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Feb-24-2012 14:49printcommentsVideo

As Silva Barred from Advising UN, Wallstrom Says It's Right, Ban Takes Note

The UN's Margot Wallstrom said there "should be consequences" for "atrocities."

Margot Wallstrom
Margot Wallstrom, European Commissioner for Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy. UN photo

(UNITED NATIONS) - After twenty six days of questions from Inner City Press to the UN over how they could accept as a member of the UN "Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations" Major General Shavendra Silva, named in connection with war crimes, an answer finally came.

Shavendra Silva

On the afternoon of February 22 Silva was told by the Group's chair Louise Frechette that his participation is "not appropriate."

While much reported, few noted the inaction and refusal to speak of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his head of Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous.

On the morning February 23, Inner City Press twice asked Ladsous about Silva and the deteriorated reputation of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Ladsous refused to make any comment.

At the UN's noon briefing on February 23, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey if at least Ban had any comment on Silva and his barring, and whether Ban supports the decision of Louise Frechette.

Del Buey said, "the advice continues to be it is a member state decision." He said that Ban has "taken note" of the development, but it's a member state decision.

Watch video from Minute 5:09.

And Sri Lanka is already making moves, soon to be reported by Inner City Press, which can use Ban's shocking passivity, which stands in contrast to, for example, his comments on the decisions of the "member states" on the Security Council.

Why does Ban feign or claim powerlessness on this?

After the noon briefing, finally Inner City Press got a UN Secretariat official to not run away from the question of whether it is good for the UN to have an alleged war criminal as an adviser.

The UN's Sexual Violence in Conflict expert, Margot Wallstrom, came to speak to the press.

Inner City Press asked about her mandate, and then asked what she thought of Silva as an adviser, and what had to date happened.

Watch video from Minute 6:19.

Wallstrom said there "should be consequences" for "atrocities," and that "I understand that this is what has happened, that he has now been banned from this group. Exactly how that has happened, I do not have all the detailed information.... I think that was probably the right thing to do... I think it is important to make statements and clearly position yourself on these issues."

But Ban Ki-moon must disagree: the only position he has taken on whether an alleged war criminal should advise the UN on peacekeeping is that he has no position.

Nor, apparently, does Ban's head of peacekeeping Herve Ladsous.

And this may, or is sure to, encourage further attempts to launder war crimes in UN blue.

Special thanks to Inner-City Press

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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