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On Yemen, UNSC Talked Accountability for Saleh But No Follow-Through

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 18 -- The UN system and Security Council is full of calls for accountability, but there is very little follow-up. One case in point is Yemen.

  After 30-year strongman Ali Saleh was essentially given immunity by the Gulf Cooperation Council and United States, the Security Council made a point of saying that there was no impunity but rather its opposite: yes, accountability.

  Tuesday after Security Council consultation on Yemen, Inner City Press asked UN envoy Jamal Benomar for an update. He said that there is a new draft transitional justice law, and that there will be no impunity.

  But an hour later when Inner City Press asked this month's Security Council president Peter Wittig of Germany of dynamics in the Council on accountability, he said that hadn't really come up in the Council.

  That may be candid, but there is a problem. Ali Saleh is still the head of his political party; as Inner City Press reported, his supporters were involved in Yemen's mission to the UN bouncing a UN due check and not being able to vote on a Syria resolution in the General Assembly.

  Accountability, a cynical might say, is not a UN principle but a temporary tool directed as some but not all dictators and human rights abusers, to accomplish a short term goal. Then it is forgotten, even if as in today's Yemen the goal has yet to be achieved, and Saleh is still involved. What message is being sent? Watch this site.

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