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On Palestine, Ban on Accountability But Not ICC, Transcript Censored

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 9 -- When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held a rare press availability on July 9 about Israel and Palestine, Inner City Press asked Ban for his position on Palestine joining the International Criminal Court.

 Here's how the UN transcribed it, compare to UN Video, here, from Minute 11:49

Inner City Press: I wanted to know - Mahmoud Abbas has said those who feared courts should refrain from committing crimes.  This has been interpreted as basically a statement that they are closer than they were before, going to the International Criminal Court.  And I wanted to know, what do you think is the place of accountability on both sides and what would you think of Palestine seeking to join the International Criminal Court?

SG Ban Ki-moon:  On many occasions, including this time - yesterday, I had condemned in the strongest possible terms and I have also asked that the perpetrators should be brought to justice.  When it comes to accountability, when it comes to justice, the United Nations has been maintaining and will continue maintaining the same principled position – that there should be a clear and firm principle of accountability and justice for any perpetrators of , of course, violation of human rights and humanitarian laws. 

  While appreciated, the ICC part of the question was not answered. Tellingly, the UN in transcribing it took out Inner City Press' statement that it was good for Ban to finally take questions this time, and thanks from the new Free UN Coalition for Access.

  We note this because the UN chose to leave in a reference to the old UN Correspondents Association, which as summarized here  and documented under the Freedom of Information Act here and here has come to function as the UN's Censorship Alliance -- outright censorship.

  If the UN can't accurately and even-handedly transcribe its press conferences, what can it do?

 Ban is set to brief the Security Council on July 10 at 10 am. Things are moving fast. As Inner City Press reported on July 7, the issue of Hamas has been raised in UN negotiations of a “ministerial” text to accompany the High Level segment of the Economic and Social Council.

There is a previously agreed Paragraph 24 about removing obstacles to development for people living occupation, in the UN phrase. It was agreed to last year.

This year the US, Israel and Canada have proposed a new Paragraph 25 essentially about Hamas, a source exclusively informed Inner City Press, saying if “people living under occupation” is in, the anti-Hamas language should be included too.

  Inner City Press asked Israel's Ambassador Ron Prosor about it; he began replying then said that Inner City Press was "pulling his tongue." Watch this site.


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