HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MARTIN NESIRKY
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
WENESDAY, 17 OCTOBER 2012
SECRETARY-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS ‘AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY’ AND ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
- The Secretary-General spoke at the Security Council’s open debate on peace and justice this morning, saying that we now live in an age of accountability. He said that rulers and warlords who perpetrate atrocities can no longer trade their power for an amnesty and then slip away, unpunished, in some safe haven.
- The Secretary-General discussed the accomplishments of the International Criminal Court during the past decade, saying that when the Court takes up a situation — whether because of a Security Council referral or otherwise— the whole landscape changes. He added that it is likely to keep changing as cases are investigated and arrest warrants are issued; as suspects are detained and transferred to The Hague, trials are opened and verdicts and sentences are handed down.
- The Secretary-General asserted that we have seen the value of an International Criminal Court that pursues justice in all regions. We have seen how the actions and inactions of the Court and the Security Council can have an impact on the other. But most importantly, we have seen how the activities of each can assist the other.
- Asked about Security Council referrals to the ICC, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General had made clear that where the Court and the Security Council are active, you do see a difference.
- Asked how accountability is handled, Nesirky said that it can mean different things in different contexts, often depending on national legislation, but the bottom line is not to let misdeeds go unpunished.
JOINT SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SYRIA DISCUSSES CEASE-FIRE APPEAL WITH LEBANESE LEADERS
- The Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, was in Lebanon today, where he met with the President, the Speaker and the Prime Minister.
- Speaking to the press in Beirut, Mr. Brahimi said that he had listened to the views and concerns of the officials with whom he met. They had also discussed the Secretary-General’s appeal for a ceasefire that would be initiated by the Government and to which the opposition would respond positively. He reiterated the Secretary-General’s call for all countries that provide arms to the various parties in Syria to stop doing so.
- Asked about the views of neighbouring countries, Mr. Brahimi said that countries in the region must realize that this crisis cannot remain within Syria's borders forever. Either it is resolved, he said, or it will spill over and consume everyone.
D.R.CONGO: SIX PEACEKEEPERS WOUNDED IN NORTH KIVU
- In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, six UN peacekeepers and an interpreter were wounded near the town of Buganza in northern North Kivu yesterday evening after an exchange of gun fire with unknown assailants while on a patrol in an area where a number of armed groups are active.
- The UN Mission, MONUSCO, immediately sent reinforcement from a nearby base and evacuated the wounded. One peacekeeper was critically wounded and has been evacuated to Goma.
- The Secretary-General is concerned for the welfare of the wounded peacekeepers. Any attack on peacekeepers is unacceptable. We firmly condemn the perpetrators of the attack and call for them to be held accountable. MONUSCO is actively following up with local authorities to investigate the incident.
U.N. MISSION IN COTE D’IVOIRE PROVIDES SECURITY FOR POWER PLANT, DETERS ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS
- Asked about recent violence in Côte d'Ivoire, the Spokesperson noted information from the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (ONUCI) that on Monday, 15 October, at about 1:00 a.m., some 50 heavily armed individuals attacked an electrical power plant in the Abidjan district of Yopougon damaging one 150 -megawatt turbine by rocket grenade.
- The Mission said that Ivorian security later arrested nine assailants, all of them belonging either to the Armed Forces, the Police or the Gendarmerie.
- The Mission has moved in to provide security at the power station.
- Nesirky added that, following attacks on police and gendarmerie posts in Bonoua (east of Abidjan) on Sunday night, the Mission dispatched a special joint patrol to the area to show a UN presence and deter any attacks on civilians.
- Asked whether UNOCI would rethink a planned drawdown, the Spokesperson said that would be a matter for the Security Council to consider.
WESTERN SAHARA ENVOY TO VISIT NORTH AFRICA AND EUROPE
- The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, will visit North Africa and Europe from 27 October to 15 November to continue his mission.
- His focus during this trip will be to exchange views with key interlocutors on how to accelerate progress toward the central objective set forth in successive Security Council resolutions, in other words, a mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.
- He is due to brief the Security Council following his trip.
U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF HEADS TO BENIN
- UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos is scheduled to visit Benin tomorrow and Friday.
- Heavy floods have affected the north of Benin and other West African states since the end of August.
- The visit takes place at the invitation of President Boni Yayi, who is also currently the Chairperson of the African Union.
SAHEL: HUMANITARIAN MISSION TOURS REGION
- A high-level humanitarian mission with delegates from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) wrapped up the first leg of its visit to West Africa's Sahel region today.
- The mission left Niamey, Niger, for Mali after holding talks with the Government of Niger and humanitarian and civil society organisations. The mission also visited aid assistance programmes in some of the areas most affected by the humanitarian crisis in the country.
- The food and nutrition crisis in Niger has pushed more than 5.5 million people there to the edge of survival. The situation has been exacerbated by flooding affecting more than half a million people, as well as a persistent cholera epidemic in parts of the country and insecurity in neighbouring Mali.
HAITI: U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT SEES PROGRESS IN KEY STRUCTURES
- The Human Rights Section of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has released its first bi-annual report covering the period from January to June of this year.
- The report notes that the first half of 2012 witnessed some important efforts by the Government of Haiti to put in place or strengthen key structures for the promotion and protection of human rights. These include establishing the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, appointing all the members of the Supreme Court, and establishing the post of Minister for Human Rights and Extreme Poverty.
- However, the report also adds, two and a half years after the 12 January 2010 earthquake, the number of people remaining in camps is high. Many, particularly those on private land, are at risk of eviction, and the report flags the need for a comprehensive rights-based housing and urban development policy.
- The Human Rights Section of the Mission says action is needed regarding human rights violations allegedly committed by the Haiti National Police.
INVESTIGATION INTO SOUTH SUDAN POLICE STATION ATTACK: Regarding reports of a soldier from the South Sudan army (SPLA) attacking a police station in the Lakes State capital, Rumbek, on Tuesday, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has been informed that a joint investigation involving South Sudanese military, police and Lakes State authorities is being conducted to determine the facts.
SECRETARY-GENERAL HAS NO PLAN TO MEET RWANDAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Asked whether the Secretary-General plans to meet with the Rwandan Foreign Minister this week, the Spokesperson said he was not aware of any plans for such a meeting.
EXTERNAL SUPPORT TO M23 GROUP IN D.R.CONGO MUST END: The Spokesperson declined to comment on a leaked document concerning the work of a panel of experts looking at the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) but reiterated the Secretary-General’s call for an end to all external support to the M23 armed group.
U.S. AND LIBYAN AUTHORITIES LOOKING INTO BENGHAZI ATTACK: Asked about the attack last month on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the Spokesperson said that the US and Libyan authorities were looking into the matter.