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As Sri Lanka Panel Meets With Nambiar, 4 Month Clock Frozen, Pillay’s Office Will Staff

[Inner City Press, Tuesday, 20 July 2010 19:22 No Comment]

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.

On June 22, UN Spokesman Nesirky said the Panel would finish "within four months of the commencement of its work." So are these three days of meeting not "work"?

On July 19, Inner City Press observed and exclusively reported on the Panel’s three members meeting in the UN’s North Lawn building, with Lynn Pascoe, Nicholas Haysom and then across First Avenue in the UN’s DC-1 building. Inner City Press quoted panel member Steven Ratner than no further “UN permission” will be needed for the panel to seek to travel to Sri Lanka.

At 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 staffed.

Mr. Nesirky, after 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.

Beyond Mr. 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.”

Nambiar’s memo 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 Experts.

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Vijay Nambiar, Panel and commencement of its work not shown

Nesirky replied that the staffing is being done under the aegis of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

Nesirky announced 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.

If the Panel’s 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?

[Full Coverage]

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