Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

When UN Flew Haroun, No Reimbursement or Flight Manifest, France vs UK

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 1 -- When the UN flew International Criminal Court indictee Ahmed Haroun to Abyei, they did not even ask for reimbursement from the government of Omar al Bashir, also indicted by the ICC for genocide as well as war crimes.

  The UN admitted this to Inner City Press after rebuffing the question for two weeks. It still refuses to say who else was on the plane with Haroun.

  Meanwhile on February 1, French Ambassador Gerard Araud confirmed to Inner City Press that it was the French Mission to the UN which complained to the UN Secretariat of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about flying Haroun.

  Araud said, “there is a question, and I think it is a legitimate question, he is on ICC so it is really...” His voiced trailed off. Really uncomfortable? Really outrageous?

   As to who made the decision to fly Haroun, Araud indicated he didn't know. He could, one assumes, find out informally: Frenchman Alain Le Roy is the head of UN Peacekeeping.

  Inner City Press has been asking the UN since January 19, after it got spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm the flying of Haroun by the UN Mission in Sudan, for the specifics of the assistance it provided to Haroun, who decided on it and who was on the flight:

what type of aircraft was used to fly ICC indictee Haroun to Abyei? Who else was on the flight? How much did the flight cost? Are any of the costs being recouped, or asked to be recouped? Who made the decision to transport Haroun in a UN plane despite the ICC indictment? With whom did this person confer, at UN headquarters? When will Ms. O'Brien of OLA do a briefing?”

  After simply ignoring the question for 10 days, on January 31 the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations forwarded this response: “On Ahmed Haroun, we have provided you with our answers previously and have nothing further to add.”

  Inner City Press followed up, insisting that

UNMIS and you should answer yes or no whether the UN has sought reembursement from the Goverment of Sudan for flying ICC indictee Ahmed Haroun to Abyei. If the answer is no, please simply state so. These are after all publicly financed resources, public money.”

  Finally on February 1, the UN addressed the question of reimbursement, saying it had not even been requested:

Subject: Your question on Ahmed Haroun
From: UN Spokesperson [at]
Date: Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 2:17 PM
To: Inner City Press

In accordance with its mandate, the Mission provides the necessary support to those key players in their pursuit to find a peaceful solution. In this context, at the request of the Government and on a space available basis, UNMIS provides seats on its flights to Government officials on official business related to the peace process, without any financial implications to the Government and at no additional operational costs to the mission.

  This response does not answer who else was on the plane. In fact, footage exists of Haroun arriving back in South Kordofan on a large UN plane, arranging to be filmed so as to use the UN to undermine the ICC and its indictment. Was the plane otherwise empty? Would it have otherwise flown from Abyei to Kordofan? The UN should provide answers to these questions.

P-5 plus 1, France on right, UK on left, Haroun & Article 16 not shown

  Also on Febuary 1, Inner City Press asked Nesirky's deputy Farhan Haq about Abyei:

Inner City Press: the Sudan Tribune, in an article about Abyei, quotes a UN official who couldn’t give his name because he is not authorized to speak to the media, but has a direct quote saying that UNMIS had heard reports of an armed group with rocket-propelled grenades and machetes amassing north of Difra and Abyei. And says, “but the patrol was not permitted to meet the group”. So, I wanted to know, who would be stopping UNMIS from carrying out its protection of civilians duties in Abyei? Would that be the… it is just, it seems like it is a pretty serious statement by a UN official. Is there some way to find out who stopped… whether the UN has access throughout Abyei and who stopped this particular patrol?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Well, first we’ll have to see whether the details of that are correct. But we’ll check with our colleagues in UNMIS whether they have reported any blockages.

Inner City Press: And also just now in front of the Security Council, the French Permanent Representative, [Gérard] Araud, said, or I guess confirmed, that he had demarched the Secretariat about the use of UNMIS air assets to move Ahmed Haroun, saying that, you know, he is indicted by the ICC [International Criminal Court] as a war criminal. So, I wanted to know, can the Secretariat confirm that it… who was demarched and what’s their response?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: I wouldn’t have any details to share on that. On that, what I can tell you is that we have already spoken out about the transport of Ahmed Haroun. We made it clear the necessity of that particular task given the violence in Abyei at the time and I don’t have anything further to say beyond what we have already shared on that.

  Perhaps emboldening Ban Ki-moon's Secretariat is the position of the UK. When Inner City Press asked UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant about UNMIS flying Haroun around, he said that he wouldn't second guess the UN.

  On February 1, Inner City Press asked UK Deputy Permanent Representative Philip Parhan about France's demarche, and whether it would be correct to infer that the UK and France have a different position when it comes to requesting answers from the UN about human rights issues.

  “I wouldn't want to speak for France,” Parham said, then pointed back to Lyall Grant's “no second guessing the UN” stakeout. Parham added, “There are operational issues where it's right not to second guess.” He said it is not possible to define where this line is. Inner City Press asked if the UK's line might be a certain dollar (or Euro) figure, or number of casualties? Parham laughed and shook his head.

  People close to the UK Mission say that Lyall Grant has indicated that the UK is not entirely opposed to the idea of suspending the ICC's case against Bashir, at least for a year under Article 16 of the ICC's Rome Statute, if beyond the Southern Sudan referendum he were to recognize the ICC -- for example by turning over Haroun. We hope to have more on this.

Still, if even the Permanent Five members won't question the Secretariat on the issues they say they think are important, like accountablity, who will? Watch this site.

* * *

As UN Admits Transporting ICC Indictee Harun to Abyei, NGOs & US Have Yet to Speak

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 11 -- The UN Mission in Sudan transported and assisted International Criminal Court indictee Ahmed Harun, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky confirmed to Inner City Press on Tuesday, because the UN finds Harun helpful in dealing with violence in Abyei.
   Nesirky implied that the UN will continue to transport Harun, saying that the UN "will continue to provide necessary support to key players."
Video here, from Minute 13:48.

  Inner City Press asked why the UN transported Harun, not only in light of his ICC indictment for war crimes in Darfur, but also of the capacities of the Sudanese Air Force, which has recently conducted bombing raids in and near Southern Sudan.

  If the Sudanese Air Force can bomb, Inner City Press asked, why can't it fly Harun to Abyei? Nesirky did not answer this question. Nor would he tell Inner City Press if UNMIS, led by Haile Menkerios, had checked with UN Headquarters' Office of Legal Affairs or Ban Ki-moon before transporting an indicted war criminal.

  It seems to some that the Sudanese government of Omar al Bashir, who has also been indicted by the ICC for genocide as well as war crimes, has no lack of capacity to transport its official Harun, but instead wanted to get the UN further involved in undercutting the war crimes indictments.

  Already, Haile Menkerios and his counterpart at the Mission in Darfur UNAMID Ibrahim Gambari attended the inauguration of Omar al Bashir. Inner City Press asked Nesirky, without answer, if the UN would provide transport and assistance to other ICC indictees, including Joseph Kony of the the Lord's Resistance Army, widely thought to be in South Darfur.

UN Security Council in Sudan w/ Gambari, 10/10 (c)MRLee

  Earlier on January 11, Inner City Press asked representatives of non-governmental organizations active on Sudan about the UN's transport of ICC indictee Harun. David Abramowitz, the Director of Policy and Government Relations of the group Humanity United, said that he wasn't aware of the reports of Harun being transported, "I have not seen that report."

  Nor has the US administration, including its Mission at the UN, yet spoken on the matter. Some wonder whether they were consulted, even whether, in light of the offer to delink Darfur from the offer to remove some sanctions on Sudan in exchange for the South Sudan referendum, if the US agreed.

  Sam Bell, the Executive Director of the Genocide Intervention Network / Save Darfur Coalition, said he hadn't seen the report confirmed, but either way it did not send a good message to the people of Darfur, where Harun was indicted for war crimes: "already Darfuri are suspicious of UNAMID and UN personnel."

  In fact, Harun was indicted for working with and organizing the type of nomadic tribes which are accused of the killings in Abyei, and now in South Kordofan state as well.

   Nesirky told Inner City Press that "Governor Harun was critical" to bringing the Miseriya tribes together. Video here, from Minute 15:58.

  So in this view, it is not only a matter of the fox guarding the hen house: the UN has taken to transporting the fox to the hen house. Where will there be accountability? Watch this site.

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

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

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -