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Sudan Army Involvement, and Some UN Negligence, Shown in New Report

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 21 -- New light is cast on war crimes in Sudan 2010 to 2012 by a study released today, Anatomy of a Conflict.

  In 160 pages, with over 700 footnotes, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's (HHI's) Signal Program for Human Security and Technology details the movements of Sudan army units and commanders, the destruction of buildings, the looting of Abyei.

  Inner City Press covered Sudan then and now; the report (at note 64) cites Inner City Press questions and reporting about the UN providing free helicopter flights to Abyei for Ahmad Haroun, indicted by the International Criminal Court of war crimes in Darfur.

  Haroun is now advising those who attacked and killed the Dinka Ngok paramount chief in Abyei; the UN then as now is refusing to answer questions about its actions and even mandate during that fight.

  The report notes that in October 2011 Inner City Press asked Herve Ladsous, who had just arrived as the fourth Frenchman in a row to lead UN Peacekeepering, about flight of janjaweed militia from Darfur to Blue Nile states (Note 525).

  Ladsous, who at that time was willing to answer Inner City Press' questions until his answer got him into trouble, said that "We have no mandate to follow who is flying from where."

  No mandate? Three peacekeeping missions, a billion dollars each, and no mandate? No performance? No accountability?

  Now since May 2012, Ladsous refuses to answer Inner City Press questions, including about the mandate of UNISFA in the recently killing of the Dinka Ngok paramount chief.

  South Sudan Permanent Representative Francis Deng, the murdered chief's brother, told Inner City Press that UN Peacekeeping is not implementing the protection of civilians mandate given to it by the Security Council. But still, no response from Ladsous.

  HHI's director Michael VanRooyen in releasing the embargoed study said it "demonstrat[es] how humanitarian actors can see other, future disasters in new ways." UN Peacekeeping, to the degree it is an actor, should not only see but act in new ways in the future.

  The Signal Program report is useful, and we anticipate referring to it more in the future. But it does not cast a critical enough eye on UN Peacekeeping and its leadership: these are the common denominators in the failure to protect civilians in Sudan, now in South Sudan, and in Eastern Congo. That is a study that is needed. Watch this site.

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