Home | News    Thursday 2 February 2012

UNAMID chief told to avoid unnecessary contact with Bashir, Khartoum again criticizes mission


February 1, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – The United Nations on Wednesday disclosed that it asked the head of the Darfur Peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) Ibrahim Gambari to avoid repeating unnecessary encounters with the Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

United Nations - African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Joint Special Representative (JSR) and Joint Chief Mediator (JCM) Ibrahim Gambari speaks during an interview in Khartoum January 25, 2012 (Reuters)

Last Friday, the New York-based Human Rights watch (HRW) sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon complaining that earlier this month Gambari went to the wedding of Chad’s President Idriss Deby to daughter of an alleged leader of Darfur notorious Janjaweed militia Musa Hilal>

Gambari was seen in photos exchanging talk with Bashir at the Khartoum’s Rotana hotel.

Bashir is wanted since 2009 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly orchestrating war crimes and genocide in Darfur.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when an ethnic minority rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, which then was accused of enlisting the Janjaweed militia group to help crush the rebellion.

In a letter signed by HRW executive director Kenneth Roth it was recalled that UN guidelines limits interactions with individuals indicted by international tribunals to “what is strictly required for carrying out UN mandated activities”.

“Discounting these guidelines brings the UN’s credibility in disrepute and sends a terrible message to victims of heinous crimes in Darfur. Indeed, images of Mr. Gambari embracing President al-Bashir have been widely circulated, showing Darfuri victims that the head of UNAMID socialises with suspected war criminals”.

Last week UNAMID chief dismissed the criticism and told Agence France Presse (AFP) that he had no apologies for attending the ceremony "in honor of the president of a country [Deby] that is supportive of the peace process".

Deby himself was absent from the wedding reception for unknown reasons.

Today the UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said the world body asked Gambari to adhere to guidelines on contact with indicted figures.

"Mr. Gambari’s attention has been drawn to the letter and to the need to avoid such encounters in the future, however unintentional this particular encounter may have been" said Nesirky.

HRW had said in the letter that UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UNDPKO) defended saying that Gambari went to the wedding “at the invitation of President Deby … [and had] no control over the guest list”.

This is not the first time UNAMID officials interaction with Bashir has generated controversy.

Gambari’s predecessor Rodolphe Adada was awarded the Nilein Order, first class in recognition of his efforts in Darfur peacekeeping mission.

Adada later said that he not only reports to UN but also the African Union which has its own opinion regarding the ICC warrant for Bashir.


In Khartoum a senior Sudanese official reiterated criticism of the performance of the Darfur peacekeeping mission saying it needs to act more aggressively in discharging its mandate.

“UNAMID did not come for a picnic in Darfur, but came to deal with a complex security situation and knows that one of the possibilities of this situation is to be confronted by conditions of docking, exchanging [gunshots] and clashes” minister of state and official in charge of implementing a Darfur peace deal Amin Hassan Omer told the independently owned al-Sahafa newspaper in an interview.

“It [UNAMID] is not a relief organization to be the weakest link; it is an army armed to its teeth and what they possess in ammunitions is enough to defend themselves. Any other questions related to why they aren’t using their weapons and defending their convoys is a question that should be directed to them” Omer added.

The remarks by Omer echoes those made by Sudan’s foreign ministry Undersecretary Rahmat Allah Mohamed Osman to United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for rule of law Dmitry Titov that his country wants UNAMID to use the right of self defense to protect its personnel against attacks launched on them in Darfur.

This was in response to an attack on UNAMID peacekeepers in East Darfur killing one Nigerian soldier and injuring another.

A year ago, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice implicitly criticized Gambari, saying UNAMID needed to be more aggressive and that it was up to him "to ensure that this robust posture is pursued." Diplomats said at the time a number of other countries agreed with Rice.

In a related issue, Omer denied that they formally asked the UN for reduction in UNAMID numbers but said that they demanded that its composition should be re-evaluated in line with what the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) says.


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  • 2 February 2012 10:28, by Dinkawarrior

    We have nothing called African Union but African Money Smugglers!
    Some of our African leaders are not thinking twice about the future of Africa! You’re so shameful to your self!

    I hope oil is dead-end to bribe you with it money$$$$$$$$$$$

  • 2 February 2012 15:16, by Wen De David Kuol

    UNAMID and Bashir NCP are ally. Gabari is not there alone, he is being misuse and praise by Bashir Government of not speak up on Sudan atrocities towards citizens in Darfur and Blue Nile. This so called UNAMID is nothing than Bashir. Gabari must be also held accountable to Peacekeepers being murder/kills humilatingly by Khartuom Militias.

    UN must get new person and let Gabari go for Darfur.

  • 2 February 2012 17:32, by morogot batal

    Gambari meeting with beshir can result into alot of hurmful things to our african Darfurians1.the so call SAF can continue killingg darfur.2.Gambari can be given a package of money to allow Beshir threaten UN not to move their reconcern to monitor SAF activities.3. not to report any violation occur against Darfurians...therefor, any speed up move from SAF to darfur will be counted on UN.

  • 2 February 2012 17:40, by morogot batal

    Mr. BAN KI MOON...
    Stoping GAMBARI alone is not enough because, no more confident in him...you better rescue the lives of darfurian by removing him and bring a new person that will restore trust and confident

  • 2 February 2012 20:20, by Paul

    I mean who appointed this autistic Gambari as a head of UNMAID? Its unbelievable to see this guy jumping brainlessly among those who were murdering the people of Darfur yesterday.

  • 3 February 2012 04:03, by Anynya One

    Haaaa...Abnormality is happening within UN leadership, and this might take Darfur No where but confusion.

  • 9 May 2013 15:31, by dennishobson

    GrrIG1PSCmjQo1dad8UXLmF32RUXDWssanyong actyon madeira plastica plastic lumber You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most individuals will go along with with your website.

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