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In Darfur, UN Staff Cited Code Cables Frozen by Mindaouduo, Ladsous Promoted

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive series

UNITED NATIONS, July 6-- When discussion turns to cover ups in Darfur, the role most covered up is that of the UN itself. Inner City Press has reported in detail how the mass rape in Tabit in November 2014 was covered up by UNAMID, run for the UN by Herve Ladsous, who has met with Omar Bashir while refusing Press questions about that and his role in covering up rapes in the Central African Republic.

 On June 30 Inner City Press exclusively reported on the UN's attempt to cover up a senior P5 staff member's complaint against high official Aichatou Mindaouduo at UNAMID, before she was promoted by Herve Ladsous to head his mission in former French colony Cote d'Ivoire. (Inner City Press asked Aichatou Mindaouduo questions, which she declined to answer on UN microphone, while still better than Ladsous.)

  The P5 staff member is Oriano Micaletti. In Darfur, he was head of the UNAMID Humanitarian Protection Strategy, as which he reported for example that "approximately 400,000 people are displaced in Jebel Marra area. They have received very limited assistance during the last few years and are in urgent need of humanitarian aid."

  Amid the UN's near-systemic cover up in Darfur, Micaletti filed a complaint about higher UNAMID official Mindaouduo. Now Inner City Press begins publishing portions of that complaint, for example that Mindaouduo began demanding that all reports of his Sections "be cleared with her Office. Consequently any Code Cable or report prepared by my Sections once transmitted to her Office have been frozen."

 This is precisely the type of cover up of attacks on civilians that are the pattern in UNAMID and more generally throughout UN Peacekeeping under Ladsous.

  The question we have as we review the detailed complaint(s) against Mindaouduo is why Ladsous promoted her up, to SRSG in Cote d'Ivoire. On this, we'll have more.

  After on June 30 publishing the exclusive report, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq about it on July 1:

Inner City Press:  I have three questions, and they are questions.  One has to do with a self-described whistleblower of UNAMID [United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur], a Mr. Oriano Micaletti, who says that he's being investigated after he filed the complaint against Ms. Mindaoudou, who's now the head…

Deputy Spokesman:  Mindaoudou.  Aichatou Mindaoudou.

Inner City Press:  Okay — who's now the Head of the mission in Côte d’Ivoire.  And basically, I mean, one, I wanted to… if you can confirm, one, that he filed the complaint, two, that he's under investigation, and the third thing, which I only learned this morning, is that, is he… is the investigation of what occurred in Darfur being conducted from Juba rather than from Darfur, due to a failure of the board of inquiry or the investigators to get visas?

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  I don't have details about an investigation.  What I can say about Mr. Micaletti is that the abolition of his position was part of a streamlining exercise undertaken in 2014 following Security Council Resolution 2148.  As part of this exercise, UNAMID's structure has been reorganized to improve its capacity and responsiveness to the new strategic priorities endorsed by the Security Council following a review conducted in 2014.  This led to the abolishment of a total number of 1,260 posts, including that of Mr. Micaletti, which was identified following a process conducted by a work group comprised of the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support and the UN mission, UNAMID, and endorsed by the Under-Secretaries-General of Peacekeeping Operations and of Field Support, as well as the Fifth Committee and its resolution in December 2014 approving UNAMID's 2014-2015 budget.

Inner City Press:  Just one thing on that.  Because I see he's been quoted on Radio Dabanga and other places since then on, for example, displacement of people in Darfur due to Government attacks.  And so is there any… has there been any review?  I understand all the resolution numbers that you've listed.  But that the elimination of these posts doesn't end up further reducing UNAMID's reporting on impacts on civilians in Darfur?  Because that seems to have been what his job was.

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we have been trying to make sure the key functions of UNAMID will continue.  This is why we've been in dialogue with the Government, as you know, and as part of that, we've also been in dialogue with the Security Council to make sure that the key functions of the UN mission, UNAMID, the UN-African Union Mission, will continue.

Inner City Press:  Is it possible to find out whether this board, because he says… he himself says he's under investigation, but it's being conducted from Juba and not from El Fasher or Khartoum or elsewhere within the actual countries.

Deputy Spokesman:  Sure.  I can check.  Have a good afternoon. 

  In the six days after, no information was provided. So on July 6, Inner City Press asked Haq again. He said he had no more information, but that he had asked (Ladsous) DPKO. That's the Ladsousification of the UN.

  And even if the UN Security Council directed to cut posts in UNAMID, wouldn't that begin with VACANT posts, not those few reporting on attacks on civilians? We'll have more on this.

  As noted, amid the UN's near-systemic cover up in Darfur, Micaletti filed a complaint about higher UNAMID official Mindaouduo. That's when his problems, leading to him losing his position, began. As Micaletti set forth in a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Susana Malcorra which Inner City Press has obtained:

“In 2013, I filed a harassment complaint against Ms. Aichatou Mindaouduo. Exactly 10 days later, her Special Assistant deliberately  provoked a situation that led to an altercation and a physical confrontation. No action was taken against me because the mission was aware of the provocations that led to the incident.  Those reasons are contained in a code cable that transmitted the case to New York. That cable was suppressed by DFS. It was not forwarded to OHRM. A new transmittal was crafted a year later to refer the case to OHRM by DFS that materially misrepresented the facts.

“It was on the basis of this new transmittal that my services were eventually terminated. I brought these facts to the attention of OHRM and asked for a proper  investigation, but my concerns were totally ignored by OHRM.

“The fact that the other party provoked the incident and lied about it was not taken into account by OHRM. I even appealed the decision to continue with the disciplinary case without a proper investigation to the UNDT, but OHRM acted without bothering to wait for the court's decision on my appeal.

“In the meantime my P-5 post in UNAMID (I am a continuing appointment holder) was abolished even though at least four vacant posts and a good number of fixed term were saved.  There is no satisfactory explanation why my post was selected for abolition under these circumstances, other than the fact that the decision was made by someone in New York.

“The Aichatou case that set all this in motion was itself not investigated. When I tried to follow up more than six months later, DFS set up a low level fact finding panel that reached its conclusions without even interviewing the UNAMID JSR, the DJSR/OPERATIONS or the Chief of Staff who were privy to the pattern of harassment I had been subjected to...Mr. Ladsous had sought informal resolution of the Aichatou case after having promoted her without first resolving the harassment complaint against her.”

  While further answers will be sought, it must be noted that Herve Ladsous openly refuses Press questions, now abetted by the UN Spokesperson. But with all due respect to others involved in this alleged case of retaliation, these questions must be answered, not spun through scribes. Ladsous relatedly appears in a UN Dispute Tribunal ruling as urging the firing of another UN whistleblower, Anders Kompass, who did not simply sit on a report about the rape of children in the Central African Republic by French soldiers. What is the common denominator here? Watch this site.


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