Saturday, November 5, 2016

On S Sudan, Kenya Slams Ban's Scapegoating, Systemic Failures Point to Ladsous



By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusives

UNITED NATIONS, November 3 -- The UN judged the Terrain Apartments in Juba, South Sudan to be safe and well-protected in October 2015, documents obtained and exclusively published by Inner City Press show.

In July 2016 the UN did nothing while those living there were rapes and, in the case of journalist John Gatluak, killed.

On November 1 the UN belatedly released a 10-page summary of its report into Terrain and Juba and fired Kenyan UNMISS Force Commander Lt-Gen Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki.

On November 3, Kenya's Ambassador Macharia Kamau held a press conference and said that Ban Ki-moon's investigation had a pre-ordained conclusion and that Ondieki had been scapegoated for systemic failings in UN Peacekeeping. He named the missions in DR Congo, Darfur, Haiti and the Central African Republic as well as UNMISS.

   Inner City Press asked Kamau if it's not Herve Ladsous, atop DPKO for five years, who should take responsibility. Kamau said, as to Ladsous, “if you're constantly having huge challenges in your peacekeeping operations, you need to ask why.”

    Minutes later at the UN's noon briefing Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric why it isn't Ladsous who's being held accountable. It seems the scope of this second Cammaert “investigation” was limited, as it was in Malakal. This is called a cover up. Watch this site.

On November 2, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric why Ban had again spared the head of DPKO Ladsous -- “full confidence,” perhaps a euphemism for “Permanent Five member of the Security Council” -- and if Ban's own son in law, whom Ban made the UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, was even informed by the govenrment there it is pulling out of UNMISS. Apparently, he was not told. So what good is he, as a “UN” Resident Coordinator?

  Dujarric also claimed that UN is transparent about tear gas use, after UNMISS called its use “accidental.” This is the UN under Ban, Gallach and Ladsous, hopefully all three soon gone. Watch this site.

The day before the UN's hypocritical marking of the third  International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, this UN cover up report did not even mention the killing of journalist Gatluak.

 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric why not - and got no answer. Beyond the Vine video here.

  Likewise, Inner City Press asked why the UN's mis-classification of Terrain as safe (when the escape plan involved putting blankets over razor wire) was not in the report: no answer.  (Also the report says the UN Security official who dismissed the call of a women trapped in the Terrain could not be identified.)

So Inner City Press asked Dujarric to respond to the idea that having rapporteurs like Patrick Cammaert, who issued a similar “not too tough” report on the UN's failings in Malakal, unacted on by Herve Ladsous, is a conflict of interest, if they want to be commissioned for future reports.

  Dujarric replied that Cammaert is not in it for the money (which is not what Inner City Press said, but was also unresponded to be Dujarric and Ban when “Ban's” Libya envoy Bernardino Leon cashed out to the UAE) and that he is respected. 

The action claimed is like when Ban Ki-moon "fired" Senegal's Babacar Gaye for rapes in CAR, which have continued since, but never fired Herve Ladsous who linked the rapes to "R&R." 

Inner City Press later on November 1 asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft if UN Peacekeeping at Headquarters doesn't bear responsibility.Video and his full answer, here. From the UK Transcript:

Inner City Press: Are you guys keeping UN headquarters bearing responsibility for these various peacekeeping scandals whether in CAR (Central African Republic) or South Sudan? Or is it always the fault of the Force Commander or SRSG (Special Representatives of the Secretary-General)?

Rycroft: Well, I think the role of the UN here at headquarters is to make sure that the right processes are in place, that missions learn the right lessons, that there is the right leadership in place, and I’m sure that the UN here as well as in Missions will be taking all of that forward. We'll have more on this.

 On October 25, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: 

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about South Sudan.  I'm… I'm… I trust that you've seen now Amnesty International has… has come out with this report about the events in Juba in July, and they ag… as with other groups con… conclude that the UN did fire teargas at IDPs [internally displaced persons].  They also have some pretty gruelling description of UN police ordering people to stay out in the rain and putting them at risk.  I'm wondering, especially since the UN's report is now delayed more than a month, what is your… it seems that you can't… you can't… what's the UN's response to these very troubling depictions by credible persons…?

Spokesman:  First of all, we worked and engaged, both at the headquarter level and mission level, with Amnesty International in the production of the report, including providing responses to some of their questions.  Yes, teargas was used during the crisis by one of the contingents as sort of a… as a non-lethal measure when security personnel felt they were overwhelmed with an influx of external… of people coming into the UN House compound.  This was done to ensure the safety of the UN personnel, as well as the property, and of the IDPs, in accordance with standard rules of operations.  Our report, I know, is overdue.  I do expect it later this week or early next week.  It's a question of scheduling.  And I think we will also lay bare a lot of the issues that took place in that time in Juba.

ICP Question:  But, just on… just… only on the specifics of the teargas, like, Amnesty International quotes an elderly man saying that he was gassed, and his eyes hurt for three days.  So was he… was he somehow a threat to the UN?

Spokesman:  You know, I think, obviously, we're very sorry for anyone who was injured in the operation, for all the individuals who suffered from teargas.  I've walked into teargas in my other… previous life.  It's not pleasant.  Obviously, it's used as a last resort when there is a mass movement of people, and the security forces felt they were being overwhelmed, and it was a non-lethal response to a mass movement of people.

ICP Question:  And this spokesperson who said it was an accidental teargas explosion, was this just a miscommunication or kind of reflexive… I mean, you've seen that before…?

Spokesman:  I know.  I can only speak for this spokesperson, which is myself.

 On October 21, still withholding the UN's report on Terrain, Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced the departure of Ban's South Sudan envoy Ellen Loj. Inner City Press asked him, UN transcript here: 

Inner City Press: to follow up on your announcement about South Sudan, is this in any way related to this Terrain Cammaert Report that's supposed to come out?  It seems like it's an extraordinary time to announce that a person is leaving right before the report on who bears responsibility.  And the second is, will the Secretary-General, in fact, be picking a new one, or will he delegate that or defer that to the incoming Secretary-General, given how close it is in time and that it's a major post to be given out?

Spokesman:  The, the timing, I think you'll have to draw your own conclusions.  As we stressed, her contract had ended over the summer, so she had planned to leave over the summer.  She decided to stay on because of the lack of stability in the country.  On the Cammaert, sorry, what were you asking about the Cammaert?

Inner City Press:  I was saying that…

Spokesman:  The replace... the replacement, excuse me, I don't think the replacement will be chosen right away.  If one is chosen before December 31st, I have no doubt there will be consultations with the Secretary-General-designate’s office.

On October 19, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's outgoing spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here 
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about South Sudan.  I would think that you've seen it.  The Guardian has a very long piece about the Terrain situation, and it says, among other things, that there have been very few safety improvements for humanitarian workers since the attack on the Terrain Hotel.  And one… and it has a source… a security expert who lived in the Terrain saying that the approved evacuation plan involved putting blankets on the top of razor wire in order to escape.  So since the DSS [Department of Safety and Security]… I've asked you this before… has to certify the safety of such places and did, in fact, certify the Terrain, what's your response to somebody on the record saying that the plan was to put blankets over razor wire, and where is the Cammaert report?

Spokesman:  I think the Cammaert report should be out shortly, hopefully before the end of this week or early next week.  We're in the final stages.  It will also obviously look at lessons learned.  As far as the details of the security plan for any UN premises, we're not going to discuss them here.

ICP Question:  What about accountability?  Like, you're saying it's already moved to lessons learned, but isn't the idea…

Spokesman:  I didn't say it's already moved to lessons learned.  I said lessons learned will be part of that.  I would ask you to hold off judgment until you see the report.

ICP Question:  What explains the delay from 23 September, when it was due, to now, 19 October…?

Spokesman:  I think, as I said, there was a long delay… there was a delay due to the Security Council coming in, because the mission didn't have the absorption capacity to deal with both the Security Council mission and the… and Mr. [Patrick] Cammaert's team.  Obviously, I think what's important is for Mr. Cammaert to take the time he needs, and the report is just about done.  The Secretary-General will get it very soon.

Inner City Press:  Just to nail this one… I mean, the Security Council trip was at most four days.

Spokesman:  No, no, I completely…

ICP Question:  The delay is 26 days…?

Spokesman:  I… that was a delay, and then Mr. Cammaert, as lead investigator, took the time he felt he needed to do a thorough job.

On October 7, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: 

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you something about South Sudan.  In the wake of that report that came out, it seems that UNMISS or UN Peacekeeping has acknowledged that they intentionally used tear gas to, quote, protect the safety of UN personnel in July in Juba.  They had previously said… Elizabeth Chester, spokeswoman, had said, and I had asked your office in writing about, she called it an accidental tear gas explosion.  So I would like… maybe you don't know from the podium, can you square those two?  Was there an accidental tear gas explosion and then intentional use, or was it one in the same incident?

Deputy Spokesman:  I think we'll need to wait for Patrick Cammaert's board to complete its work, and then we can proceed once we have the information from them.  And we'll put out whatever they give us on that.

On October 6, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: 

Inner City Press: there was a report that was put out by the Center for Civilians in Conflict… for Civilians in Conflict.  And among other things, it was about South Sudan and Terrain.  And so it sort of… I guess it's a curtain raiser to the Cammaert… the report that's supposed to come out.  But it said… it said a couple of things about repatriation.  It basically said that DPKO had in some instances claimed that people had been repatriated, you know, when they had not.  And the example they gave is they said… they said that Ghassim Wane, Assistant Secretary-General of Peacekeeping, said in an early August interview with RFI the two commanders had been repatriated; however, a senior UNMISS (United Nations Mission in the republic of South Sudan) official told Civic several weeks after that only one had been repatriated.  It kind of reminded me of the Mayuyu one.  How is… what does DPKO mean when they say "repatriated"?  Does it mean that somebody actually has left or intends to leave?  And can you kind of clear up, if that's the main penalty that there is for misdeeds, should DPKO be saying people are out when they're not out?

Deputy Spokesman:  Yes.  On that, a decision was taken to replace commanders in a unit following the crisis.  One of the two identified commanders was repatriated.  The other had already rotated out with his unit.  In the current context of South Sudan, where the UN Mission in South Sudan is overstretched, it was decided not to replace an entire unit without immediate replacement and leave the protection of civilian site with even less resources to be protected.  And, of course, the overview of how this crisis happened and how we handled it will hopefully be available shortly once we have Patrick Cammaert's team finalize their report.

ICP Question:  They also… I mean… and maybe that's the thing that I'm not reading between the lines correctly.  They said that basically, like, one of the so-called repatriations was, in fact, just leaving with a unit.  Instead of staying behind for an extra additional month to provide some kind of a re-up, they left at that time.  But it seems that's less than repatriation.  Right?  That's just leaving in the natural course of things.  I mean… I guess I just… is there some way to…

Deputy Spokesman:  Like I said, one of the two identified commanders was repatriated.  The other had already rotated out with his unit.
ICP Question:  And when is the report coming out?  When is the Cammaert report coming out?

Deputy Spokesman:  Hopefully not too much longer.  It's being finalized right now.  I will never make an actual prediction because it never quite works out, but I don't think it's that much longer before we get that.

On October 5 Inner City Press asked, UN transcript here: 

Inner City Press: the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has told MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) that they want the… the SPLA-IO (Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition) fighters of Riek Machar to leave the country within a week, saying that there'd be somehow destabilising force in Eastern Congo.  Can you confirm that?  And what… what is the UN's, I guess, response?  If that is the request, will they, in fact, do it?  And where will the individuals go?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we're aware of the request from the Government.  As you're aware, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been apprised of the situation regarding these fighters.  We're trying to see how best this can be handled in our own communication and our own dialogue with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Ultimately, they're the ones who determine how their territory is to be used properly, and we respect that.

ICP Question:  And what happened… the… the… they were apparently disarmed or whatever.  What happened with the actual armaments that they had when they crossed the border?  Where are they now?

Deputy Spokesman:  The fighters who are being referred to in this case are people who have not disarmed.  There were some… there was a group of people who the UN took charge of on humanitarian grounds that included Riek Machar and some of his close aides.  Those individuals had been disarmed at the time that they were transported by the United Nations.  This is a different group of people who were not transported and who have not been disarmed.  Have a good afternoon, everyone.

Now what? On September 23 at a rare stakeout by UN Peacekeeping boss Herve Ladsous, Inner City Press audibly asked about Terrain, without answer. (On October 5 an NGO took its report on Terrain into the UN Censorship Alliance, a group which has defended and empowered Ladsous' and the UN's UNresponsiveness. We'll have more on this.)

On September 26 Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about the delayed report - due September 23 - and about Riek Machar, UN transcript here: 

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about South Sudan.  I'd tried to ask Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous on Friday for an update on the… the report into the Terrain Hotel and other failures to protect civilians in Juba.  He didn't answer, but I went back and looked.  It seems like, on 23 August, Mr. [Patrick] Cammaert was in charge and said we'd be finished in a month.  Is it finished?  Has it been turned over, and when will it be made public?

Deputy Spokesman:  On that, what I can say is that the special investigation team led by Major General Patrick Cammaert departed Juba on 18 September after arriving in the capital on 9 September.  The team has completed its investigation on the ground and is now in the process of drafting its report, which will be submitted to the Secretary-General.  As we announced earlier, the findings of this report will be made public.

Inner City Press: is there a distinction between the findings and the report itself?  What's going to be made public and how… on what kind of a gap… just given that the month is now expired, when… when… when do you anticipate releasing these findings?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, the… as I just mentioned, they're finalizing the report, so hopefully it's not much longer before we can have the report go to the Secretary-General.  And, as we have made clear, we'll put out the findings… it will be clear to you what has been issued once we give it to you.
ICP Question:  Okay.  And I guess what I wanted to… also, on South Sudan, Riek Machar, it's reported, along with his people in his party, have announced an armed… the beginning of an armed struggle against what they call the… the racist regime in Juba.  This was announced in Khartoum on Sunday.  And I wanted to know, given the UN's involvement in trying to broker that initial deal that's fallen apart, what's the response to… to what seems to be a return to war?

Deputy Spokesman:  We obviously want the parties to abide by the peace agreement.  We made it very clear that the peace agreement remains the only viable option for the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan.  And so we would encourage all of them to avoid any rhetoric of any return to conflict and to go back to the enforcement of all of the various terms of the agreement.

ICP Question:  But does that term involve Riek Machar being first Vice President and being back in Juba or not or being out… chased out of the country and in another country?

Deputy Spokesman:  We've made our concerns clear.  We want to make sure that all of the stakeholders, including the Government of South Sudan and the opposition, are able to fully implement the agreement.  It has to be an implementation of the agreement that is in line with what is acceptable to the parties.


On September 16 Ban Ki-moon's UN gave awards to peacekeepers in South Sudan from Ban's native South Korea, where he coyly seeks to run for president. From the UN's press release: 

“Peacekeepers from the Republic of Korea Horizontal Military Engineering Company or ROK-HMEC which are deployed to Bor in Jonglei Region received medals for outstanding contributions to the UNMISS and South Sudan.

The awards ceremony was presided by the mission’s Director of Mission Support (DMS), Ms. Stephani Scheer, as well as the Republic of Korea’s Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Parke Jong Dae.

“South Korea has made a very valuable contribution to peacekeeping activities for several decades and their support to the UNMISS is the country’s biggest contribution to the peacekeeping operations throughout the world,” said Ms. Scheer during her remarks.

The Ambassador said the Government of the Republic of Korea will continue it’s [sic] to support to UN peacekeeping Missions around the world, and in particular press on with their support for the people of South Sudan in order for the country to achieve peace.

The DMS then thanked the engineering company (ROK-HMEC) for the outstanding support to the UNMISS mandate in South Sudan.
The DMS also toured the mission’s level two hospital which is operated by Sri Lankan peacekeepers.”

  All of this is shameful, a new low even for Ban's UN.