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On US Torture Report, UN's Ban Has No Comment, Outsources to Zeid

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 10 -- After the much anticipated US torture report was released on the morning of December 9, at that day's UN noon briefing in New York Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric for a comment from Ban Ki-moon, which was expected.

But Dujarric said that there was no comment, that the UN was following it. Video here, and embedded below.

  Fully 24 hours later, still no comment from Ban Ki-moon, during a time frame he commented on Lesotho elections, for example.

 Instead, at the December 10 noon briefing Dujarric read out a statement from Geneva by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid.

  Inner City Press asked Dujarric why Ban hadn't commented in his own name. He is commenting through me, Dujarric replied, and stands with Prince Zeid's comments.
  Inner City Press asked if Ban stands with the comments of UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, that there should be prosecutions. Apparently not -- the answer was UNclear.  Video here. Dujarric added that Ban has no intention to discuss the report with any US official. And so it goes in Ban's UN.

The UN Security Council churned on -- UN Peacekeeping chief refused to answer a simple Inner City Press question as he left the Council, here -- even with some of the countries which hosted “black sites” for torture members of the Council.

An Amnesty International representative said that countries that are members of the International Criminal Court, which hosted such sites, could be acted against by the Court. UN expert Ben Emmerson chimed in, calling for prosecutions:

the summary of the Feinstein report which was released this afternoon confirms what the international community has long believed - that there was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration, which allowed to commit systematic crimes and gross violations of international human rights law.. The identities of the perpetrators, and many other details, have been redacted in the published summary report but are known to the Select Committee and to those who provided the Committee with information on the program... Torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction. The perpetrators may be prosecuted by any other country they may travel to. However, the primary responsibility for bringing them to justice rests with the US Department of Justice and the Attorney General.”

But still, from Ban Ki-moon, silence. Watch this site.


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