UN Dodges on
Afghan Crimes and Galbraith Delay, Kosovo Corruption
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse
May 10 -- As civilians are killed in attacks on the Taliban in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, the UN in New York last week dodged
questions on the former. Inner City Press asked, did the UN's Kai
Eide urge Hamid Karzai not to appoint an alleged war criminal as his
running mate? The UN would not answer.
Why hasn't Eide's new
American-suggested deputy deployed yet? The UN claimed that he'd
begun on a delay: but that's not what
his appointment press release
said. The UN dodged on Congo, too, where it works with an indicted
war criminal, and on the blocking of cash into Gaza. Same on the
cancellation of investigations in Kosovo. It was just another week at
4, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe:
City Press: On Afghanistan, there are these reports that Kai Eide met
with Hamid Karzai and asked him not to appoint Mohammed Farhim as his
running mate, given human rights concerns against him. Can you
confirm that that Kai Eide did that? It quotes a UN, a diplomatic
source near Eide as saying that.
Spokesperson Okabe: I have seen the press reports, but I don’t
have anything on that.
rest of the week, nothing else was said. See below on the
non-appearance of Eide's deputy Peter Galbraith.
UN's Kai Eide, war criminals and deputy Galbraith not shown
On Wednesday, May
City Press asked Spokesperson Michele Montas:
City Press: On UNRWA as well, in his meeting, did the issue... UNRWA
has said that Israel doesn’t allow cash to UNRWA to pay its own
staff members and to give small grants to Palestinians in Gaza Strips
and also imposes, I think a tax; does not allow them to bring in
materials as they do elsewhere in the world. I’ve been told that
the Secretary-General has raised this issue with Israel. Did this
issue come up, and what was Israel’s response?
Montas: Not in this meeting, no. Not that I know of.
City Press: And can we find out, from UNRWA I guess, whether this is
still, this remains the case; the difficulty of getting...
Spokesperson: Of course,
we can try to get that information for you.
But nothing, in
fact, was ever provided. Also on May
6, Inner City Press asked closer
City Press: a letter has emerged from Mr. Adlerstein of the Capital
Master Plan confirming something that had been earlier, I think,
denied by the Secretariat that these security risk assessments that
were supposed to be produced for the swing spaces and for this
building, in fact have not been produced. But now they claim they
will be done by the end of June. What’s the explanation of the
earlier statement that these were either done or were not necessary?
And there is a reference to the CEB meeting of 4 April in one of the
letters. Can you confirm that this issue came up and how does this
Montas: I cannot confirm it at this point. I can ask, of course,
Mr. Adlerstein to answer your question.
City Press later, by waiting for an hour outside a meeting closed to
the Press, managed to ask Adlerstein some questions, he said that the
Spokesperson's Office had never passed the question along. On
7, Inner City Press asked Associate Spokesperson Farhan
City Press: There are these reports that the UN has decided to drop
any investigation of irregularities in privatizations in Kosovo
during UNMIK’s [United Nations Mission in Kosovo] time. I am sure
you’ve seen these reports. I wonder, the reports said that the UN
investigators had recommended criminal investigation, but now it’s
all being dropped without anything. And I wanted also, related to
that, to know whether the UN is tracking the involvement in
privatizations of its former envoys to Kosovo such as Steven Schook
and others. Or is that part of the UN’s...(inaudible)?
Spokesperson Haq: Well, first of all there were a certain number of
investigations that took place by a group, the Investigative Task
Force, which was established through UNMIK regulations and was
comprised of representatives of the UN, through the Office of
Internal Oversight Services, the European Anti-Fraud Office, and the
Financial Investigation Unit.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General acted appropriately
on all of the recommendations of the Task Force, which issued its
last report in June 2008. The actions taken by the Special
Representative included referring cases to the Department of Justice
and forwarding recommendations to Pillar IV of UNMIK. As a result of
the Investigative Task Force’s recommendations, criminal
investigations were conducted and proceedings were initiated against
personnel who were found to have committed criminal offenses. The
Department of Justice ceased operations and all of the Department’s
case files have been handed over to the European Union Mission in
Kosovo. Any further criminal sanctions would have to be pursued by
that mission's investigators and prosecutors.
but there's nothing on the UN's own involvement. Inner
asked again about Afghanistan
City Press: I also wanted to know, you mentioned Kai Eide. It’s a
small thing, but Mr. [Peter] Galbraith, who was named his Deputy, is
speaking at some commencement on 16 May in New England. When is he
going to actually deploy to Afghanistan? When is his beginning day? Is
he already a UN staff, and if so, why isn’t he in Afghanistan at
Spokesperson Haq: I believe when we mentioned the announcement we
mentioned when he would start his duties. He’s already
participated in preparation for taking up his duties; he almost
immediately participated in some of the meetings on Afghanistan that
took place about a month ago. So he’s already taken up some of his
duties in that regard.
City Press: I guess what I am saying is, has he already made the
transition? Does he have a UN pass, privileges and immunities,
Laissez-Passer, is he being paid?
Spokesperson: I believe we mentioned his starting time at the
announcement, so you’d have to go back to our announcement and that
would let you know. And with that, I wish you a good afternoon.
But the press
release at the time of Galbraith's appointment didn't mention any
delayed start time. On Friday, May
8 Inner City Press asked
City Press: Marie, on this issue of whether the UN and its Mission in
the Congo, MONUC, are aware of indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda
working with the Congolese Army, the minutes have come out of an 4
April meeting of the Congolese Army in which it is said that Bosco
Ntaganda participated in the meeting, took the floor as adjunct
coordinator of this operation, and spoke. And so I am wondering, is…
earlier, I think on 29 April, Farhan Haq had said “well, we haven’t
seen the document, but we have been given assurances…” Now that
these minutes… Does the UN dispute that minutes from the Congolese
Army show that Bosco Ntaganda is the adjunct coordinator of the
Spokesperson: I don’t have anything beyond what was already said
on the subject.
correspondent was later reminded that he had already been given the
following guidance last week: “The United Nations Organization
Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has not seen
the documents referenced in the media report allegedly showing that
Jean-Bosco Ntanganda is a part of the joint operation. On the
contrary, the Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities have shown
MONUC relevant documents defining the operation’s command
structure, which does not make any mention of Mr. Ntanganda.
has clearly stated that it will not conduct or support joint
operations in which Mr. Ntaganda plays a part. This has been
communicated directly to the DRC Minister of Defence and the Chief of
the Defence Staff, who in turn have assured MONUC that Mr. Ntanganda
is not a part of any joint operation’s command structure. MONUC
leadership continues to engage with our Congolese interlocutors on
that story, and here
for Sri Lanka. And so it goes at the UN...
Sri Lanka, Channel
4 allegations of rape and
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
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16, 2009 debate about Gaza
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City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
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City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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