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UN Resignation of Petrie Caused by Inaction on Staff Genocidaire, UN No Comments

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 20 -- The UN moved Charles Petrie from Somalia to Burundi in April of this year, and now on November 1 he is leaving the employ of the UN.

  On October 19, Inner City Press asked the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq why Petrie is leaving. He is not being thrown out of the country, Haq said. “Clearly, he has been talking about this, and so, you could get the answer just as easily from Mr. Petrie. I wouldn’t have any way of adding to his own comments.”

  But a September 30 resignation letter from Petrie to Ban Ki-moon, obtained elsewhere in New York by Inner City Press, shows that Petrie is choosing to leave the whole UN system, due to the UN's inaction on genocidaire Callixte Mbarushimana, and that while he will now work part time on Somalia, it will not be through the UN, but on behalf of European donors.

  For a UN official to leave the UN system due to its failure to act on a genocidaire who worked for the UN is news -- which may be why Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson's Office has refused to say anything. Back on October 11, Inner City Press asked

Inner City Press: does the UN have any comment on the arrest in Paris of Callixte Mbarushimana?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: I know who you mean, and this is an ICC [International Criminal Court] arrest. We’ve seen the same press release or statement that you have on this person…

Inner City Press: He worked for the UN; I am wondering what the response…

Spokesperson Nesirky: We of course know where he worked before, and you also know the full history to that. What I can simply say is that we are aware in the same way that you are — from the media and from their press release — that the International Criminal Court has announced that this man was arrested earlier today in Paris by the French authorities following a sealed ICC arrest warrant. That’s what I can tell you.

   But the UN could have said more.

UN's Ban with Petrie, inaction on genocidaire and resignation not shown

  The public record shows that Petrie was the UN's Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Rwanda at the time of the 1994 genocide. In his September 30 letter of resignation to Ban, Petrie urged

the UN to come to terms with the case of Callixte Mbarushimana, a former staff member of UNDP (1992 - 1995 Rwanda, 1996 - 1998 Angola) and later UNMIK (2000-2001), accusing of having participated in the murder of thirty-three people at the time of Rwanda's genocide, among [them] UN colleagues. To a large part as a result of the UN's inability, or unwillingness, to initiate an investigation of the accusations that were know to it by 1996, Callixte Mbarushimana won a legal action against the UN in 2004 which resulted in the organization paying his thirteen months salary as compensation for the 'violation of his rights.'”

   The UN could have addressed this, but didn't. Perhaps the “review” that Petrie's letter to Ban says he will embark on will help address this. Watch this site.

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After Burundi 1-Party Election, Murder of Opposition, UN Declares Victory

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 -- When the UN says it will help with an election, which then includes only one party and the opposition killed, can it be called a success? Apparently it can.

  The UN's envoy to Burundi Charles Petrie is now leaving “months early.” But when Inner City Press asked if he is being thrown out, and has accomplished his objectives as one published report has it, UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq insisted that Petrie “is not being persona non grata’d. He is departing of his own volition, as he himself has said.”

  Petrie was previously PNG-ed from Myanmar, and he has apparently changed his M.O. in response to that ejection. Now, when the opposition drops out and is killed, Petrie blames the opposition. One cynic said that he is going to Somalia because that country's UN supported -- and UN selected -- Transitional Federal Government is the only government so weak it couldn't PNG anyone.

Ban Ki-moon & Petrie in Burundi, democracy not shown

From the UN's October 19 transcript:

Inner City Press: Can I ask about Burundi? [inaudible] said that Mr. Charles Petrie is leaving several months early from the country and it’s also, this is intertwined with reports of the execution of 22 ex-rebel FNL [National Liberation Front] individuals. He is quoted, Mr Petrie is quoted, as saying that the opposition, by boycotting the elections, failed the country, but that he has accomplished — this is in a separate article — that he is leaving the country ahead of time because he has accomplished his objectives. What exactly is going on? What is the UN… one, can you confirm this, these reports of execution of ex-rebels? And two, what are his objectives and why is he leaving early? Is he being “persona non grata’d”, as some say?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq: No, he is not being persona non grata’d. He is departing of his own volition, as he himself has said. I wouldn’t have any further comment to add to what he himself is saying.

Inner City Press: What were his objectives, though, if in fact no election was held and people are being killed?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Clearly, he has been talking about this, and so, you could get the answer just as easily from Mr. Petrie. I wouldn’t have any way of adding to his own comments. But regarding the question of reported executions, we’ll certainly look into this. I’ll see whether there is anything further we can say about these reports. We certainly have seen some worrying reports and we’ll need to look into that. I’ll see whether there is anything further to say on that.

Haq said it is easy to hear from Charles Petrie. We'll be waiting. Watch this site.

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UN's Ban Takes Note of Grenade-Scarred One Party Election in Burundi, Mutineer Taking Power in Guinea-Bissau

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 30 -- When an election on which the UN has spent years ends up with a single candidate and the opponent in hiding, and polling's marked with the deadly tossing of grenades, what does Secretary General Ban Ki-moon do? He “takes note” of the one party election, in this case in Burundi. But what does this mean?

On June 28, after Ban praised the referendum in Kyrgyzstan that was marked by ethnic cleansing then declined to take questions on his praise, Inner City Press asked his spokesman Martin Nesirky if Ban would also praise Burundi. We'll have something tomorrow, Nesirky said.

And indeed he did. In the opening of the June 29 noon briefing, Nesirky provided updates on two outstanding questions:

Yesterday I was asked about Burundi. The Secretary-General takes note of the presidential election that took place on 28 June. In regard to the rest of the electoral cycle, the Secretary-General calls on all Burundians, and their political parties, to continue settling their disputes through peaceful means and an inclusive dialogue, and he urges them to persist in consolidating national cohesion and their hard-won peace.

I was also asked yesterday about the appointment of a new Chief of Staff in Guinea-Bissau. The United Nations takes note of the appointment of Major-General Antonio N’djai as the new Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Guinea-Bissau. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Guinea-Bissau, Joseph Mutaboba, is consulting national and international stakeholders on the way forward, particularly with respect to security-sector reform, addressing impunity, restoring respect for the rule of law and strengthening democratic governance. Our goal is to secure the cooperation of all concerned, including the military leadership, in the continued pursuit of our peacebuilding mission, which includes as a central feature the introduction of vital reforms in the security sector.

It goes without saying that a one party election is far less than ideal. In Guinea-Bissau, the UN had expressed concern that the mutineer might be rewarded with a government post. But then when it happened, the UN merely “took note.” And so Inner City Press asked Nesirky:

Inner City Press: I just wanted to follow up on these two announcements that you made on Burundi and Guinea-Bissau. In the Burundi election, there was only one candidate, and since then grenades have been thrown at the Electoral Commission, killing two people. You’re saying Ban Ki-moon takes note of it. What does that mean?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I said he took note of the presidential election.

Inner City Press: Is that some kind — “taking note” means he doesn’t view a one candidate’s election positively, or he views the throwing of grenades as unhelpful? What is he taking note of?

UN's Ban takes note of one party election in Burundi, grenade attacks not shown

Spokesperson: Of the presidential election that took place on 28 June. And what it also says — I can repeat it for you — is that he calls on all Burundians and their political parties to continue settling their disputes through peaceful means and inclusive dialogue; peaceful means and inclusive dialogue. And that’s a message that he took directly to the people, including the President, when he visited Bujumbura earlier this month.

Inner City Press: I was just wondering, maybe if you could get [inaudible] like at the Security Council, like taking note. Is he troubled by it? Is he concerned by it? Is he just aware of it? I just want, if you could give…

Spokesperson: Well, for now it says what it says, Matthew. It says what it says. There may be more coming from the Mission subsequently, but that’s what we’re saying at the moment. And importantly, he stressed on the spot, when he was there in Bujumbura, and he’s saying it again now, through me, as he is on his way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that this is a process after a conflict, and there needs to be some persistence here to work to consolidate national cohesion. No one is saying that they’re there yet. But they need to push ahead with that. And in doing so, they need to be as inclusive as possible. Okay, and you want to add something on Guinea-Bissau, did you say?

Inner City Press: No, I think it’s just you used exactly the same phrase, and it seems like, I think the question you were asked yesterday is whether the UN, which had expressed concern about this individual getting the post, is concerned now that the person has gotten the post. And I guess, I put the two together, maybe “taking note” means there is concern. I just wasn’t sure.

Spokesperson: Well, it’s not for me to try to parse or interpret the wording. I think, probably, I’d have to leave that to you.

    So how should we interpret Ban's mere "taking note" of this UN's inability to positively impact even Burundi and Guinea Bissau? 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.

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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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