Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

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

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media -e.g. Somalia, Nepal, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia  For further info, click here to contact us         .

Home -

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


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On Gold-Trading UN Peacekeepers, Zero Tolerance is Null and Void, Lute as Security Chief?

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 7 -- When confronted by scandal, the UN pledges action, that those responsible will be disciplined. But when, months later, there is no discipline but only a warning, the UN has nothing to say. This is what has happened with the involvement by Indian peacekeepers in the gold trade in the Congo.

  Even the UN's whitewashed investigation found that three peacekeepers were involved. They were referred to the Indian military for discipline. Over the weekend, it emerged that warnings are all they will get.

  Monday at the UN, Inner City Press asked the spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon if he and the UN think these warnings are enough.  Inner City Press had previously asked Ban about precisely this UN Mission in the Congo gold (and guns) scandal, and Ban said that the case would be pursued, including by Inga Britt Ahlenius' Office of Internal Oversight Services. One would have expected OIOS and Ban's Office to proactively respond to decision not to discipline. Monday, however, it was only in response to Inner City Press' question that Ban's spokesperson said that "every time we have a disciplinary action, it's taken by the country where the peacekeepers come from."
But in this case, no disciplinary action was taken. Inner City Press followed up, "last time that she was here, Jane Holl Lute said 'we are very encouraged by what the Governments are doing to discipline the people we refer to them.'  So this is a kind of a high-profile case involving trading of gold for guns with rebels.  Is there anything the UN can do to make sure the peacekeepers get more than a warning?"

    The spokesperson did not address Ms. Lute's now dubious comments, rather stating that "except that we keep on talking to Member States about that, the countries contributing troops, there is not much we can do beyond that, beyond putting pressure."

   But what pressure? The UN has already publicly implied that it need peacekeepers so badly that it does not want to require disciplinary action.

Jane Holl Lute in Juba, discipline for Congo gold trading not shown

  Inner City Press asked if the failure to impose any discipline should impact on the UN's future acceptance of peacekeeping from the country that neglects to discipline. The spokesperson finally announced the only ramification of the scandal of UN peacekeepers involved in gold trading: these three individuals will not work for the UN again. Video here, from Minute 12:46.

  Is this what is meant by "zero tolerance" at the UN?  That was Jane Holl Lute's phrase, at press conference after press conference: zero tolerance. Now, it's said, Ms. Lute is being mentioned to replace David Veness as the head of UN security. Given the lack of follow-through on peacekeeper discipline, and her role in steering a $250 million no-bid contract to Lockheed Martin, such a move would send all the wrong messages. We'll see.

 In other UN post news, Inner City Press now reports for the second time the resignation of Assistant Secretary General Yohannes Mengesha. Why the Secretariat has not seen fit to announce the news is not yet known. There are musical chairs afoot. The post vacated by Angela Kane, ASG in the Department of Political Affairs, is said to be lusted after by the wife of USG Terje Roed Larsen, who otherwise faces return to Oslo by the Norwegian foreign ministry.

   Others say that the Political ASG slot might be kept empty, in belated response to the outcry when UNCTAD's vacant ASG slot was used to move Jan Beagle from New York to Geneva. Ms. Kane's old slot might now be used to solve, or at least postpone, that previous gaffe. We'll see.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -