6th May 2011

Hon Ban Ki-moon


United Nations

My dear Mr Ban,

Following my previous correspondence on the selective and sometimes tendentious nature of the report given to you by Messers Darusman and Ratner and Ms Sooka I have come across yet further evidence to challenge their claims.

You will recall that the Report refers several times to the work done by the ICRC to supply food and medicine and to evacuate patients (though it turned out that the LTTE sent many more so-called bystanders than actual patients).  In no place in the Report was there any record of the facilitation by Sri Lankan forces that made these humanitarian operations possible.  I had indeed recalled positive mention of this in an ICRC report last year, and tried to find this a few months back, but such mention could not be traced in the press releases I was given.

However, in seeking further details following the publication of your Panel’s Report, I found the attached letter from the then Head of the ICRC, Paul Castella. This is the more significant in that he was not generally seen as positive towards this country, as compared to both his predecessor and his successor.  I should add though that I had cordial relations with him, and felt he was under great pressure from others with personal agendas.

I even wrote to him once in confidence about some statements that caused me worry, and he responded promptly and indicated that he was aware of the concerns I had raised, and that the ICRC in Colombo would make some adjustments. I was assured of this again in Geneva by Ms Christine di Bierli, Deputy Head then I believe of the ICRC, though almost immediately one of her staff there made a mockery of what she had said through a strange interview to the BBC.

She assured me that he had been misquoted, and as a remedy promptly put up what she said was the actual text of the interview on the ICRC website.I appreciated her concern and her sincerity, and pointed this out to the BBC, which seemed to accept the point. However whenback in Colombo, the BBC correspondent assured me that the offending comments had been made, and even offered me a tape of the interview.

I declined to take it and told him I believed him, which was perhaps a mistakeon my part-not because I now doubt what he said,but because I should have produced the proof of badfaith to Mr Castella.  It would have substantiated the point that the good work being done by Heads of Agencies in Colombo was being subverted by others, whether junior staff here or influential individuals abroad who had no understanding of the Sri Lankan ground situation, but were influenced by energetic and relentless propaganda abroad.

With rcgard to this letter I attach, it could be said that our navy personnel were simply doing their duty. However, the manner in which Mr Castella praises their kindness and their discipline suggests a very different perspective from that of your Panel, which uses the word ‘disciplined’ just once in the whole Report, to describe the LTTE. The mindset of such Panelists, supposedto be judicious and balanced, using what is generally a complimentary term to describe terrorists boggles the imagination.

Their failure to consider evidence such as the attached is understandable.  It is not  understandable that the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations should have publicly issued such a Report without at least checking it for references and ascertaining whether the viewsof responsible heads of agencies had been given due weight.

I would be most grateful if you could check on this and let me know why such evidence has been ignored while the Panel went out of its way to describe the LTTE as disciplined.  I can see now why it seerns necessary to avoid transparency about the  source of the information the Panel has regurgitated, but perhaps a session in which  you meet in an open manner with the headsof agencies in Colombo at the relevant  times would help to set the record straight.

Yours sincerely,

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

Member of Parliament