Preaches Rule of Law But Immune on Haiti Cholera, Srebrenica, Injuries
July 6 -- As the UN on Wednesday promoted a “Rule of Law
Indicators” implementation guide, questions about the UN's own
compliance with the rule of law arose.
Given recent confirmation that
the UN peacekeepers brought cholera into Haiti, and this
decision finding liability for Dutch troops in Srebrenica, with the
UN still claiming immunity, Inner City Press asked, how can the UN
preach to countries about the rule of law?
UN Peacekeeping called it a “big legal question,” on which he'd
defer to Ivan Simonovic, Assistant Secretary-General of the Office of
the High Commissioner of Human Rights.
that the purpose of immunity is so that diplomats are not “harassed.”
He referred to the film “The Whistleblower” -- but said “however
this does not mean that there should be more privileges and
immunities abandoned because they serve certain purposes for the UN.” Video
UN impunity. Liability to Haitians for cholera is not
it would be accountability. Earlier on Wednesday Inner City Press
asked the head of UN Women Michelle Bachelet about charges that
Egyptian UN peacekeepers in South Kordofan in Sudan were involved in
sexual abuse of women in Kadugli. Bachelet said UN Women, with three
offices in Sudan, checked into it “on the ground” but did not
how much did
the UN, or UN Women, speak with SPLM-North, whose AL-Hilu has taken
to writing letters directly to the Egyptians, bypassing the UN which
has given no answers, with questions about the Egyptian peacekeepers'
involvement with government militias? Rule of law indeed.
Long shot at rule of law, workplace injury in UN garage 7/6/11 (c) MRLee
on July 6 Inner City Press witnessed a workplace injury at the
construction site in the UN between the Security Council and briefing
room, in the garage. A stretcher was brought from far away within
the UN complex, to replace FDNY ambulances which are generally not
even allowed into the UN. “There were no safety officers there,”
another witness later complained to Inner City Press. Could the
construction worker, if necessary, sue the UN for negligence? Or is
there no rule of law at the UN?
* * *
Srebrenica Found Liable, UN Is “Studying the
5 -- After UN peacekeepers from The Netherlands allowed
mass murder at Srebrenica, immunity has repeatedly been invoked to
avoid responsibility. But now that a Dutch court has pierced that
veil, what does the UN have to say? So far, nothing.
the end of May when Ratko Mladic
was arrested, the Security Council's press statement on the arrest was
delayed for ten hours, which sources attribute to an attempt to omit a
reference to Srebrenica from the statement (click here for
Inner City Press' story at the
July 5, Inner
City Press asked
spokesman Martin Nesirky:
do you have any comment on this Dutch court decision on
Srebrenica, which has now found an appeals in the Netherlands has
found that Dutch UN peacekeepers at the time, you know, liable and
responsible for the death of people under their protection? Some
people are saying based on this decision they are going to reopen the
immunity of the UN in the case. What’s the UN’s view of that
we’re obviously aware of the court’s ruling, and clearly
we want to study the entire ruling in detail. And that is something
that we are in the process of doing.
from the UN Spokesperson's Office -- top UN lawyer Patricia
O'Brien refuses to answer questions from the press -- Inner City
Press later on Tuesday sought out UN staff present in the Balkans at
the road by Srebrenica was used by Serb forces to get to a bauxite
mine. Facing some sniper fire, it was clear that an attack from then
would come. Why did the UN then do, or not do, what it did? We are
waiting for the UN spokesman's answer.
Footnote: The Bosnian Mission to the UN tells Inner
City Press that its minister will be in Washington for a Srebrenica
anniversary ceremony on July 11 and in New York the next day, across
the street from the UN. We'll be there.
* * *
updated -- The UN
has for a second time offered a free UN
flight in Sudan to Ahmed Haroun, under indictment by the
International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur, the UN
admitted Friday in response to questions from Inner City Press.
March 3 the UN
Security Council met about renewed fighting in the disputed Abyei
region. Back in January, Inner City Press got the UN to acknowledge
they had flown ICC indictee Haroun from South Kordofan, where he
serves fellow ICC indictee Omar al Bashir as governor, to Abyei.
UN has defended
this controversial flight by saying that Haroun and Haroun alone
could stop violence in Abyei. The UN never explained why the
government of Sudan, which has an air force currently bombing civilians
in Jebel Marra in Darfur, couldn't itself fly Haroun.
UN said it was
a scheduled flight, then UN Mission in Sudan chief Haile Menkerios
Inner City Press that it was a special flight. Inner City Press is
told such flights cost $40,000, and the UN has confirm no
reimbursement has been sought from the Bashir government.
violence has continued, making the UN flight of ICC indictee Haroun
harder to justify even by the UN's own argument.
March Li Baodong of China if the UN Peacekeeping official who briefed
the Council, Atul Khare, had mentioned if Haroun would again be flown
in a UN helicopter. Li Baodong did not directly answer.
the March 4 UN
noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's
spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm or deny that that the UN would
once again fly ICC indictee Haroun to Abyei, even now that his work in
connection with the first flight has proved ineffective.
to all UN correspondents that yes, Haroun attended today's
meeting in Abyei, and yes, “he was transported” by the UN.
the ICC. Meanwhile Ban Ki-moon brags about the Security Council's partial
referral of the situation in Libya to the ICC -- a referral that Ban
Ki-moon did not even call for until after the Council voted to make
of 3:48 pm -- Human Rights Watch, via Richard Dicker, submitted
is the second time in recent weeks the UN has transported Ahmed
Haroun who is charged by the ICC with war crimes in Darfur. We have
real concerns because the U.N. should not be in the business of
transporting Haroun. There needs to be an extremely high threshold of
urgency for such action by UNMIS.”
and the US,
with the latter two asked if they knew in advance of the UN's new
flight of ICC indictee Haroun. Given her
media, & after hours of non-response by the US Mission
to the UN,@AmbassadorRice
has been asked directly as well. Watch
spokesperson, I would only reiterate the message that my two
Ambassadors have both said on the record (and published by Inner City
Press) first time around: that we aren’t going to second guess how
UNMIS fulfills its mandate to provide good offices to the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) parties in efforts to resolve
differences through dialogue and negotiations. I’d only add that
this work is particularly important at this sensitive time, to
contain any potential escalation after the recent Abyei violence.”
again that violence has persisted despite the UN flying ICC indictee
Ahmed Haroun in the first time, and that it is the role of UN member
states to oversee the UN Secretariat, not to defer in this case to
what some see as its promotion of impunity - but at least the UK
would put its position on the record.
Subject: Haroun and Abyei
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
be unaware of who is causing the violence in Abyei.
And yet "diplomatic sources" report seeing the burial of 33
bodies - all southerners.
a similar ploy to invade Poland) - and today thousands
of civilians fled Abyei fearing another crisis like in June 2008. The
Dinka Ngok villages north of Abyei, such as Maker, have been
burnt to the ground. The end explains the means. There is a
creeping ethnic cleansing going on in the Abyei region despite the
agreements of 2005 and the Court of Arbitration ruling in 2010.
out, that of arming arab militias to burn villages. I hope to see
more of your questions pinning the UN to the responsibility to