Incentivising War Crimes, Part II - A Burundian asks: Can we still trust the UN?
*Click here to email UN Burundi spokesman Penangnini Toure and ask him about the progress of the corruption investigation allegedly under way
In the preamble of its Charter, the United Nations Organization pledges to establish conditions under which justice and international law can be maintained.
In the case of Burundi, however, this provision seems to have been constantly ignored:
- More than once, the UN has ascertained punishable crimes in Burundi, and even identified the perpetrators, without setting their trial: for years, the UN has had detailed reports by Amnesty International; Human Rights Watch, and others; all describing in detail the horrendous crimes by FRODEBU, FNL- PALIPEHUTU, and today’s ruling group CNDD-FDD
- More than once, members of the UN personnel, or workers of other international organizations operating under the umbrella of the UN, have been attacked and even killed in Burundi;
What was the response?
The UN issued statement after statement, in which they were very preoccupied by what was going on, expressing deep concern, promising to follow closely the developments, etc, etc. Sometimes, the UN ordered full investigation, asked for full explanation, and required full cooperation,
In short, nothing worth of this great international body came out of them, even when the number one of the UN himself, Secretary General Kofi Annan declares, "Let us insist that the killers be brought to justice (October 14, 1999, following the murder of two UN workers in Burundi).
The few reports that were produced never saw their recommendations implemented. Rather, the UN chose to shelve the very reports whose findings are susceptible of bringing to court the perpetrators of genocide and other mass crimes against humanity.
With the UN hiding from public sight some incriminating reports (for instance, S/1996/682), more and more people are questioning the real purpose of some recommendations of the report of the UN inquiry mission in the Gatumba massacre (www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/reports.htm ): as paragraph 109 recommends that “Governments and opinion leaders in the region should be called upon to exercise restraint in their declarations,” officially in order to accord respect to the victims), is this not another form of preventing criminals from being publicly unmasked?
Let the UN stop the contradictory discourse and practices; or else the world will keep losing faith in the UN, which is gradually becoming synonymous with incompetence and hypocrisy.
Ed - In 1999, aid workers Saskia Von Meijenfeldt of the World Food Programme and Luis Zuniga of UNICEF were shot dead in Burundi by combatants of CNDD-FDD. This was one of the many attacks for which the UN promised to pursue justice, but never did.
See also: Why, asks Elias Habte Selassie - Saskia von Meijenfeldt's husband - was the Burundi mission only agreed a day before? Why was there so little consultation and planning? And why, in a subsequent investigation, did the UN not even visit the site?
"The Security Council should define how future peacekeeping operations will protect humanitarian workers as well as civilians," says Catherine Bertini, head of the World Food Programme. "And the international community must be mobilised to punish those responsible for crimes"
Take action - Fax your MP!
Take action - sign the Gatumba petition
Burundi, human rights, Current Affairs, Politics, Africa