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As Darfur Rebel Nur Says UN Nears Genocide, UN Silent, Council Visit Next Week

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 2, 2010 -- While Darfur rebel group of Abdel Wahid Nur has threatened to suspend any cooperation with the UN - African Union Mission UNAMID and the UN Security Council embarks on a trip to Darfur, Juba and Khartoum, the UN in New York has no comment.

  Last month Inner City Press published leaked documents indicating the imminent transfer of five rebels from UNAMID to the Sudanese government for prosecution but ostensibly not execution. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky refused to comment on the documents the following day, saying that negotiations were continuing.

  Then rebel leader Abdel Wahid Nur told Radio Dabanga that “if UNAMID agrees to a handover, its task in Darfur will have finished and it will have turned into an enemy and participant in the genocide with the National Congress Party... this would bring about an end to the cooperation between UNAMID and the movement.”

  This seeming newsworthy, Inner City Press on October 1 while awaiting a visa to enter Sudan to cover the UN Security Council's trip asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky for the UN's response:

Inner City Press: in light of those documents that emerged of Mr. Gambari preparing a letter and terms of, and additional terms to Ali Karti of Sudan — there has been a statement by Abdul Wahid Mohamed al Nur saying that if UNAMID agreed to the hand-over, its task in Darfur will be finished and will have turned into an enemy and participate in the genocide with the National Congress Party and will bring about an end to any cooperation between the Abdul Wahid Mohamed al-Nur faction and UNAMID. So I am just wondering what is, is the UN and UNAMID aware of this statement, and what do they make of it? Do they intend to go forward with its handover or do they not take it seriously?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, I would refer you to what I said, I think it was earlier this week that this, as we’ve said, also not just earlier this week, as we’ve, said this is a topic that has been the subject of intense discussions and those discussions continue and they are confidential. And I don’t have anything further to say on it.

UNAMID appraoched, imminent turn over of Kalma Five not shown

Inner City Press: From those documents, things seem pretty close. I think that’s what they are, the, the…

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, Matthew, as I said, this is something that is confidential and continues. It’s important that it’s done in that way.

Inner City Press: But it doesn’t have, you don’t agree I would assume that if they turn them over it would mean that UNAMID is somehow complicit in genocide in Darfur. I guess I just want a response to this comment.

Spokesperson: I mean, I answer all kinds of questions, Matthew, but not hypothetical ones.

But is it hypothetical? Watch this site.

* * *

Sudan Trip by UN Security Council and Press Set for Oct 4, Last Minute NCP Questions, Did Bashir Say Yes?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 1, 2010, updated -- The trip next week to Sudan by the UN Security Council and media including Inner City Press has been confirmed, with the belated granting of visas by the Sudanese consulate in New York on Friday afternoon.

  To some, the trip is still in limbo. A senior official of Sudan's ruling National Congress Party Rabie Abdelati Obeid was quoted Friday afternoon that

We got to know of this information from the media that the United Nations Security Council will come to Sudan. But, up to now, I don’t think our government has received any information to coordinate, or to do the arrangement required for the U.N Security Council... I doubt that this U.N. Security Council (team) will be coming without informing our government. According to protocol, the president should be aware and should know because he is responsible for each and everything in the country. That is why I think such (a) visit will not happen unless this is (first coordinated with the president’s office) or through the proper channels.”

   As presented in New York, the Security Council will travel from Uganda to Juba in South Sudan, west to Darfur, then for meetings in Khartoum. Apparently not part of the meetings is President Omar al Bashir, who has been indicted for war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court.

   The US and UK said they could or would not meet with Bashir, and they said they were negotiating a mutually acceptable arrangement.

Don't ask, don't tell” is the compromise that has been worked out: the Council will not ask to meet with Bashir, and he won't ask to meet with them. But, Inner City Press points out, he could just show up. He is after all the president of the country.

NCP's Rabie Abdelati Obeid, Bashir's green light for trip not shown

   France had also expressed opposition to meeting with Bashir, but French Permanent Representative Araud will not be making the trip. Nor will Russia's Vitaly Churkin, nor Nigeria's Joy Ogwu.

  Churkin nevertheless used a Council meeting on September 30 to ask which journalists had asked to go, and why the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General needed to send anyone at all. Spokesperson Martin Nesirky has been seen rather desperately speaking Russian with Churkin. It does not appear that this has solved Nesirky's and his office's expulsion from Council consultations.

  Leaving New York on the evening of Monday, October 4, the Council will first travel via a UN plane from Nairobi to Uganda and meet with President Yoweri Museveni. The troops he has dispatched to the African Union mission in Somalia will be discussed, their compensation and whether in light of the UN's Mapping Report alleging war crimes by the UPDF in the Democratic Republic of Congo they will be withdrawn.

   Then on to Sudan, apparently. Outside the Security Council chamber on Friday afternoon, the Permanent Representative of a Permanent Five member of the Council said, of course we are going, they have given us the visas and we have the terms of reference. And at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Inner City Press received its visa.

  So what is the NCP's Rabie Abdelati Obeid talking about? Or does this reflect a split in the NCP, perhaps to reveal itself more while the Council is in Sudan?

As noted above, Inner City Press is going on the trip. The goal is to file five or more pieces a day, wireless permitting. Watch this site.

* * *

On UN Sudan Trip, “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” About Bashir, Darfur Stop Unmentioned

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 28, 2010 -- If 15 UN Security Council diplomats travel to a country run by an indicted war criminal but no one can take pictures of it, did the trip really take place?

That was a question being asked Tuesday at the UN, as details leaked out to Inner City Press about the Council's on again, off again and now on again trip to Sudan.

The sticking point had been whether Sudan would demand that the Council Ambassadors meet with President Omar al Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide, and secondarily whether the Council would first visit Khartoum or Juba in South Sudan.

Western diplomats bragged to Inner City Press on Tuesday morning that they had prevailed on both points. The trip would go to Juba, and in all probability to Darfur -- Darfur wasn't mentioned in the Council Tuesday, one participate said -- before going to Khartoum.

The Council won't ask to meet with Bashir, and he won't ask to meet with us,” one seemingly excited diplomat told Inner City Press about the trip on Tuesday, adding that Bashir might conveniently be out of the country, in Libya, he said.

The “don't ask, don't tell” trip, Inner City Press has dubbed it.

UN's Ban & Bashir, with some distance: don't ask, don't tell?

Bashir has also been invited to visit Cote d'Ivoire. Inner City Press asked the UN's envoy to that country K.Y. Choi about this on Tuesday. Choi's response, strangely, was to repeat that inviter Laurent Gbagbo and his two main opponents are all committed to a peaceful first round of elections on October 31.

This perhaps is the approach of the UN Secretariat to questions about war crimes and impunity: to repeat talking points again and again, even if unrelated. We'll see.

Footnote: Just how dysfunctional things have become between the Security Council and the Office of the Spokesman of the Secretary General, which has already been barred from the Council consultation meetings they for years attended and summarized, is exemplified by that the fact that less than a week before the re-scheduled trip, the Council has not told the OSSG about any arrangements for press.

On past trips -- Inner City Press accompanied the Security Council to Sudan, the Congo, Rwanda, Cote d'Ivoire and elsewhere in 2008 -- the Council has let the OSSG invite the press, arrange for visas, and attend. Apparently not this time. Watch this site.

* * *

In Darfur, UN Prepares To Hand Over Bashir's Enemies for “Blood Money- Exclusive

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Must Credit

UNITED NATIONS, September 28, 2010 -- In Darfur, the Joint African Union - UN peacekeeping mission UNAMID is preparing to turn over to the government of Omar al Bashir five supporters of rebel leader Abdel Wahid Nur who have been “accused by Sudanese authorities of having committed crimes,” as shown by UNAMID documents obtained by Inner City Press.

  For two months the government of Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide, has demanded that UNAMID and the UN turn over the five, who “sought refuge in the Community Policing Center of the Kalma Camp for Internally Displaced Persons” after an outburst of violence in the camp.

  Bashir's government imposed a blockade on the camp, not allowing in food or fuel or medicine, and now seeks to close down the camp.

  A draft letter from UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari to Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti recites that Bashir's government “explained its position of principle that Sudan has the right to apply the death penalty as such a penalty is not illegal under international law and is part of Sudan's criminal code.”

  Nevertheless, Gambari writes, “without prejudice to its position of principle, the Government has undertaken to work in a co-operative manner with UNAMID... with a view to bringing the issue to a mutually acceptable conclusion.”

  Click here to see Gambari's letter, as obtained exclusively by Inner City Press.

  In the concluding paragraph of his letter, Gambari “propose[s] that the issue of the five individuals be brought to a conclusion... on the basis of the additional terms set forth in the attachment hereto... to ensure that the five individuals concerned are transferred to the relevant authorities of the Government.”

So what are the terms under which the UN, Gambari and UNAMID would turn over the five to Bashir's government?

Click here to see Gambari's and the UN's Additional Terms, as obtained exclusively by Inner City Press.

   Amazingly to some, under Gambari's Additional Terms, “blood relatives of the victims of the alleged crimes will be called upon to exercise their power to waive the death penalty and seek payment of compensation in the form of 'blood money' instead.”

UN's Ban shakes with Bashir, Kalma Five and blood money not shown

This in reminiscent of an incident in Geneina, multiply described to Inner City Press, in which UNAMID became involved in and even proposed the payment of “blood money” by IDPs to janjaweed who came into the camp beating up IDPs and demanding money for a person they said had been killed.

The “Additional Terms of the Government's assurances for the transfer of the five individuals from the Kalma CPC to the host country authorities” ends with assurances that “UNAMID's Human Rights Division” could visit the prisoners, and that Bashir's government will not “undermine UNAMID's ability to conduct its activities.”

But Bashir's government has restricted the movement of UNAMID peacekeepers and helicopters, as peacekeepers and civilians as in the Tarabat Market early this money lay dying. The UN's human rights divisions in Sudan have been accused by opposition leaders of failing even to come on a timely basis to examine the body of a slain Darfuri student.

   (The UN says it tried, but the Government stopped it -- even if true, hardly a basis for replying on the assurances in the Additional Terms. On September 27, Inner City Press asked a series of questions to Gambari, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Georg Charpentier and Under Secretary General for Field Support Susana Malcorra, click here for article, here for video.)

In this case of the five, UNAMID would rely on “the Ajaweed traditional justice” and, again amazingly, that “the President” -- indicted war criminal Omar al Bashir -- “has the prerogative of mercy which he has confirmed he will exercise in the event that the death penalty is imposed on the accused.”

To many, this is a new low for the UN: accepting the promise of an indicted war criminal not to kill again as a basis to turn over more of his enemies to him. Watch this site.

 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

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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