Genocide Adviser Refuses to Answer on Sudan, Defers to Khartoum PR
By Matthew Russell Lee
October 28 -- When the UN's Special Adviser on the
Prevention of Genocide hosts an event about “Dangerous Speech on
the Road to Genocide,” it seems fair to ask about Sudan, the only
country subject to an indictment for genocide by the International
Criminal Court -- especially
with the Adviser is from Sudan, and the
UN helps produce and sell his books about Sudan.
when Inner City Press asked Francis Deng and his co-presenter Dr.
Susan Benesch for this opinions of genocide and Sudan, and the place
of media strategies in this, the UN's Deng refused to comment, and
instead deferred to the Ambassador of Sudan, Dafaala Al Haj Ali
Osman, who ridiculed the ICC's genocide charge by only partially
quoting the definition of genocide.
Neither Deng nor Dr. Benesch
offered any response to Sudan, including the misquoting of the
Inner City Press asked its question, Dr. Benesch said, “Mr. Lee
asked Dr. Deng about Sudan and about Sri Lanka and since he's far
more expert over those topics, I would defer to him to answer.”
Deng in turn deferred, to the representative of the very government
accused of genocide. Deng said, “I think we should restrict our
questions and comments on the subject of today's lecture.” Video here,
from Minute 57:08.
the event was about genocide and media, a question about genocide and
the Sudanese media seemed well within the subject. Inner City Press
emphasized this, so that Deng couldn't use fairness as a basis for
not answering noting the presence of Sudan's Ambassador in the room.
ask him,” Deng said. Video here,
from Minute 57:08.
Dafaala Al Haj Ali Osman took the floor, and made a presentation he
later admonished Inner City Press to “reflect.” He began by
saluting “my fellow citizen” Francis Deng, then launched into
Inner City Press, video here
from Minute 58:
the fact that Professor Susan has answered you [that] this is out of
the context of this workshop or lecture, I will try to give you a few
glimpses, how this is related to Sudan. I think you have read this
pamphlet it talks about a definition of genocide, 'the deliberate and
systematic extermination of an ethnic, racial, religious or national
full quote, relegated by the UN to the inside of its pamphlet, is
the “intent to destroy, in whole OR IN PART, a national ethnical,
racial or religious group.']
Deng (2d from right) on a UN Panel, answers on Sudan
and books not shown
Ambassador, using the half-quote of the Genocide Convention,
we want to apply it to Darfur we find a rebellion against central
authority... they killed Army people and Police... I think any
student of law would know that the central authority or the President
is obliged by the constitution of the land to react to put an end to
a military operation, to establish peace and security.. To share some
information not unveiled for one reason nor another, the Prosecutor
General of ICC in his accusation that the President has committed
genocide mentions three tribes. For your information 45 individuals
or more of those three tribes are members of the National Parliament
in Sudan and more than that number are Parliament members in the 25
parliaments in the regional states of Sudan. The federal Minister of
Justice in Sud belongs to one of these tribes. I really don't follow
you, if it really a genocide, how would the President spare all these
people, and not exterminate them?”
survival (for now) of 45 people disproves genocide. One would
have expected Ban Ki-moon's Special Adviser for the Prevention of
Genocide to have spoken up against such an interpretation. But he did
not. As Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky on
October 27, it is unclear when Deng is working and speaking for the
UN, and when he is not. From the transcript:
Press: This is also on Sudan, but it’s sort of on the UN. There was an
event yesterday held by DPI [Department of Public
Information] in the North Lawn Building called Event, New Vision, it
was about Sudan and it had Mr. [Francis] Deng speaking at some length
about books that he has written. It had books for sale outside the
room and had the host, the Ambassador of Sudan. But what had led me
to wonder is, I know Mr. Deng is the Special [Adviser] on prevention
of genocide, but it seems… I’ve heard from people that these
books are written on UN time; that this is actually one of the things
that he does in his UN office. And so, I just, I am unclear of what
to make of the book, of the books that he produces. If they are
created on UN time and with UN money, are they UN views or is there
some, what are topics is his office working on in terms of…?
Did you attend it yesterday?
Press: I did attend it.
And you asked him?
Press: And I asked him afterwards what other countries he is
working on prevention of genocide; he said, “We don’t like to be
country-specific.” But it seems like it’s hard to prevent
genocide unless you name countries.
Well, this is obviously something that Mr. Deng can comment on. I
don’t have anything on that.
Press: What are rules, I guess I am saying, for UN, if a UN
official spends his time in the UN building while on UN time writing
books? Does the UN own the copyright?
That’s what you are saying. Or you said, “Some people say”. That is not
an established fact, Matthew. You shouldn’t then turn
it into an established fact. You said, “Some people say”.
Press: Okay. If you can look into it and find that no staff
member’s time is entirely…
As I said, it sounds like you had the chance to ask Mr. Deng
Press: But also, was, is the book being sold…
Any other questions? Yes, Khaled?
Permanent Five member of the Security Council told Inner City Press
on the morning of October 28 that these “Deng book questions”
were good. So while Deng as Special Adviser on the Prevention of
Genocide may have refused to answer the question genocide and Sudan,
maybe these questions about Deng and the UN will be answered. Watch
* * *
UN Sudan Debate
Degenerates to Book Sales, In Empire of Deng,
By Matthew Russell Lee
27 -- When the UN holds an event entitled “Sudan,
a Vision for the Future” six weeks before the referendum on
secession is slated to be held, it seems worth going to.
were piles of books for sale by the event's entrance in the UN's
North Lawn building. UN official Francis Deng, charged with
preventing genocide but rarely seen these days, was speaking about
his writings, including “New Sudan in the Making” published,
strangely, by Third World Book of Trenton, New Jersey and Asmara,
event was moderated by Kiyotaka Akasaka of the UN Department of
Public Information, who intervened to cut short the response by
Sudanese Ambassador Dafaala El Haj Ali Osman so that questions could
be asked the audience, including those online.
City Press asked about the religious differences between South Sudan
and the North, about how external debt might be divided, and the
implications of a planned new oil pipeline to run south through
Kenya. Only one of these questions was answered, and even then only
by saying that debt is being negotiated in Addis Ababa, under the
rubric of Liabilities.
City Press asked Mr. Deng what other countries he and his UN
Prevention of Genocide are working on, including what he might think
of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's panel of experts on accountability
in Sri Lanka, which has not even asked to visit that country.
said “we don't like to single out countries” then said he was
distracted due to an upcoming appointment. He was courteous as always
and patrician -- of Abyei aristocracy -- but one wonders what is being
say that under Deng, the UN Prevention of Genocide office is largely
devoted to producing and promoting Deng's writings, including the
time of other staff members of the Office.
if you can get it,” one insider
commented, while noting that a less distracted person might be better
for the UN's Prevention of Genocide post, unless it is by UN design a
Deng earlier at UN, book sales and Prevention of
Genocide not shown
Deng's writings are being produced on UN time and with UN money, then
shouldn't they be attributable to the UN? His “New Sudan in the
Making” volume has a chapter by “Eltigani Seisi M. Ateem” --
the former UN staff member at the Economic Commission on Africa who
was drafted, including by joint UN - African Union mediator Bassole,
to lead the Darfur “Astroturf rebel” group the Liberation and
Justice Movement. (Astroturf, the artificial surface in the now
demolished Houston Astrodome, means fake grassroots.)
appearing on the panel was UN peacekeeping's Team Leader of the Sudan
Operational Team Jack Christofides, who afterward briefed a Permanent
Five Security Council diplomat about the “logistics” of the
Security Council's recent trip to Sudan.
is the UN accomplishing with all this book publishing and self- and
Deng-promotion? As Deng concludes New
mark... is therefore pertinent.” Watch this site.
UN DPI and Mr. Akasaka, having debates with Q&A is
generally a good thing. But it was alleged by a panelist after
Tuesday's session that the purpose was to promote sales of a UN
official's book. This should be clarified. Mr. Akasaka at the end
mentioned possible future sessions on Haiti or Pakistan -- perhaps
Jean Maurice Ripert could lead that session, since he is still being
paid despite being relieved of his Pakistan envoy position. Could
there be a book deal in the works?
* * *
At UN on Darfur
Arrestees, Susan Rice Issues Skeptical Statement,
Sudan Blames on NGOs