Colombo accused of "buying" influence in UN
[TamilNet, Thursday, 22 September 2011, 03:15 GMT]
Screening of Sri Lanka's rebuttal to widely circulated Channel-4 video that raised accusations of war-crimes by Sri Lanka, was allowed inside the United Nations auditorium by an official who was an ex-landlord of Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona, Inner City Press, an independent news agency that covers United Nations, reported. ICP disclosed that Giampaolo Pioli, President of the UN Correspondents' Association, had "collected money as rent from Kohona for years," the ICP report said.
Kohona's ex-landlord Mr Pioli
Dr. Palitha Kohona
UK Channel 4 documentary "Killing Fields," was not allowed to be shown inside UN, despite a request, ICP said.
"Whereas repeatedly throughout the summer proposals for movie screenings and briefings in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium were e-mailed for consideration and debate by members of UNCA's executive committee, including this reporter, in the case of Kohona's Sri Lanka Mission's request to screen "Lies Agreed To," this was not done. The decision was made by Pioli, ICP said, accusing Pioli of conflict of interest.
Pioli was also alleged to have asked Mr Kohona during the screening of Sri Lanka's video on September 6th, "if the Tamil Tiger rebels were not akin to the Red Brigades in Pioli's native Italy."
"When this obvious conflict of interest was raised, the response was that the monetary relationship began when Kohona was a UN staff member. But in a sense that's worse: how can a reporter ostensibly covering the UN objectively have a monetary relation with a senior UN official?" Inner City Press asked.
ICP further disclosed that on September 21 Mr Pioli had visited the Inner City Press' office and demanded to know Inner City Press' sources related to his past monetary relationship with Kohona.
Palitha Kohona has been accused of alleged involvement in the "white flag" killings, and a complaint has been filed against Kohona at the ICC based on Kohana's citizenship. Confidential sources in ICC indicate that an investigation on Kohona is on-going. Sydney Morning Herald in its investigative reporting discovered that Kohona, infact, sent a message to the surrendees to drop arms and walk to the soldiers waving a white flag. Most of the surrendees were allegedly executed after surrender.
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