Darfur Bar questions integrity UN investigation team
The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) has objected to the formation of an internal UN team, assigned with the investigation the allegations made by Unamid’s former spokeswoman Aicha Elbasri. She disclosed last year that the joint AU-UN peacekeeping mission has covered up crimes against civilians and Unamid troops, and submitted misleading reports to the UN Security Council.
The DBA questions the credibility of the UN investigation team that is expected to arrive soon in Darfur, saying that the team has not been established according to the “proper rules”. The lawyers consider the formation of a UN internal investigation team as one of the “large professional flaws that have led to the continuation and deterioration of the crisis in the region”.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga from Khartoum, El Sadeg Ali Hassan, DBA Secretary-General, expressed his doubts about the neutrality of the team, and its capability to “fairly investigate the performance and reporting of the Unamid mission”. “To ensure the integrity of such an investigation, the team should be formed independently of the UN and its institutions, which are directly concerned with the case.”
“The UN Security Council should have formed an investigation committee entirely independent from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as the accusations directly affect the secretary-general himself.”
The lawyer said that the DBA has collected many testimonies confirming “what Asha Elbasri has said and not said about the corruption within the joint AU-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur”. “We possess substantial and clear evidence confirming the correctness of the allegations.”
“Unamid’s corrupt practices have been silenced and protected by the highest UN institutions, operating close to the level of UN’s Secretary-General himself. We believe that the investigation team has already started its work, which is contradicting the requirements of fair and integer research. The team members are coming from various UN institutions, and are, in one way or another, also involved in Unamid’s deviations from its assignment.”
Hassan stressed that the DRA is entitled to contact UN institutions represented in the UN Security Council, and “demand the investigation team’s re-composition according to the procedural requirements, to safeguard the correct implementation of its task.”
He said that the team “until now has not contacted all parties involved, in particular neutral Darfuri organisations”. “It seems that the UN team has put up a large fence of secrecy, which confirms that it does not take into account the rules of transparency.”
File photo: Government-backed militiamen shooting at civilians near a Unamid team site. One was killed, and eight injured. Unamid did not intervene, and the attack was reported by the UN as a “cross-fire incident” (Unamid)
‘Investigation team in Darfur within weeks’: Unamid head (12 August 2014)
UN to probe Darfur peace mission (3 July 2014)