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UN Won't Confirm Petition of Hafiz Saeed Nor Explain Lack of A-Q Sanctions Ombudsperson

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 28 – The UN when Inner City Press asked about Hafiz Saeed petitioning to be removed from the Al Qaeda sanctions list on November 28 declined to confirm it, even seven hours later. Nor did the UN explain the failure by Antonio Guterres to name a new Al Qaeda sanctions ombudsperson, nor explain the process. Why not? From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: Can you confirm that Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan who… who… recently released by Pakistan and on the al-Qaida sanctions list, has requested to be removed?  It's some controversy in… in the… South Asia, and I was trying to find out if there is an ombudsman or ombudsperson… this is the bureaucratic part… appointed by António Guterres to replace the one who left in August.  Is there?  And, if not, when will there be one?
Spokesman:  I will check on the ombudsperson's post.  On your first question, that's a question to be asked of the relevant Council Sanctions Committee. Inner City Press: I think they are supposed to file with the ombudsman.  That's why I'm asking you as the… Spokesman:  Yeah, but I think… I'll check.  I think, for some reason, it's a different ombudsperson.  I think the Council… and I may be struck down with lightning for being wrong, but I think the Council has its own ombudsperson for sanctions listing separate from the UN ombudsperson." Then nothing, seven hours later. Unreported during the recent International Court of Justice battle in which India's Dalveer Bhandari bested the UK's Christopher Greenwood, in the General Assembly and then overall when Greenwood withdrew, is the scandal of moonlighting ICJ judges. While the Statute of the ICJ bans judges from engaging “in any other occupation of a professional nature," seven sitting judges have been paid for private investor - state dispute settlement cases. IISD reports that "Greenwood worked as an arbitrator in at least nine investment arbitration cases during his tenure at the ICJ. He was paid more than USD 400,000 in fees in two of those nine cases. It did not identify any cases in which Bhandari worked as an arbitrator during his tenure." Inner City Press is informed that Bhandari, in fact, doesn't do this type of
investor - state dispute settlement arbitration work, as a conscious choice. But others do - we've reported on this in the past, here and here, and will stay on the beat.  In other news, on November 3 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who had just cut short Inner City Press' questions about Guterres' inaction on the killings by the Cameroon government, these questions: "is the Secretary General having a one-on-one lunch on 38th floor today? is it with a journalist / editor? is it on or off the record? why isn't this lunch on the SG's public schedule? is it with Gillian Tett?" Dujarric's and the UN's answer on this: "I have nothing to say to the SG’s schedule that’s not public." Now Tett's FT interview belatedly came out, with no mention of Guterres and his Deputy's involvement in corruption scandals, it led with Guterres complaining about the quality of his private chef and wine cellar. Even UN supporters told Inner City Press it was distasteful. The interview, tellingly, had little Africa where Guterres took 42-year ruler Paul Biya's golden statue; he said he is not a professional tweeter. So who is sending that pablum out? And why did the FT go so soft? We'll have more on this.


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