October 14, 2012 by soniauwimana
Rwanda has its own problems with the UN Group of Experts on the DRC, specifically in the controversial personage of FDLR sympathizer and group coordinator, Steven Hege. That has been well documented on this blog and elsewhere.
But Rwanda is far from alone in objecting to the systemic problems inherent in the “experts” model used by the UN Security Council which appears to inflict particular damage on African states.
On Friday 12th October — the same day Hege sent his final report to the Sanctions Committee — the government of Ghana issued this blistering statement about a leak from the experts panel on Cote d’Ivoire. Ghana was responding to a wholesale leak of the GoE findings to Reuters as published on Tuesday 9th October, three days before the Sanctions Committee received the report. As with Rwanda and the Hege group, Ghana is disgusted with the way its cooperation and goodwill towards the process has been trampled upon:
By granting that opportunity and providing all information sought by the experts, the Government of Ghana openly demonstrated its good will, good faith and disposition to fully cooperate with the United Nations in monitoring the implementation of its decisions and resolutions.
It has therefore come as surprise to the Government of Ghana that observation of the Group on related issues were not shared with the Government prior to the premature release to the Reuters.
Of course, as we know, the interim “addendum”, with its compendium of whatever rancid scraps of hearsay evidence and outright lies Hege could get his hands on, was also leaked — not only before the Sanctions Committee received it, but before Rwanda was given even a minute’s opportunity to examine its contents. (Rwanda, eventually, was given 30 minutes).
Why do you leak a flawed report? It’s simple. The accusations, however weak and ill-founded, always stick; the rebuttal, however valid and robust, always sinks. It’s the law of the leak: the weaker the case, the harder and earlier you leak.
Rwanda and Ghana are not the only examples of African countries that have cried foul over their treatment via this experts mechanism. This is what the government of Eritrea said in a statement to the UN in April this year:
…it has been manifestly demonstrated in its various reports, and particularly in its Report of 18 July 2011, the Monitoring Group has glaringly failed to observe minimum standards of objectivity and political neutrality and to discharge its duties with the professionalism and political independence that its mandate requires.
Is it just me, or am I starting to see a pattern here? Leaks, bias, lack of objectivity and political neutrality, absence of professionalism and minimum standards?
One swallow does not make a summer, but a flock of swallows invariably does (see picture).
It seems apparent that the experts mechanism as currently employed by the UN Security Council has profound systemic shortcomings, and that these are unduly brought to bear against countries that happen reside on the continent of Africa. The powerful use the mechanism to exert their political will, while the powerless suffer the consequences. And so the world turns…