN like MR Alston are more worried about the terrorists than the victims of terrorists world-wide"

Who has already proven, the video was faked? You mean those Punchi Bandas and Appu-hamies? First of all, we have to probe the educational certificates of those four so-called professionals who said that the video was a fake, to clarify their qualifications were in-fact true.

Yes the UN must be really worried about the SRILANKAN GOVERNMENT TERRORISTS and that is why MR Alston is asking for the neutral investigation in the matters concern. Tigers are already branded as a terrorists group by most of international countries. But the the same international communities are imagining that the BARBARIC STATE OF SRILANKA, is just another democratic country. Therefore only a UN body or an independent body from the WEST(since most countries in Asia violate HUMAN RIGHTS even in their own countries), should probe all war-crime allegations.

Posted by: afool | October 30, 2009 09:03 AM

It is a pity that the members most intelligent race in the South-Asia can't even fabricate a fake video that can pass the scrutinizing of "Punchi Bandas" and "Appu-hamies". By the way their most richest member also is being accused for the largest insider trading deal in American history. What a honest and credible race to deal with.

Posted by: SLFireBall | November 1, 2009 10:40 PM

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