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-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

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


Follow us on TWITTER

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

UN Torture Expert Urges UN Not to Handover to Sudan, Gambari & Rice Absent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 26 -- In Darfur, moves by the UN to hand over to the government five supporters of Fur rebel Abdel Wahid al-Nur were criticized Tuesday by the UN's own Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak.

  Inner City Press, which first exposed the UN's draft agreement between Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti and Ibrahim Gambari of the Darfur mission UNAMID, asked Nowak if such a turn over would violate the law. Video here, from Minute 30:40.

  Nowak replied that objectively, “there is no question that torture is widely practices in Sudan.” Are the five sheikhs, political opponents targeted by the government of Omar al-Bashir, for some reason exempt from torture?

  Gambari's draft agreement with Karti, leaked to and published by Inner City Press, sought only to preclude execution, with a promise from al-Bashir. Even this promise has been disavowed -- Sudan's Ambassador to the UN Dafaala Al Haj Ali Osman on October 25 told Inner City Press such a commitment has not been and could not be made, that at most Gambari must have been referring to the idea that “blood relatives” might offer forgiveness (for money). Video here.

Gambari was in New York on October 25, according to Nigerian mission sources, but did not come to the UN Security Council's meeting about Darfur and UNAMID. Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Martin Nesirky, where Gambari is.

On October 26, Inner City Press asked Nesirky for Gambari's or the UN's response to Nowak's statement urging the UN not to turn the five over to Sudan. Nesirky replied that “special rapporteurs have independent status.” Video here, from Minute 32:07.

On October 25, chief UN peacekeeper Alain Le Roy told the Security Council “we have made clear we cannot hand over the sheikhs in the absence of a clear commitment the death penalty, if issued, would not be carried out, alongside other assurances.”

But Nowak, when asked by Inner City Press, said that “diplomatic assurances with respect to torture are not worth the paper they are written on.”

While Gambari has asked Inner City Press, in a containing in the UNAMID Super Camp, what he can do except negotiate to turn the five sheikhs over to Sudanese authorities, now the UN system's two top experts on torture have said this would violate the law, including customary international law.

   How as the UN so badly lost its way? And who will be held accountable?

Gambari, Rice, Lyall Grant, customary int'l law not shown (c) MRLee

  The issue was raised to Western Permanent Five ambassadors of the Security Council before their Sudan trip. But the UK's Mark Lyall Grant twice said it wasn't among the trip's “terms of reference.”

  The US' Susan Rice has indicated she asked about the issue while in Sudan, but has declined to disclose what she or Gambari said. It was impossible to ask her these questions at the Security Council's October 25 meetings on Darfur and South Sudan, because she was not present and therefore no US official took questions at the stakeout, unlike Sudan's Ambassador.

  What is the US position on torture? Watch this site.

* * *

As UN Gambari Plans Hand Over to Bashir in Sudan, Torture Complaint Mulled at UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 -- Could the UN, or the chief of its peacekeeping mission in Darfur Ibrahim Gambari, be on the verge of violating the UN Convention Against Torture?

  Inner City Press asked the chairman of the UN Committee Against Torture Claudio Grossman this question on October 19, referring to the leaked documents showing Gambari's plan to turn over five supporters of Fur rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to the government of Omar al Bashir, accused of genocide, war crimes and, yes, torture. Video here, from Minute 23:25.

  Grossman answered that “as to the UN system... no one should be sent to places where he or she will be tortured.” Video here from Minute 30. He cited this prohibition to Article 3 of the Convention.

Inner City Press asked, but if a complaint is filed about Gambari's and the UN's pending turn over of five people to Bashir, how would Grossman's Committee Against Torture process it? Video here, from Minute 30:20.

Grossman said that while in one sense the Committee's work is limited to member states, there is creative lawyering. Not only other venues such as Working Groups and the Special Rapporteur on Torture, but also “journalism can play a role,” he said.

So one wonders why the SLA, or someone on behalf of the Kalma Five, doesn't start raising the question as an anti-torture issue, using Gambari's draft -- which contains no assurances on this -- as the basis for the complaints? Watch this site.

* * *

In Darfur, Gambari Criticizes Nur & Inner City Press on Video, Transcription Here

By Matthew Russell Lee

DARFUR, October 8 -- Peacekeepers were sent to Darfur after reports of a brutal campaign by the government of Omar al Bashir against opponents of his regime and civilians perceived as supporting them.

Now top peacekeeper Ibrahim Gambari, as shown by documents leaked to and published by Inner City Press, is near to turning over five supporters of rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to that same Bashir regime, in exchange for a promise by Bashir to commute any death sentence his courts impose.

Several members of the UN Security Council, which ostensibly oversees Gambari's actions along with the African Union, expressed surprise to Inner City Press once they saw the leaked documents, consisting of a draft letter and “Additional Terms” from Gambari to Bashir's foreign minister Ali Karti.

On the UN plane Thursday to El Fasher from South Sudan, US Ambassador Susan Rice told Inner City Press that she intends to inquire into Gambari's offers about the Kalma Camp Five while in Darfur. This echoed a statement of intention previously issued by another Permanent Member of the Council.

After a closed door meeting with the visiting Security Council members, Gambari and two of his military officials, in uniform, came to see the Press. Gambari called Inner City Press' publication of his draft documents “reprehensible” and told Inner City Press to “be careful... lives are at stake.”  Transcription below.

  Yeah, a witness to Gambari's statements later said, the lives of the Kalma Camp Five are at risk if the UN turns them over to a strongman already indicted for genocide and war crimes. “Is this what the UN should be doing?”

  Gambari's statements to Inner City Press were caught on video and will soon be published online as such. For now, here is a transcription, prepared late Thursday night at a guest house in El Fasher outside of Gambari's UNAMID compound:

Inner City Press asked Ibrahim Gambari, “What's happen with the Kalma Camp Five that you are considering turning over to the government... or that documents indicate you are considering turning over?”

Gambari answered: “Here is the situation. We have these five sheikhs who have been accused of some very serious offenses. We have no means as UNAMID to try them... Down the line if ever there was a death sentence, the President has the prerogative of mercy. All has been discussed confidentially. I want to say how reprehensible it was that somebody leaked the confidential communication of the government of Sudan...endangering the lives of those in the camps. The recipient of such a leak I think should also think twice about what they do considering that they are endangering the lives.. We've lost 27 peacekeepers between UNAMID and UNMIS, I mean AMIS.”

Inner City Press asked about Abdel Wahid Nur saying that if the Five are turned over, it will make UNAMID complicit in genocide, and that his group would not cooperate with the UN any more.

Gambari responded, “you quote words Abdel Wahid was supposed to have said... I met Khalil Ibrahim yesterday, asked how about how someone said JEM wants Gambari to resign for Tarabat Market. [He said he] ever said that, never authorized this... I want to hear from Abdel Wahid. I've been to Paris twice, I went to Tripoli...What happened in New York I condemn it. Matthew I have known you a long time, you should be careful... You are a recipient of a leaked document... Journalism also is a responsibility. I regard you as a friend, I used to, I regard you as a friend, I am admitting that.”

Of Abdel Wahid Nur, Gambari said: “He wants all issues resolved almost before he comes.”

“Matthew, I'm very angry with you , what are we supposed to do, keep people indefinitely?”

Inner City Press said, “Several Security Council members, when they saw the leaked documents, said they were not aware that you or UNAMID were in such discussions, and some expressed worry. How much is this Mission overseen by the Security Council?”

Gambari said “Ask them. Ask the S-G. I am responsible to two masters. You have the AU and you have the UN. The unity of the international community is key to finding a solution.”

Inner City Press said, as Gambari backed out the door toward his vehicle, “Transparency you can always say is dangerous, but I think it's probably a good thing.”

“No,” Gambari said. “Believe me, lives are at stake.”

Or maybe jobs, a witness to Gambari's statements later said, adding that the lives of the Kalma Camp Five are at risk if the UN turns them over to a strongman already indicted for genocide and war crimes. Among other lives put at risk, without oversight, transparency or explanation. “Is this what the UN should be doing?” Watch this site.

Footnote: it's worth noting that even before Inner City Press obtained and published Gambari's draft letter to Sudan's Ali Karti, Gambari had already expressed anger at Inner City Press' publication of other leaked documents concerning his time as UN envoy to Myanmar.

  That time, before the UN's September 24 high level meeting on Sudan, Gambari didn't argue about lives being at risk. He claimed the documents were “old” (2009) and not newsworthy. “Just leave me alone,” he said, having in the past declined to respond to questions sentto his UN e-mail address by Inner City Press. Now, the claim that lives are put at risk. Is it just opposition to transparency?

Watch this site, follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

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

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 2006-2010 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -