Andrew Marr and Ban Ki-moon come clean

Today was a day of publishing the previously unpublished. 

Andrew Marr elected to come out and reveal his identity as one of the unproud owners of a super injunction, and declared his intention to abandon any further attempts at gagging the press. Those who have waited with baited breath, (and apparently no access to the internet) now know the subject of that order.  

Ban Ki-moon, also decided to come clean today. His undisclosed information had only been under wraps for 11 days, but it is high time the lid was lifted and here, the assertion that there is a legitimate public interest to be served in publication is unarguably true. 

I am not implicating the Secretary General of the UN in an extra marital scandal in this instance, though, but referring to a report on war crimes committed in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war which until today has not been made public. 

In this scenario, Amnesty has long been playing the part of Ian Hislop- the valiant champion of freedom of information who could be heard modestly gloating on the Today programme this morning-  in asserting the need for the report to enter into the public domain. See this post from a fortnight ago, when we questioned the point of a report which remained secret.

Yet there is no use in crying over spilt milk. What we have so long insisted on has finally been done. The report concluded that tens of thousands of civilians were killed in Sri Lanka between January and May in 2009. It also bolstered Amnesty International’s position that the Sri Lankan government-established “Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” is not impartial and has no mandate or will to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes.

We can only hope now that our calls for this to be the start of a process of investigation are also heeded. We are calling for a full and impartial commission of enquiry established by the UN, which collates evidence on the alleged crimes by both sides, before bringing suspected perpetrators to justice in a transparent and timely manner. 

On the state news agency website this week, the Sri Lankan government rejects the findings of the report and calls on the UN to not release it. I am sure they would rather that we could not even comment on their request for the report to be kept private, nor that there was a report in the first place. However we can, and we have and I for one hope this is the start of an avalanche of reportage.     

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