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ICC Indicts Sudan Minister, UN Keeps Working With Him, Entry into S. Sudan Ignored

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 5 -- Now that the International Criminal Court has indicted Sudan's Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein for war crimes, how will he be engaged with by the United Nations, which has two peacekeeping missions in Sudan, and one next door in South Sudan?

  Inner City Press on December 2 asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky, "what’s the plan by DPKO [the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations] to deal with this now indicted official? There was a lot of criticism of the flying of Ahmed Haroun even this week by ICC Assembly of States parties presidents and others. Can we get a statement from DPKO how this changes the ways in which they will interface with the Sudanese armed forces?"

  Nesirky said, "Certainly, I can ask for that."

    But by Monday no statement had been provided. Meanwhile it was reported that the Sudanese Armed Forces under Hussein had crossed into South Sudan and taken the town of Jaw, and were moving again toward the Yida refugee camp which they recently bombed.

  Inner City Press first asked for confirmation by the UN Mission in South Sudan that the border had been crossed; Nesirky said he might have something on that later.

  Then, as is apparently required to get an answer, Inner City Press asked a second time how the UN will engage with ICC indictee Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein. While Nesirky had not read it out at the beginning of his briefing, he had a piece of paper and a response written on it.

  Nesirky said that "the ICC is an independent judicial institution with a mandate that is distinct, separate from the UN."

  He said that " Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein is the Defense Minister of Sudan, where the Security Council has established peacekeeping missions.... to protect the general population. Accordingly the UN will continue to work toward the full implementation" of the mandates of UNAMID in Darfur and UNISFA in Abyei. Video here, from Minute 9:05.

  Inner City Press asked if that meant to work with ICC indictee Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein only "as necessary" or "as before"?

  Nesirky repeated the same answer: Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein is the Defense Minister, and the Security Council has set up the peacekeeping missions. UN transcript here and below.

  Apparently the criticism of the UN for flying ICC indictee Ahmed Haroun to Abyei, where later violence increased rather than diminished, taught the UN nothing. At least in that case the UN emphasized that it would have contact with ICC indictees if it thought it necessary. Here even at the outset no such caveats are offered.

(c) UN Photo
Ban Ki-moon & Herve Ladsous, change after ICC indictment not seen

  So the UN will engage with ICC indictee Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein about Abyei, from which he refuses to withdraw his forces, and Darfur where he is indicted for war crimes. But the UN can't confirm, and apparently hasn't even asked Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein about, Sudan's entry into South Sudan.

  Since Herve Ladsous was installed at the fourth Frenchman in a row atop DPKO, the Department's answers have grown less frequent and more contrary to accountability and to the protection of civilians, whether dodging questions about any standing claims commission regarding the introduction of cholera into Haiti, monitoring Sudanese Armed Forces flights of Janjaweed militia from Darfur to Southern Kordofan or entry into South Sudan. Things seem to be getting worse daily. Watch this site.

From the UN's December 5, 2011 noon briefing transcript:

Inner City Press: I had asked you this question on Friday and I just wonder what provisions DPKO was making now that the head of the army in Sudan has been indicted for war crimes by the ICC? How does, you know, UNAMID, UNMISS and UNISFA, how do they intend to deal with that indictment?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Well, as you know, the International Criminal Court is an independent judicial institution, and has a mandate that is distinct and separate from that of the United Nations. Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein is Defence Minister in Sudan, where the Security Council has established peacekeeping missions to carry out tasks that are essential for the maintenance of international peace and security, and for the protection and welfare of the general population. And so, accordingly, the United Nations will continue to work towards the full implementation of UNAMID and UNISFA mandates. So, in other words, the missions dealing with Darfur and Abyei.

Inner City Press: So will they engage with him only on a sort of as absolutely necessary basis or just as before?

Spokesperson Nesirky: What I’ve said is what I’ve said. The UN will continue to work towards the full implementation of UNAMID and UNISFA mandates, and Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein is Defence Minister in Sudan where the Council has established these peacekeeping missions. Okay?

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