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
July 7 -- When confronted by
scandal, the UN pledges action, that those responsible will be
when, months later, there is no discipline but only a warning, the UN
nothing to say. This is what has happened with the involvement
peacekeepers in the gold trade in the Congo.
UN's whitewashed investigation found that three peacekeepers
were involved. They were referred to the Indian military for
the weekend, it emerged that warnings are all
they will get.
the UN, Inner City Press asked the
spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon if he and the UN think
warnings are enough. Inner
had previously asked Ban about
precisely this UN Mission in the Congo gold (and guns) scandal, and Ban
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
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.
there anything the UN can do to make sure the peacekeepers get more
did not address Ms. Lute's now dubious comments, rather stating that
that we keep on talking to Member States about that, the countries
troops, there is not much we can do beyond that, beyond putting
The UN has already publicly implied that it need peacekeepers so badly
does not want to require disciplinary action.
Jane Holl Lute in Juba, discipline for Congo
gold trading not shown
Inner City Press asked if
failure to impose any discipline should impact on the UN's future
peacekeeping from the country that neglects to discipline. The
finally announced the only ramification of the scandal of UN
involved in gold trading: these three individuals will not work for the
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
replace David Veness as the head of UN security. Given the lack of
follow-through on peacekeeper discipline, and her role in steering a
million no-bid contract to Lockheed Martin, such a move would send all
wrong messages. We'll see.
other UN post
news, Inner City Press now reports for the second time the resignation
Assistant Secretary General Yohannes Mengesha. Why the Secretariat has
fit to announce the news is not yet known. There are musical chairs
post vacated by Angela Kane, ASG in the Department of Political
said to be lusted after by the wife of USG Terje Roed Larsen, who
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
UNCTAD's vacant ASG slot was used to move Jan Beagle from New York to
Ms. Kane's old slot might now be used to solve, or at least postpone,
previous gaffe. We'll see.
* * *
These reports are
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
here for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
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
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA
Reporter's mobile (and weekends):
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]