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Mali Envoy Is Koenders, Covered Up in Cote d'Ivoire, As DRC Chief Smashed Haiti

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 17 -- Back on April 24, that Dutchman Bert Koenders would be given the UN envoy job in Mali was exclusively reported, and criticized, by Inner City Press. Koenders while head of the UN's mission in another former French colony, Cote d'Ivoire, refused to investigate his peacekeepers' role in the death of internally displaced people perceived as Gbagbo supporters in the Nahibly camp.

 Amnesty International, among others, has expressed outrage at Koenders' mission's lack of response.

  Once Secretary General Ban Ki-moon presented Koenders' name to Security Council members, Inner City Press went to the May 15 noon briefing and asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Back on 24 April, Inner City Press reported that Bert Koenders of the UNOCI [United Nations Operation] in Côte d'Ivoire was one of the final candidates to be the Mali envoy. And now it appears that a letter has gone to the Security Council naming him as such. I understand you probably won’t confirm it until the Council signs off or not, but I wanted to ask this before that, maybe even before that happens, the IDP [internally displaced persons] camp killings at Nahibly that took place in Côte d'Ivoire that have been said repeatedly by the UN that they were being investigated and that on this very rostrum or podium, Amnesty has called an outrage, said that it hasn’t been investigated that the UN has swept under the carpet its role or failure to protect IDPs who were killed in Nahibly. Has that been resolved to the satisfaction of the Secretary-General, with regard to Mr. Koenders and the mission in Côte d'Ivoire?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I’ll look at the last bit, and on the first bit, you are quite right: we won’t talk about appointments until it is an appropriate time.

  But in the two days after that, there was no answer on what if anything Koenders did about the killings, and after Amnesty International's criticism. Instead, on May 17 Ban's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey confirmed that Koenders is getting the Mali job.

  (Additionally, the other candidate cited in Inner City Press' April 24 report,

Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane from Niger,

the former acting chief of UNAMID in Darfur, would take over in Cote d'Ivoire).

  So Koenders is being rewarded for siding with the government where he ran a mission, and ignoring or even covering up the death of perceived opponents.

  Not the profile one might want in Mali. But this is the UN, at least of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous, whom Koenders imitates.

Back on April 26, the UN refused to confirm to Inner City Press that the Brazilian general best known for cracking down on Cite Soleil in Haiti, Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, was becoming DR Congo Mission force commander. But on Friday, he too was confirmed. Mr Crackdown? What could go wrong, like with Koenders in Mali? Watch this site.

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