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UN Guterres Takes 3 Pre-Picked Qs, Bashir Meeting Without Telling ICC Asked After by ICP

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo, Periscope, Vine

UNITED NATIONS, February 2 – After UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres took three pre-picked media questions on February 2, Inner City Press audibly asked him if before he meet over the weekend with Darfur genocide indictee Omar al Bashir, he informed the International Criminal Court's Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda - in advance, as required. Guterres did not answer; his spokesmen have been dodging the question all week from Inner City Press. Here's from the UN Guidelines: "A procedure has been established whereby OLA [the Secretariat's Office of Legal Affairs] informs the Prosecutor of the Court and the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute in advance of such meetings.  The letter informs the Court of the meeting and explains why it is considered necessary." While Guterres refused to answer, Inner City Press is reliably informed that the ICC Prosecutor was NOT informed in advance. Tellingly, when in 2017 it was thought possible that Guterres' Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed might run into Bashir at a summit, the ICC was told in advance of that possibility. On this and other matters such as the continuing lack of any content neutral rules for media accreditation and access, Guterres is more and more lawless. But the three question(er)s picked by his spokesman Dujarric didn't inquiry into Guterres or even the UN's performance at all. This is today's UN. Back on November 10 when Guterres took questions before leaving the UN building and then leaving New York for a week, none of them were on Yemen, much less Cameroon. After the last question - on robots, for which Guterres seemed strangely prepared - there were (gently) shouted questions on Yemen, and Inner City Press asked about Guterres calling Kenya's Ambassador "unfair," click here for that. Even on Myanmar, question two of three, Guterres' answer showed his weakness. He is waiting for a non-binding General Assembly resolution to ask him to appoint a Special Envoy, sometime he could do without any resolution. The glaring omission of Yemen from his opening statement or the three questions his spokesman Stephane Dujarric hand-picked shows the extent to which Guterres is afraid of Saudi Arabia, which has imposed a blockade on Yemen which violates international law, during a famine. Then Dujarric canceled the day's noon press briefing, so no other questions could be asked. Neither he or Guterres less than credible public schedule listed Guterres' next stop, out of the building, at 9:15 am. More on that soon. On October 4, Guterres took five questions, all of them on climate change, and his trip to Antigua and Barbuda. With the UN for example refusing to give any estimate of how many civilians Paul Biya killed this week in Cameroon, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric gave the first question to Voice of America (on climate change), then AP and SABC, then an ex-Reuters reporter who called the US the "elephant in the region." For this, Dujarric canceled the UN's noon briefing on all other topics, while refusing to answer the majority of questions which Inner City Press submits to him and his deputy by email. Guterres cited as a precedent the World Bank loans to Jordan and Lebanon. Inner City Press previously asked him about these, before he became responsible for UN censorship of the Press and cover ups in Cameroon and elsewhere.


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