U.N. flew indicted war criminal to Sudan meeting

Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:16pm GMT

"And so, Governor Haroun was critical to bringing the Misseriya leaders in Southern Kordofan to a peace meeting in Abyei to stop further clashes and killings," he told reporters.

Abyei's chief administrator, Deng Arop Kuol, said on Sunday Haroun had promised to set up a committee to handle Misseriya-Dinka disputes in the future.

The ICC is not a U.N. body and the United Nations is not a signatory to it but has promised under an agreement with the court to cooperate with it.

An opinion issued by the U.N. office of legal affairs in 2006 said contacts between U.N. representatives and people indicted by international courts "should be limited to what is strictly required for carrying out U.N. mandated activities."

Nesirky said the assistance given to Haroun was in accordance with the mandate of UNMIS to provide "good offices" to the northern and southern parties in Sudan "to resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiations."

But Richard Dicker, an ICC expert at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said, "I have real concerns. Ahmed Haroun is a charged war criminal linked to the worst abuses in Darfur."

"The question I have really is was there no other means for Ahmed Haroun to make it to the meeting," Dicker told Reuters.

"I think the U.N.'s posture should be of keeping a distance from him. I think the U.N. should be held to a high standard with regard to their flying Haroun to a meeting. There needs to be a high threshold of necessity." (Additional reporting by Opheera McDoom in Khartoum; Editing by Todd Eastham)

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