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As UN Admits Transporting ICC Indictee Harun to Abyei, NGOs & US Have Yet to Speak

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 11 -- The UN Mission in Sudan transported and assisted International Criminal Court indictee Ahmed Harun, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky confirmed to Inner City Press on Tuesday, because the UN finds Harun helpful in dealing with violence in Abyei.
   Nesirky implied that the UN will continue to transport Harun, saying that the UN "will continue to provide necessary support to key players."
Video here, from Minute 13:48.

  Inner City Press asked why the UN transported Harun, not only in light of his ICC indictment for war crimes in Darfur, but also of the capacities of the Sudanese Air Force, which has recently conducted bombing raids in and near Southern Sudan.

  If the Sudanese Air Force can bomb, Inner City Press asked, why can't it fly Harun to Abyei? Nesirky did not answer this question. Nor would he tell Inner City Press if UNMIS, led by Haile Menkerios, had checked with UN Headquarters' Office of Legal Affairs or Ban Ki-moon before transporting an indicted war criminal.

  It seems to some that the Sudanese government of Omar al Bashir, who has also been indicted by the ICC for genocide as well as war crimes, has no lack of capacity to transport its official Harun, but instead wanted to get the UN further involved in undercutting the war crimes indictments.

  Already, Haile Menkerios and his counterpart at the Mission in Darfur UNAMID Ibrahim Gambari attended the inauguration of Omar al Bashir. Inner City Press asked Nesirky, without answer, if the UN would provide transport and assistance to other ICC indictees, including Joseph Kony of the the Lord's Resistance Army, widely thought to be in South Darfur.

UN Security Council in Sudan w/ Gambari, 10/10 (c)MRLee

  Earlier on January 11, Inner City Press asked representatives of non-governmental organizations active on Sudan about the UN's transport of ICC indictee Harun. David Abramowitz, the Director of Policy and Government Relations of the group Humanity United, said that he wasn't aware of the reports of Harun being transported, "I have not seen that report."

  Nor has the US administration, including its Mission at the UN, yet spoken on the matter. Some wonder whether they were consulted, even whether, in light of the offer to delink Darfur from the offer to remove some sanctions on Sudan in exchange for the South Sudan referendum, if the US agreed.

  Sam Bell, the Executive Director of the Genocide Intervention Network / Save Darfur Coalition, said he hadn't seen the report confirmed, but either way it did not send a good message to the people of Darfur, where Harun was indicted for war crimes: "already Darfuri are suspicious of UNAMID and UN personnel."

  In fact, Harun was indicted for working with and organizing the type of nomadic tribes which are accused of the killings in Abyei, and now in South Kordofan state as well.

   Nesirky told Inner City Press that "Governor Harun was critical" to bringing the Miseriya tribes together. Video here, from Minute 15:58.

  So in this view, it is not only a matter of the fox guarding the hen house: the UN has taken to transporting the fox to the hen house. Where will there be accountability? Watch this site.

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On Sudan, Questions of Expulsion of Darfur Rebels & Ocampo on Bashir's Billions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 6 -- As the UN and Security Council engage in happy talk about the South Sudan referendum, events in Darfur get worse and worse.
   On January 6 Inner City Press put questions to the UN Permanent Representatives of the US and Sudan, and to the UN itself. On background, a number of Council sources said that the African Union - UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur is not pushing hard enough for access to civilians in harm's way. But the focus is on the referendum.

Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice:

Inner City Press: this agreement by Salva Kiir to eject or stop the rebel groups from Darfur from being in South Sudan. Is it a positive thing? Does it help resolve things in Darfur, the idea that they wouldn't have to go back? It was announced by Salva Kiir.

Ambassador Rice: Our view has long been that it's vitally important that both parties to the CPA refrain from, in any way, direct or indirectly supporting rebel or proxy activity against the other. And so we urged that, to the extent that that has been the case, that it cease.

  But if the fighting that's hurting civilians is by the government against the rebels, how is pushing the rebels back into Darfur going to make things better? Inner City Press asked the UN:

Inner City Press: yesterday during a background briefing, a senior [UN] official said — about Sudan — said of Sudan that there had been, during the fighting in Khor Abeche in Darfur, that a Tanzanian battalion had fed IDPs [internally displaced persons] with their own rations and had been unable to be re-supplied due to Government restrictions on the re-supplying, it seemed to be, of the peacekeepers. Can you confirm that there was a time during that fighting that even the UN peacekeepers were unable to get their supplies in? And if so, was that ever said publicly, and — it seems like in other countries, they complained when its peacekeepers were being in any way blockaded. Did that take place in Khor Abeche, as it seemed to be said yesterday?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Let me find out.

But seven hours later there was no answer. Inner City Press asked Sudan's Permanent Representative about Khor Abeche, if Sudan had blocked resupply of peacekeepers. The Sudanese Ambassador again offered praise for UNAMID, then said that when there is fighting, movement is restricted for the peacekeepers' own good.

    While top UN peaceekeeper Alain Le Roy had told the press that he requested a boost in UN troop levels but Sudan would not agree, Sudan's Ambassador said he was in a meeting with Le Roy on January 5 and Le Roy made no such request. The UN should clarify this.

UN's Ban & Sudan's Ambassador, Khor Abeche answer not shown

Inner City Press asked asked Sudan's Ambassador about the allegations by International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo that Omar al Bashir spirited $9 billion out of the country. He replied it was ridiculous, that Lloyds had immediately denied it.

(As Inner City Press reported at the time, Lloyds was in the news for violating sanctions in Sudan and elsewhere.)

Inner City Press asked about the meeting on this topic between Ocampo and Susan Rice and Alejandro Wolff at the US Mission to the UN, memorialized in a Wikileaked cable. (Ambassador Rice has twice said she doesn't recall the meeting.) Sudan's Ambassador said this showed that Ocampo was “taking his orders” from sources other than the ICC. We will have more on this.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

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

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