On Silva, Ambassadors Meet With UN Peacekeeping, Rice Says Concerned
Three weeks ago Inner City Press began asking the UN and then the US Mission to the UN how they could accept as a UN "Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping Operations" of General Shavendra Silva, whose Division 58 is repeatedly named in connection with war crimes in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts report on Sri Lanka.
On February 16, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative confirmed this and said there was a meeting on February 17 on the topic. That meeting, of ambassadors with the two Under Secretaries General for peacekeeping, Inner City Press understands, took place Friday at 9:45 am.
At 10:30 am Friday, Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about a letter that Russell F. Graham, Minister Counselor for Host Country Affairs at the US Mission to the UN, provided to Silva’s lawyers to tell a US Federal Court that Silva, as Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative, has diplomatic immunity. On that basis, that case against Silva was dismissed.
Ambassador Rice took the question, some from Inner City Press on Sudan, and said, "These are two different things. The State Department has to respond on immunity. He unfortunately or fortunately is an accredited diplomat."
Then, more generally on Silva, Rice told Inner City Press, "it’s very concerning that someone with his background would be selected to serve on this advisory group. We have conveyed this to member states, as well as to the Secretariat. There are a lot of efforts underway to address [this, probably best not to be discussed publicly."
Moments later, another Security Council Permanent Representative approached Inner City Press and said, "on the Sri Lankan, you have done well." Inner City Press has sent questions to USGs Malcorra and Ladsous, with response by deadline.
Prior to this development, the Sri Lankan Mission's action was to sent a letter of complaint to Inner City Press, sending a copy to Ban's spokesman as well as to some in the UN press corps.
Inner City Press in less than 24 hours published and responded to the letter, citing only some of the many references to Silva's Division 58 in the report.