October 02, 2006

Oct. 2, 2006: Blood on his hands?

Is there blood on his hands? -- As Kofi Annan prepares to stand down as UN secretary-general, Adam LeBor investigates the accusations made against the world’s chief defender of human rights , Oct. 1, 06, Sunday Times Magazine. -- via Forum



The bodies were still warm when Lieutenant Ron Rutten found them: nine corpses in civilian clothes lying crumpled by a stream, each shot in the back at close range. It was July 12, 1995, and the UN-declared “safe area” of Srebrenica had fallen the previous day. The lush pastures of eastern Bosnia were about to become Europe’s bloodiest killing fields since 1945.

Refugees poured into the UN compound. But the Dutch peacekeepers (Dutchbat) were overwhelmed and the Serbs confiscated their weapons. “From the moment I found those bodies, it was obvious to me that the Bosnian Serbs planned to kill all the men,” Rutten said. He watched horrified as Dutch troops guided the men and boys onto the Serb buses.

Srebrenica is rarely mentioned nowadays in Annan’s offices on the 38th floor of the UN secretariat building in New York. [....]

Charge one: Rwanda

That in 1994, Annan and the DPKO refused the UN commander General Romeo Dallaire (below) permission to raid Hutu arms caches, despite his warning mass slaughter was planned, that they failed to inform the security council, and failed to clarify the extent of the genocide [....]

Charge two: Srebrenica

That from July 6 to July 11, 1995, Unprofor, the UN mission in Bosnia, repeatedly failed to authorise air strikes to save the town, despite having the means to do so, and was in grievous breach of its obligations to protect civilians [....]

Charge three: Darfur

That the UN, in particular the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), repeatedly ignored reports from humanitarian officials of atrocities because they were politically inconvenient, and that the UN still refuses to take action to stop the slaughter [....]




Complicity with Evil: The United Nations in the Age of Modern Genocide, by Adam LeBor, is published by Yale University Press on October 31 ... available at the Sunday Times BooksFirst ...

Link to pre-order: Adam LeBor: "Complicity with Evil": The United Nations in the Age of Modern Genocide

Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300111711

From the killing fields of Rwanda and Srebrenica a decade ago to those of Darfur today, the United Nations has repeatedly failed to confront genocide. This is evinced, LeBor maintains, in a May 1995 document from Yasushi Akashi, the most senior UN official in the field during the Yugoslav wars, in which he refused to authorize air strikes against the Serbs for fear they would 'weaken' Milosevic. More recently, in 2003, urgent reports from UN officials in the Sudan detailing atrocities from Darfur were ignored for a year because they were politically inconvenient. This book is the first to examine in detail the crucial role of the Secretariat, its relationship with the Security Council, and the failure of UN officials themselves to confront genocide. LeBor argues the UN must return to its founding principles, take a moral stand and set the agenda of the Security Council instead of merely following the lead of the great powers. Based on dozens of first-hand interviews with UN officials, current and former, and such international statesmen and women as Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, Douglas Hurd, and David Owen, this book will be much discussed as a new Secretary General is appointed.

How many of the UN's P5 are democracies? As for the General Assembly, when the tiniest, most authoritarian regime has a vote equal to that of the US or the UK or Canada, and there are numerically, more non-democracies than there are freedom loving democracies, why would rational people think the UN, as constituted, could work? Shall we just agree that the world can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?


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