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UN GA Removes Proposal Telling Ban Not to Undermine ICC, Sudan Still Objects

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, May 31, 2012 -- Even modest reforms die a quiet death in today's UN. This week's victim is a paragraph in a General Assembly resolution adopted about the International Criminal Court.

 The UN in Sudan has twice flown International Criminal Court indictee Ahmed Haroun into Abyei, and envoy Ibrahim Gambari earlier took photos with ICC indictee Omar al Bashir at a wedding reception for Idriss Deby and the daughter of Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal. (Inner City Press published the photos as found without notice of copyright on the Internet but has removed them after a complaint by a wire service that never wrote of their significance."

  Back on February 27, Inner City Press wrote a then-exclusive story about a paragraph in the draft ICC resolution directing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to "refrain from... undermin[ing]" the ICC.

This was in Paragraph 5bis of the draft GA resolution on the ICC agreed by all 120 ICC state parties and obtained by Inner City Press. The languages, sources told Inner City Press, was put forward by Switzerland; the draft resolution was being facilitated by Japan.

The paragraph in late February read:

"5bis. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure, consistent with the existing UN policies and pursuant to the Relationship Agreement, that United Nations field presences and representatives, especially peacekeeping operations, special political missions, special envoys, special representatives and mediators, refrain from any action, including the use of resources, that could undermine the efforts of the International Criminal Court, and requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on the application of such policies for the consideration of the General Assembly at its sixty-seventh session;"

    Then the process went underground. There were closed door meetings in the UN's North Lawn building; delegates told Inner City Pres of pushback and problems.

   When finally the resolution was adopted on May 29, the paragraph was done.  On his way up to the General Assembly Hall, passing the Security Council, Japanese Permanent Representative Nishida told Inner City Press there were still "small steps' forward in the resolution.

  Upstairs in the GA, Nishida emphasized instead paragraphs 6 and 11, which read in relevant part

6. Recalls article 3 of the Relationship Agreement according to which, with a view to facilitating the effective discharge of their respective responsibilities, the United Nations and the Court shall cooperate closely, whenever appropriate, with each other and consult each other on matters of mutual interest pursuant to the provisions of the Agreement and in conformity with the respective provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the Rome Statute as well as the need to respect each other’s status and mandate, and requests the Secretary-General to include information relevant to the implementation of article 3 of the Relationship Agreement in his report to be submitted pursuant to paragraph 11 of the present resolution...

11. Emphasizes the importance of the full implementation of all aspects of the Relationship Agreement, which forms a framework for close cooperation between the two organizations and for consultation on matters of mutual interest pursuant to the provisions of that Agreement and in conformity with the respective provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the Rome Statute...

  What a representative of a Permanent member of the Security Council told Inner City Press on May 31 was the "Gambari paragraph" got taken out. Another said that this year's ICC resolution, despite what Nishida said, was hardly different that last year's.

  Asked for comment, a UK Mission spokesperson told Inner City Press that "the UK welcomes the adoption of today’s resolution on the Report of the ICC by consensus.  The UK was one of a wide range of cosponsors that included both states parties and non-states parties, and the resolution represents strong international support for international justice."

  And even so, Sudanese Permanent Representative Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman spoke in the General Assembly and said Sudan does not consider the resolution binding on it, becuase it is not a member of the ICC and because the ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, "is not neutral or impartial" and has "politicized justice."

   So even in watered down form, the resolution still drew this statement. So dies reform.

  On the other hand, as Inner City Press first reported, now well placed African Permanent Representatives are telling Inner City Press that Gambari came to New York and said he was quitting. Inner City Press has asked Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople when it is that Gambari (of the $600,000 house in Darfur) will leave, without answer.

Earlier this year when Inner City Press for a week asked about Gambari's photographs with Bashir, and Ban's spokesman belatedly said that Gambari had been told to avoid such contacts in the future, Gambari's response was that he would do it again.

Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman about that, and was simply told that the message was conveyed. But it seems Ban's message was not heard, or perhaps was meant to be misunderstood. And now even the paragraph is done. So it goes at the UN.

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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

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