Probe into Lankan war not on UN Security Council agenda

Probe into Lankan war not on UN Security Council agenda

June 3, 2010   01:05 pm


Proposed investigations into the war crimes allegations during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka, will not be considered by the Security Council during Mexico’s presidency in June, Claude Heller, that country’s Permanent Representative, said at a Headquarters press conference today.


Regarding proposed investigations into the killing of civilians during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka, he said that was a sensitive issue that was not on the Council’s agenda. The Secretary-General could take action, but for the time being, there had been no initiative in the Council, he added.



Children and armed conflict, justice and the rule of law, and the situation in Sudan were among the major areas to be considered by the Security Council, he added.



Violence in the seas off Gaza and the Koreas, though not now on the agenda, were also likely to come up because of recent developments, Mr. Heller said, adding that new action on Iran’s nuclear programme was also probable. Follow-up to the presidential statement on the violence involving the Gaza-bound flotilla (see Press Release SC/9940) was sure to come up at the monthly briefing on the Middle East, scheduled for the 15 June, as there was great concern about the situation, he said. No special meeting on the issue had been requested, but the Secretary-General had been asked to follow up on the situation, he added.



Mr. Heller said he expected the nature of the proposed investigation to be the subject of much negotiation as there was much pressure for action. An Israeli investigation or independent commission could result, but the leadership of the latter had not yet been discussed. Those matters would have to be worked out in consultations and in a political process involving all interested parties, as well as the Secretary-General.



Regarding the open debate on children and armed conflict, over which Mexico’s Foreign Minister would preside, he said his country chaired the Working Group on the issue, and the adoption of resolution 1882 (2009) had given the United Nations more latitude to act. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, would present the annual report, he added.



Turning to the open debate on justice and the rule of law, a subject on which Mexico, Liechtenstein and Austria had carried out much work in the General Assembly, he said he expected it to focus on conflict and post-conflict situations; international justice and the fight against impunity; and the efficiency and credibility of sanctions regimes. Mexico was now preparing a concept paper for the meeting, he said.



On Sudan, he said Council members should get a broad view of the country from many perspectives, with the Sanctions Committee meeting on 10 June, and a briefing by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the following day. Various representatives of the Secretary-General, including Ibrahim Gambari, Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur, and former South African President Thabo Mbeki would brief the Council on 14 June.



Concerning mandate renewals due this month, he said consultations would be held on a review of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), in view of the adjustments made after the January earthquake. There would also be consultations on the missions in Cyprusand Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the occupied Syrian Golan.



As for issues involving courts and tribunals, he said the Council had this morning set the date for the election of a new Judge of the International Court of Justice. (See Press Release SC/9941) A debate on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwandawas expected on 18 June, and action on judges was set to take place on 28 and 29 June.



He said other issues that might come up included Iran’s nuclear programme. A new draft resolution was now being considered at the expert level, having already undergone several rounds of consultations. The timing of its formal presentation depended on its sponsors, he added.


The Council had not yet received requests to consider issues involving the Korean peninsula, he said, adding that he could not exclude the possibility that it would come up, taking into account the tragic sinking of a Republic of Korea warship, which had resulted in scores of deaths.


He concluded by saying that a report would be presented at the end of June on the visit of Council members to Afghanistan, where Turkey would lead a mission in order to give the Council a first-hand view of the situation from many perspectives. However, the terms of reference had not yet been finalized. The Turkish Government had also invited members to a non-official retreat.


Asked why the presidential statement on Gazadid not mention possible violations of international maritime law, he said several delegations had raised that point, but the first draft introduced by Turkeydid not. Some Council members had thought there was not yet sufficient information on the incident to go further, he added.


Responding to further questions on Gaza, he recalled that the presidential statement included clear reference to full implementation of resolution 1860 (2009), adding that the blockade and the humanitarian situation were of concern to all Council members.


Regarding proposed investigations into the killing of civilians during the recent conflict in Sri Lanka, he said that was a sensitive issue that was not on the Council’s agenda. The Secretary-General could take action, but for the time being, there had been no initiative in the Council, he added.


Asked whether any Council action would be tied to the 17 June General Assembly high-level meeting on transnational organized crime, he said it was not a topic for the Council per se, but had often been discussed in relationship to conflict in various regions. It was important for both the Council and the Assembly to draw attention to the fact that the Palermo Convention and other components of the international legal framework had not yet been translated into real change, he stressed.


In response to other questions, he said friendly relations between Mexico and Brazil, including frequent mutual consultation and many shared views, continued on the Council, despite his country’s non-participation in a Brazilian-Turkish initiative on Iran. There were diverse opinions in that area, he pointed out.

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