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‘This is the transcript of an interview on Radio Australia, which may be heard on ‘‘.

MA:   Just before we get started, am I pronouncing your name correctly, Rajiva Wijesinha?

RW:   It’s Rajiva.

MA:   And how should I refer to you? I mean, you used to be I think the Secretary of SCOPP but what should I refer to you as now?

RW:    Just an ordinary Member of the Parliament.

MA:   And this is for the Liberal Party. Is that right?

RW:   Yes. That’s part of the ruling Government allliance.

MA:   Ok. So it’s part of the coalition?

RW:    Yes.

MA:   Ok. So may be just for some background first. There has been a lot of discussion around the Panel that Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has set up to look at alleged war crimes or abuses in the last stages of the war. What’s the government’s response to that?

RW:   Well, I don’t think it is supposed to be for looking at war crimes, according to Ban Ki-moon at least, as opposed to all the hype. It’s not to look into abuses, it is to advise him on the best way of proceeding with regard to what he claims is his interpretation of the agreement he signed with the President. I think, if you look at it very carefully, you see Ban Ki-moon is in a bit of a bind, because there’s a lot of pressure on him obviously to make some sort of statement about Sri Lanka. And on the whole he’s been quite good about this, about not letting himself be carried away, but with all this pressure mounting he had to find a way of doing this within the legalities of the UN Charter.

MA:    Sorry, he couldn’t actually set up a panel himself but he can set up an advisory group, that’s what you are saying?

RW:   Well, he can’t even set up an advisory group which is tantamount to interference in internal affairs of a state, unless he can anchor it in some way on saying, well, he’s got the concurrence of the state, which he definitely doesn’t, but what he did is he claimed – have a look at the terms of reference – that he reached an agreement with the Sri Lanka President last May. There’s a statement, and I don’t know whether you have read it, it’s a joint statement. And the very clear interpretation of that is that there should be accountability, but this is for the Sri Lanka Government to pursue.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

July 2010
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