The U.K.’s United Nation Mission in New York, decided not to invite Sri Lanka’s Acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and ex-Major General in Sri Lankan Army (SLA), Shavendra Silva, to the Commonwealth Day reception, triggering a boycott from Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr Palitha Kohona, the current co-chair of the Commonwealth Caucus in New York, media in Colombo reported.
"Kohona apparently stayed away from the reception in consultation with Colombo, although Sri Lanka was this year’s co-host of the event with Australia. According to reports from New York, it is understood that Sir Mark Lyall Grant, the UK Permanent Representative had not even consulted Australia on the decision not to invite Silva, who is at the centre of a political controversy at the UN over allegations of war crimes," Sunday Times reported in the latest edition.
Shavendra Silva was recently barred from participating in the deliberations of the Special Advisory Group (SAG) on peace keeping at the United Nations in New York by its chair Louise Frechette, a Canadian official, who said in a statement released at the UN Head Quarters, that she has advised Major General Shavendra Silva of Sri Lanka, that "his [Silva’s] participation is not appropriate or helpful for the purposes of this Group [SAG]. He [Silva] will not participate in its deliberations."
But the UN secretariat had previously said it could do nothing about Silva’s appointment as it was decided by member countries.
However, Professor Boyle, an expert in International Law, debunked this excuse in an earlier note to TamilNet, where he said, "Ban to appoint a presumptive war criminal to his Staff would be ultra vires his powers under the terms of article 101(3) and thus a violation of the Charter itself."
Shavendra Silva was recently rescued from a civil litigation in a New York court over war-crimes allegations by the diplomatic immunity accorded to UN "diplomats."
While acknowledging "the gravity of the allegations made by the plaintiffs," the Judge in the NY case concluded that Silva’s diplomatic immunity precluded the court from looking at the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims.