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As IMF Stays French for 5 Years, Contrast With UN's Even Greater Lack of Oversight of Ban Ki-moon

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 5 -- The disclosure by the International Monetary Fund of Christine Lagarde's terms of appointment for the next five years, on July 5 at 9 am, stand in contrast to those of Ban Ki-moon as Secretary-General of the UN.

First, that Lagarde is getting a full five years represents another loss for the developing world countries which pushed for a non-European to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

When it became clear that Lagarde would beat out Mexico's Carstens, some predicted that there would be an understanding that the next Managing Director would be from the developing world, and in less that five years. The latter, the letter of appointment indicates, is not the case.

But the IMF letter of appointment contains restrictions on conflicts of interest, receiving honors and even travel pay which the UN either doesn't have for Ban, or does not disclosure.

The IMF letter of appointment provides:

you will not accept any honor, decoration or award during your tenure with the Fund without the approval of the Executive Board, which shall only be given in circumstances where the acceptance of an honor, decoration or award would not give rise to an actual or perceived conflict of interest.”

  At the IMF, waiver would be need by the Executive Board. At the UN, while the selection of the S-G is ostensibly by the General Assembly, they provide little to no oversight thereafter. Waivers are gotten through the Ethics Officer, who is selected by Ban: a conflict.

  It's worth noting that the one slightly more independent overseer of the S-G, the Under Secretary General of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, had an occupant, Inga-Britt Ahlenius, who was sharply critical of Ban when she left. Her successor, selected by Ban, has said little on the topic.

The IMF letter provides that

The Fund will reimburse you per diem at the rate applicable to Executive Directors plus reasonable vouchered expenses not covered by the per diem, including all hotel expenses, incurred by you for travel in the interest of the Fund. Such expenses shall include travel and hotel expenses of your spouse/partner in attending Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors held outside the Washington, D.C. area, and in accompanying you on official travel in circumstances where this is in the interest of the Fund.”

  By contrast, how much the UN pays for the travel of Ban, his family and entourage is entirely opaque. When Inner City Press even asked about what happens with the airline travel miles of Ban, who speaks about the environment, no answer was provided.

Lagarde & Ban: 5 years of politics, but 1 can be removed, the other can't

   The IMF emailed to accredited media an embargoed copy of Lagarde's appointment letter. The UN won't provide details about Ban's terms of service even when directly asked as its noon briefing.

 The IMF Executive Board hold an annual “performance feedback process” with the Managing Director. Ban proceeds for five years with little to no oversight.

Perhaps most significantly, the IMF letter provides

It is our understanding that, although you have been appointed for a term of five years, either you or the Executive Board shall be free to terminate your connection with the Fund at any time.”

  At the UN, there appears to be no mechanism at all for removal.

Footnote: The IMF also provides to its Managing Director that “you are expected to observe the highest standards of ethical conduct, consistent with the values of integrity.” Whether this permits what even the New York Post now presents as the purchase of -- but non payment for -- sexual services has not made clear, as DSK resigned, paving the way for five years for his compatriot Lagarde...

* * *

With Ban & Bashir Headed to Juba, UN and War Crimes Are Left Murky: Handshakes or Handcuffs?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 4 -- For the upcoming independence day of South Sudan on July 9, the President of North Sudan Omar al-Bashir “will be there,” Bashir's ambassador to the UN told Inner City Press on June 27. The next day, South Sudan leaders in Juba confirmed the invitation.

  Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes in Darfur.

  On July 1, after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq announced that Ban will attend on July 9, and “will meet with [South Sudan] President Salva Kiir Mayardit, as well as with the troops, staff and management of the UN Mission in Sudan, UNMIS” Inner City Press asked Haq if Ban would meet with Bashir:

Inner City Press: Sudan’s Permanent Representative says that Omar al-Bashir will be attending as he is indicted by the ICC [International Criminal Court]. What does the Secretary-General think about that? Is he going to meet with Bashir? Is he opposed to meeting with Bashir if he is there at this, as stated by the Perm Rep in Juba for this ceremony?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: First of all, I don’t believe that there is any plan to meet with President Bashir. But second, beyond that, regarding the invitation, what I can say is that the International Criminal Court is an independent judicial institution. It has a mandate distinct and separate from that of the United Nations. The Secretary-General fully respects and supports the International Criminal Court and its work. How States conduct themselves in the light of the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court is a matter for States to determine in the light of the legal instruments applicable to them.

  This answer appears tailored to avoid the recent controversies of Bashir's travels and meetings with heads of state. But shouldn't the UN hold itself to a higher, less legalistic standard?

  UNMIS has already repeatedly used UN helicopters to fly Ahmed Haroun, indicted for war crimes in Darfur, into conflict zones in which Bashir's and Haroun's National Congress Party is accuse of orchestrating more ethnic cleansing while UNMIS peacekeepers stood by or worse.

Ban & Bashir, right monitoring plan not shown: shaking on July 9?

  To defend those flights, Ban on June 6 said “On this use of UN helicopters by Mr. Haroun, that was done, as we have already explained, on a very specific and special case. It is not routinely provided that these helicopters or military assets are provided to those people who are indicted. There are legal implications – we are fully aware.”

  Really? We'll see.

Footnote: Also on July 1 Inner City Press asked Haq about UNMIS inaction:

Inner City Press: ....the fighting in Kadugli, and they, in one instance they, they quote a person saying that his friend Philip drove to the UN compound and was shot to the chest in front of it. And the Times says UN officials confirmed the killing. So I just wanted to, I guess, I mean there it is, it’s in writing, but how did the UN confirm it and what has it learned from an instance of civilians seeking protection being killed directly in front of the UN peacekeeping base in Kadugli?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: Well, we’ve made our concerns known about the situation in Kadugli, and we have repeatedly called on the parties to halt the fighting. You are aware, and we’ve mentioned several times in recent days the consequences of the fighting in Kadugli. For details on that specific shooting incident, I’d refer you over to UNMIS.

  But in the three days since, nothing has been heard from UNMIS. Watch this site.

* * *

UN Admits 2d Flight of ICC Darfur Indictee Haroun to Abyei in Sudan, Impunity

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 4, 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.

  On 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.

  The 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.

The UN said it was a scheduled flight, then UN Mission in Sudan chief Haile Menkerios admitted to 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.

But now the violence has continued, making the UN flight of ICC indictee Haroun harder to justify even by the UN's own argument.

  March 3 in front of the Security Council, Inner City Press asked Council president for 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.

At 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.

Nesirky said he would check. Ten minutes later, Nesirky's deputy Farhan Haq announced by speaker to all UN correspondents that yes, Haroun attended today's meeting in Abyei, and yes, “he was transported” by the UN.

  This UN promotes impunity, even for one of the few people indicted for war crimes by 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 the referral.

  This UN is promoting and enshrining lawlessness, with no transparency or accountability. Watch this site.

Update of 3:48 pm -- Human Rights Watch, via Richard Dicker, submitted this comment:

This 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.”

Responses have been sought from the Missions to the UN of France, the UK 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 statements this year about social media, & after hours of non-response by the US Mission to the UN,@AmbassadorRice has been asked directly as well. Watch this site.

Update of 4:30 pm -- Then this, from UK Mission to the UN spokesman Daniel Shepherd:

As 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.”

We could note 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.

Update of 4:43 pm -- this too has come in, perhaps in response:

Date: Fri, Mar 4, 201
Subject: Haroun and Abyei
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

You guys ask great questions! Have you noticed perhaps that the United Nations seems to be unaware of who is causing the violence in Abyei. And yet "diplomatic sources" report seeing the burial of 33 bodies - all southerners.

The Arab nomads say the violence started when SPLM police shot at them (Hitler used 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.

Why fly Haroun to Abyei - what is his cv? It is, as you correctly point out, that of arming arab militias to burn villages. I hope to see more of your questions pinning the UN to the responsibility to protect.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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

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