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After Ladsous & Ban Retaliate, Whistleblower Kompass Cleared, But No Reforms

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 5 -- Ban Ki-moon's tenure as UN Secretary General became embroiled in one scandal after another in 2015 -- but at his “year-end” press conference he refused to answer a Press question directly on it. Video here and embedded below. Vine here.

 On January 5, after yet more alleged rapes by UN Peacekeepers were reported in the Central African Republic, Ban's head of Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous pointedly refused an Inner City Press question about the rapes (Vine here), which by contrast the Ambassadors of New Zealand and Uruguay answered.

 Now, on January 18, the UN has confirmed to Inner City Press that the whistleblower of the CAR rapes, Anders Kompass, has been cleared, without reference however to any reforms. Inner City Press on January 18 asked:

Inner City Press: Anders Kompass, the whistleblower in the CAR [Central African Republic] rape inquiry, has said that he received a letter from OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] saying that he's been exonerated and cleared.  And he also said… this is what I wanted to ask you about… is… you know, that he doesn't understand… he said he's saddened, and it's a mystery why most of the UN leadership decided to do this to me when they know very well how badly the UN was handling these type of cases.  So, this seems to be… what do you… one, would you confirm the OIOS sent such a letter?  And, two, although he doesn't name names, he in the… in this process has named fairly high names.  What's your response to what he's saying?

Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq:  Well, regarding his case, yes, I can confirm that the Office of Internal Oversight Services has written to him, and they've confirmed that the cases against him are now closed.  And so that is where we stand on all the various cases concerning Mr. Kompass.  Regarding how we deal with these matters, as you're aware, the Secretary-General appointed a panel headed by Judge Marie Deschamps to deal exactly with that very question.  And she came out with a report, of which you are all, I think, fully informed.  You've heard what she had to say.  You've seen the report, which we have made available in its entirety, and it is now being studied for follow-up action.  So, we continue to see what we can learn from this and how we can do better.

Inner City Press:  But, has anything been… I guess… one of the things that he talks about in his interview is to say that… that he wants to make sure that other UN staff are not dissuaded from blowing the whistle.  Although he's now been cleared, it obviously was quite a process.  There was an attempt to remove him from his job, which he was only restored by the internal justice system.  Are there any steps taken to actually encourage, rather than discourage, UN staff to come forward when they're aware of the rape of children?

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  Well, certainly, the Secretary-General believes that all staff should be encouraged to come forward.  This is the purpose of all of our various newer initiatives, including, for example, the Human Rights Up Front initiative.  But, beyond that, you, yourself, just pointed out that he was cleared by the internal justice system.  And that is a sign that we hope staff take to heart, that the internal justice system does, in fact, work.  And although it is… can be a tedious process and, for the people participating in it, it can be frustrating, we have tried to make sure that the internal justice system is strengthened enough that it will come to the right conclusions as you go through the process.

  Does this really encourage or discourage UN whistleblowers? We're still waiting for that answer. But even as Ban and his spokespeople refused to answer basic questions ranging from Sri Lanka to Burundi, corruption cases to rapes, his UN Correspondents Association now known as the UN Corruption Association, having charged $6000 for seats next to Ban, continues to promote him - without questions, literally. It seems Ban will appear at UNCA on January 29.

  UNCA head Giampaolo Pioli, who tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN for accurately reporting that Pioli had accepted rent money from Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka's ambassador, then gave a "UN screening" on a war crimes denial film in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, has issued this, only to those who pay UNCA money, leaked by a disgusted UNCA member:

"Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would like to meet with UNCA members and all UN correspondents for the New Year's visit this Wednesday, Jan 6th, 2016 from 10:35 to 10:50 am in the UNCA room. It will be an opportunity for him to say a few words to all of our colleagues and to exchange his best wishes. There will not be a Q&A session but as in every year it is a great occasion to be together. Please attend."

 Well, no. Providing a rah-rah session with no Q&A is pathetic. And, "all correspondents" will not enter the UN Corruption Association, which charges money for access to Ban. January 6 was canceled, but may be set for a repeat on January 29.

 And yet, Ban should be asked, and should answer, questions such as those raised by the new rape changees in CAR, particularly now that his head of Peacekeeping has again refused to answer. We'll have more on this.

The former President of the General Assembly John Ashe and four others have been indicted, Ashe for buying documents from Ban's UN Secretariat.

Ban's envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon was exposed by leaks as having taken instructions and then a job from the United Arab Emirates.

And Ban's head of UN Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, is listed in UN Dispute Tribunal documents as having tried to cover up child rapes in Central African Republic by peacekeepers from his native France.

  Inner City Press, which Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric did not call on despite calling two separate times on the same UN Correspondents Association scribe, asked audibly, “Do you have any update on the John Ashe indictment? Bernardino Leon? These were major developments this year.” Vine here.

  But Ban refused to answer the question. He walked out of the briefing room, shaking hands scribes. The press conference began with Dujarric setting aside the first question for the head of UNCA, who thanked Ban for attending an event on Wall Street for which UNCA charged $6,000 to sit with Ban. This is the UN Corruption Association.

  A question on or to cover up the sexual abuse scandal was arranged, with Agence France Presse congratulating Ban for this response to the sexual abuse scandal. (Senegalese Babacar Gaye was urged to resign, Ladsous who on camera linked the rapes to “R&R," video here, remains in place.)

Ban read out a wan answer on Burundi; his deputy spokeperson refused an Inner City Press question on Burundi at the previous day's noon briefing.  We'll have more on this.

Ban once promised monthly press conference but his last one was three months before, then nine months before that. On September 16 with the UN being less than successful in mediating in Yemen and Libya, Syria and South Sudan, accused of rapes in Central African Republic and killing 8,000 in Haiti with cholera (after 40,000 died in Sri Lanka with little response from the UN), Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was asked, What is your legacy?

  That question, nor none of the other 11 Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric selected, did not refer to the rape scandal, much less deadly cholera or the Sri Lanka report released earlier in the day in Geneva, after months of delay and supposed concern by Ban.

  Inner City Press asked, before the press conference ended and then again before Ban left the room, “Anything on Sri Lanka?” But there was nothing. Ban's spokesman Dujarric didn't even allow Inner City Press to put a question to UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, who covered up rapes in DR Congo, Darfur and now CAR.

  Most recently, Ladsous linked rapes to a lack of “R&R,” rest and relaxation, video here.

Dujarric himself cut off Inner City Press questions on what Ladsous said, and declined to answer on Reddit in an “Ask Me Anything.” (He didn't say he's ANSWER everything, one wag pointed out.)

  But even beyond the scandals, Ban did not in his opening statement mention Somalia, or CAR, or Darfur; none of the questions selected by Dujarric was about Africa. (One wire points out Africa was part of a UN-at-70 question; noted.)

    Inner City Press also tried to ask about Burundi -- nothing - and South Sudan, on which we are preparing a story.

  It was Voice of America with the “What is your legacy” question. Ban said he'd answer next year. Inner City Press might answer sooner. Watch this site.


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