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On South Sudan, UN Still Murky On Who Shot Copter Down, ICP Asks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 27 -- When a draft resolution was circulated on February 24 to the UN Security Council which would set up a South Sudan sanctions committee, wire reports focused on the views of the Western Permanent Three members of the Council -- the US, France and UK -- and did not make available to the public the actual nine-page draft.

   Inner City Press in an exclusive dispatch on the morning of February 25 published the full draft, here and embedded below.

  Now on February 27 after UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric read out a vague summary of the UN's investigation into the deadly downing of one of its helicopters in South Sudan last August, Inner City Press asked for specifics:

Inner City Press: you said that they were unable to determine who did it, that it came from an area between In Opposition and the Government.  But there was this audiotape of Peter Gadet threatening the UN to shoot down helicopters that was… you know, days before it was shot down.  So, can you say or find out whether these Board of Inquiry people listened to the audio and whether they found it not credible or… why it's not part of the report?

Spokesman Dujarric:  They had all the information that was available to them.  As a general point, a threat is a threat.  I think what they were looking at is for hard evidence to figure out who had shot the helicopter, they were not able to come in with any conclusive information.

Inner City Press: Do they use a different standard of proof than even a court because usually like it seems like --

Spokesman:  A Board of Inquiry tries to establish what happened.  Obviously, they looked at the helicopter and all the information they had.  That's the conclusion they came up with.

  But why? Beyond Gadet, the International Crisis Group, for example, implies that the government itself shot the copter down:

"an UNMISS helicopter was shot down on 26 August, killing three. Although the results of its investigation have not been released, initial reports suggest this was done from territory controlled by the government and by a weapons system know to be in the hands of the government [n. 100:  Crisis Group interviews, UN officials, Nairobi, November 2014; defence and security adviser, Nairobi, December 2014.]"

  For UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous to remain silent is consistent with its approach to the Tabit rapes in Darfur, the Minova rapes in November 2012 by the DR Congo Army, and the shooting at unarmed protesters in Haiti (to say nothing of the killing by cholera there.)

  On the draft sanctions resolution, Inner City Press reported that that of the Elected Ten or E10, African members Chad and Angola, as well as Latin America members Venezuela and Chile, urged that the African Union and the regional body Intergovernmental Authority should take the lead before any Security Council’s decision.

  Sources tell Inner City Press that in this view, decision should only be taken on the draft after the Security Council meets with IGAD and the African Union Peace and Security Council, scheduled the sources tell Inner City Press for March 12 during a French-organized Security Council trip also including, the sources say, the Central African Republic and Burundi. We'll have more on this.

  On an abuse in South Sudan on which the UN was slow and partial in reporting, Inner City Press on February 24 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask first about South Sudan.  There was this very kind of high-profile kidnapping of dozens of children, and what I really wanted to ask you about is, although it was initially said it was unclear who did it, there are now reports that the militia that is responsible for it is basically part of the army of South Sudan.  And I wanted to know what Ellen Løj or the human rights component of UNMISS, what they say about those allegations that seem to be serious?

Spokesman Dujarric:  We’ve seen increased reports of kidnapping of children and forced enrollment into units, whether it’s the report you stated which our colleagues at UNICEF have flagged for us, or other reports, and I know it’s something that is of concern to all of us here.  It is being looked at both by the Mission and by different departments here.  But it’s obviously a big concern.  We have worked very hard to ensure that children are freed from such activity, and we will continue do so.

Inner City Press:  But do you expect the UN system to say who is responsible?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I know they’re looking into these — we’ve seen these reports.  We’re looking into them.

 Now Radio Tamazuj reports on this, citing Inner City Press' questions under the headline, "UN refuses to name abductors of 1000+ men and children in South Sudan."

  We'll have more on that, as well. Inner City Press has put the full text online here:

South Sudan Sanctions Draft Circulated in UN Security Council, Exclusive Reporting on Non-P3 Deferences to... by Matthew Russell Lee

  The full draft we are publishing, in the public interest, above.  Reuters typically said they "obtained" it but did not publish it; Voice of America said they saw it, and mechanically quoted HRW on Russia and China, with nothing about the view of the African and Latin American members of the Security Council. Watch this site.


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