Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On Haiti, UN Does If-Asked on Release of Martelly Cronies, Withholds Report

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 22 -- When cronies of Michel Martelly in Haiti were quickly released on serious charges, the UN in Haiti said nothing. So on April 21 at the UN noon briefing (transcript here) Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it:

Inner City Press: Since the UN has a mission in Haiti... there was a report that close affiliates of current president, holdover President [Michel] Martelly were charged with various crimes.  And then recently, on Friday, two of those accused were very swiftly released and cleared.  One’s name is Woodly Ethéart.  The other is Renel Nelfort.  Many have raised questions about the rule of law aspect of releasing friends of the President after very serious charges, including kidnapping, money-laundering, etc.  So I’m wondering, MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti), does it have any response to this?

Spokesman Dujarric:  Sure.  They’ve taken note of the accelerated procedure by which the two defendants that you mentioned were acquitted of very serious charges, including kidnapping for ransom, drug trafficking, money-laundering and organized crime, just to name a few.  We further note yesterday’s filing for an appeal with Haiti’s Supreme Court by the Minister of Justice and Public Security against the fact that the lower court took the decision of releasing the two defendants.  The decision’s been appealed.  And the UN stands by the Haitian judicial authorities to swiftly and effectively use the powers and functions conferred upon them under Haitian law to exercise judicial oversight in this matter and ensure the delivery of justice.

  That's an "if asked" -- the UN only says it if it is asked. MINUSTAH, as noted, refuses to answer Inner City Press' questions after its reporting on cholera, or at the demand of UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous (UN missions not under his control, in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, all answer Inner City Press' questions.) But why would the UN wait like this?

  Well, first the UN didn't even summarize its report on Ladsous' "peacekeepers" shooting at unarmed protesters against Martelly in Haiti. Then, after Inner City Press asked a half dozen times, a short summary was given, saying that no one was hurt.

  Inner City Press asked, why is this report on excessive force not being released? The UN's response was that it is an "internal" report. Really? We'll have more on this.

  When UN Peacekeepers are determined, by the UN itself, to have shot at civilians by using inappropriate force, what accountability is there? None, with Herve Ladsous atop UN Peacekeeping. But even the supposed reporting in the incidents is inconsistent - and misrepresented.

From the UN's April 6 noon briefing transcript, video here and embedded below:

Inner City Press: While you were away or last week, the summary was released of the incidents in Gao.  And I wanted to know, since Mr. Ladsous did not answer this question, does the report contain a review of the deal that was struck between the UN mission and the MNLA in Tabancourt that gave rise to the protest in which three civilians were killed?  And I also wanted to bring to your attention that during the stakeout by Mr. Ladsous on Thursday, the microphone was grabbed by Mr. Ladsous' spokesman to avoid just this question.  Since you previously said it wouldn't happen, I wanted to know what you think of it.

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:  I think on the issue of the summary, what was released is released.  I have nothing to add to the summary.  My understanding is that Mr. Ladsous' spokesman pointed to another journalist to answer the question, and that's the way it happened.

Inner City Press:  He grabbed the microphone.

Spokesman Dujarric:  Go ahead.

Inner  City Press: I just wanted to make you aware of that.  But I'm saying is that the summary of the report was released, but it seems like the underlying incident that gave rise to the protest wasn't answered about in any way.  What does the UN understand…?

Spokesman:  The report looked at, at the incident, which is a very violent confrontation.  And I think we've made our recommendations clear, and I think the investigation was done rather swiftly.

Inner City Press:  And is the Haiti report about shooting at civilians going to be similarly summarized?  And if not, why not?

Spokesman:  The Haiti report is currently… has now been finalized.  [The Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and [the Department of Field Support] have been in contact with the relevant police-contributing country concerned, which has decided to repatriate the unit commander.  In addition, three officers have been placed on modified, nonoperational duty pending the final result of the inquiry.  So I will… I hope to have more on that for you.

  But Dujarric only referred to repatriation, not to any disclosure, as in Mali, of "excessive or unauthorized force" under Ladsous. Why not?

  On Mali, after Ladsous' MINUSMA like France, for which Ladsous was a diplomat including during the 1994 Rwanda genocide, urging the escape of Hutu genocidaires into Eastern Congo, reached side deals with the MNLA rebels about Tabankort, there was a protest in Gao.

  UN Police ultimately under Ladsous' command shot and killed three civilians. In this case, because the Malian government wanted an investigation of the killing of protesters which supported its positition, the UN did an investigation and at least released a summary. (Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press' questions including about the roots of the protest, his mission's deal with the MNLA in Tabankort.)

   But in Haiti, where Ladsous' peacekeeping mission was filmed shooting at protesters who oppose Michel Martelly, the report has not even been summarized. MINUSTAH chief Sandra Honore told Inner City Press the report is finished and "with DPKO" - that is Ladsous. But no summary is being released. Ladsous refused Inner City Press' question about this, and scribes ignored that these are two incidents of shooting unarmed civilians, in two countries, under Ladsous. Who is responsible?

   Vine here. These questions took place at the UN Security Council stakeout, but Reuters and Agence France Presse did not mention it, only blaming Rwanda. Both previously tried to censor Inner City Press coverage of Ladsous and French colonialism, to the extent of moving to ask the UN to throw Inner City Press out.

Which approach is journalism?

AFP wasn't even AT this stakeout - Ladous sought to avoid questions by repeating his talking points in French, but no AFP. Then Reuters told UNTV to give it the microphone, to ask about Rwanda. Ladsous leered. Then a retired Reuters reporter was pointed at by Ladsous' spokesman Nick Birnback, who then grabbed the UNTV microphone to take it away from Inner City Press.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2015 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]