There were a few interesting articles on Turtle Bay, Foreign Policy’s UN blog, this week. The first brings some nuance to the idea that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon put pressure on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to edit out the allegations of acts of genocide against the Rwandan government. Drawing on conversations with UN officials, Turtle Bay suggests that Ban voiced concern about the g-word and asked High Commissioner Navi Pillay to conduct a legal review to make sure the use of the word was appropriate.
The head of UN peacekeeping operations Alain Le Roy also voiced his misgivings, worried that the report could undermine the peacekeeping operations in Darfur, where Rwanda contributes 3,500 people, mostly troops.
However, the article suggests that Pillay never forced to remove the allegations of genocide from the report. Which then begs the question: Why was the report leaked only a few days before its expected publication if nothing was going to be changed, especially since UN officials close to the report had been able to maintain uncharacteristic silence for a year since the report had been finished and submitted?
A second, related article at Turtle Bay discusses the decision by the International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo to send his deputy to attend Paul Kagame’s presidential inauguration tomorrow in Kigali. Given the leaked UN report, is this good form? Ocampo argues that he wants to discuss how to bring an end to the “ongoing genocide” in Darfur (is there really an ongoing genocide in Darfur?) with African leaders. Critics of course point out that Kagame’s troops may themselves have been guilty of systematic, mass abuses in the Congo.