By Bol Madut Ayii, Juba, South Sudan
November 5, 2016 (SSB) — The United Nations charter states that it was founded, in part, to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. In 2000, after a series of egregious failures in 1990s, the UN ordered a comprehensive review of its own peacekeeping operations. The Brahimi report, named after the panel chairman Lakhdar Brahimi from Algeria concluded that, United Nations has repeatedly failed to meet the challenges.
The same today is true with what UNMISS did in South Sudan since it stepped in the country before independence. The UNMISS miserably failed to adhere to its mandate as enshrined. The UN body which was mandated to keep peace and protect civilians when deemed appropriate turned to be a third force fighting the constitutionally elected government. It is beyond reasonable doubt that UNMISS have played a big role in the crisis that South Sudan is currently undergoing. The subsequent military confrontations between government forces and opposition forces demonstrated clearly the evil plan of some UNMISS forces towards the government and the people of South Sudan.
This is the UN which Ms. Katherine Almquist think that can be neutral and therefore reinforced to keep peace in South Sudan by administering the country for ten or fifteen years. The UN has been part and parcel of crisis in South Sudan since the days of Hailde Johnson and her sister Hellen Margaret Loej the outgoing RSG. The problems, failures and abuses of foreigners serving as UN peacekeepers and personnel are numerous and that is why the UN miserably failed in Africa. They sexually exploit local women and girls, and often become the primary transmitters of HIV/ Aids and sexually transmitted diseases to the population, yet they are rarely punished for any crimes, rapes, or other offenses. Generally they have a reputation of caring little about the people they are sent to protect.
To come back to the respond in details, Ms. Katherine in her report Date 28th/ November titled” Ending South Sudan’s Civil War” proposed the placement of South Sudan under UN/AU trusteeship for ten to fifteen years. In her proposal Katherine defined the followings to be the structures/ components of the international body or international government that shall oversee South Sudan for ten to fifteen years.
UN/AU EXECUTIVE MANDATE: shall have full powers vested in an international administration for ten to fifteen years and shall have powers to appoint and remove ministers, states governors and other officials as well as to veto laws and legislation.
ADVISORY COUNCIL: composed of representatives from the SPLM-in government (excluding Kiir) and the SPLM-in Opposition (excluding Machar), other political parties, tribal elders and civil society. This advisory council would advise the transitional UN/AU administration, ended the structures of proposed government by Almquist.
President Kiir which Katherine proposed to be excluded from the leadership is the people’s elected president and it is only through democratic elections where changes can happen, the same South Sudanese who voted Kiir to presidency are the only eligible citizens who can vote him out of the office not Katherine and her friends in western world.
To me, Madam Katherine is proposing something unbecoming and it seems like she is trying to tell us that South Sudan is not a nation. How reasonable is the so called Katherine to propose such weak structures of her unachievable International administration in South Sudan.
South Sudan is a member state of UN and have effective government with all its organs inter alia Judiciary, Executive and Legislature and therefore does not qualified to be under international administration with weak structures and unconstitutional organs such as Executive UN/AU mandate and Advisory council as proposed by imperialist in personality of Katherine. The fact that South Sudan has been at war within itself is not enough for Katherine to propose trusteeship. Yes opposition forces and government fought and both later sat in Addis Ababa and signed a peace deal in August 2015 which is now undergoing smooth implementation and that is why we have General Taban Deng as first vice president running the government with his colleague President Salva Kiir.
The woman miserably failed to convince this writer on the legality of her proposal. Katherine also falls short to tell the world and South Sudanese the mandate of UN trusteeship, its successes or failures, how and when to apply and whether South Sudan met the criterion for placement under trusteeship.
The United Nation Trusteeship Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations (UN) formed in 1945. It mandate was to oversee the decolonization of those dependent territories that were to be placed under the international trusteeship system created by UN charter as successor to the league of nations mandate system. The trusteeship council was designed to supervise the government of trust territories and to lead them to self-government or independence. With independence of Palau in 1994, the council suspended operations. The charter (UN trusteeship charter) does not specify the actual territories to be placed under trusteeship. Article 77 merely states that the system shall apply to three categories as follows:
Territories still under mandate territories “detached from an enemy states as a result of the second world war” and, Territories voluntarily placed under the system by states responsible for their administration.
South Sudan doesn’t fall within the above mentioned categories of UN trusteeship, article 76(b) of the UN charter provides, “to promote the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants of the trust territories and their progressive development towards self-government or independence as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of each territory and its people and the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned, and as may be provided by the terms of each trusteeship agreement”, as the definition signifies, South Sudan is and independent state, a member of the United Nations, a member of African Union (AU) and has its democratically elected government with all its effective organs being executive, Legislature or Judiciary.
South Sudan is not under the mandate of any colony and therefore it doesn’t falls in the trust territory. It (South Sudan) did not declare its inability to administer and runs its administration and therefore, there is no voluntary placement of UN trusteeship, lastly South Sudan gained her independence as the outcome of the internationally recognized referendum and thus it was not just a detach from an enemy state.
With the above detailed conditions of placing a country under the UN trusteeship, there is no legal ground in the eyes of international laws that qualify South Sudan to be place under the trusteeship. Again, the UN charter is equally nonspecific on designing the administrators of trust territories. It states simply that the individual trusteeship agreements shall designate the authority in each case, which may be “one or more states or Organization itself”.
Therefore, it will give UN and its influential members such as USA a chance to nominate a person of their choice which might not be in the interest of the said trust country as well as international law norms. Among those placed under the UN trusteeship and their administers were: In East Africa: Ruanda-Urundi administered by Belgium, Somaliland by Italy, Tanganyika by the UK. West Africa: Cameroon administered by the UK, Togoland by the UK.
In the Pacific: Nauru administered by Australia and on behalf of New Zealand and the UK, New Guinea by Australia, and in September 1975, when New Guinea acceded to independence, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands became the only territory on the agenda of the trusteeship. All these countries were placed under UN trusteeship because they were not independent and the objects of Article 83 of the UN charter apply to their territories.
Article 83 of the charter in its entirety doesn’t apply to South Sudan and therefore any unilateral attempt by UN, its counterpart the AU or suggestion of by those of Katherine to place South Sudan under UN trusteeship is of no legal ground under the principle of customary international law.
Some of the UN egregious failure in Africa which Katherine should know are the followings:
Somalia tragedy (1993): between 1992 and 1994, the United Nations deployed as many as 30,550 military, security, and other personnel to Somalia. During the same period, UN representatives worked diligently to secure cease-fire agreements and bring the 16 or more political factions together with limited success. But UN peacekeeping mission failed miserably, resulting first in the tragic death of 25 Pakistani soldiers plus other 54 injured as a result of their taking side in fighting.
Rwandan genocide of 1994 is another good example of UN Peacekeepers failure. The Canadian UN peacekeeping force commander and other UN representatives on the ground in Rwanda perceived the serious nature of mounting tensions between Tutsi and Hutu government, military and militia leaders, but UN leaders and peacekeeping forces could not stop 104 days outbreak of violence that resulted when Hutus massacred about 800,000 Tutsi and sympathetic Hutus. These are some of the UN peacekeeping forces failure in the continent and DR Congo- the rape capital of the world is not an exception.
The UN launched a peacekeeping mission in the DR Congo about the size of Western Europe, excluding Scandinavia in 1999. As of the end of 2011, it remains the largest or second largest mission with 23, 383 personnel, including 18,928 peacekeeping troops, policy and military observers. Many armed groups some supported by neighboring nations to extract precious resources such as gold and diamonds, freely roam in eastern DRC.
Periodically they attack villages and rape women and girls at the rate of over 15,000 per year by 2008. Not only that, some UN leaders, and most peacekeeping commanders and officers seems to have an attitude of that boys will be boys when it comes to satisfying their sexual desires with any woman or girl available, but every year there are hundreds of allegations of UN peacekeepers committing sexual exploitation, rape and abuse of women and girls in the host country.
To put an end to the conflict in South Sudan, the academicians like Madam Katherine should drop all their unnecessary proposals and continue supporting the transitional government of national unity to amicably and peacefully implement the ARCISS in letter and spirit instead of calling for placement of South Sudan under UN/AU trusteeship.
Obviously, it is difficult to justify UN peacekeeping as successful, wise, or in the safety and best interests of the people they are purportedly assigned to protect. By noble character and nature, “a father will risk his life to protect his family, a man to protect his community and nation”, but it goes against human nature to expect foreigners to risk their lives to protect people they don’t know and to whom they have no relational connection or commitment.
In conclusion, Katherine should be inform that being a Director of Africa Center for Strategic Studies, United States Department of Defense does not qualify her to spearhead the modern form of colonizing South Sudan in the name of international body the UN. Her proposal is nothing than an opinion from an angry western imperialist whose interest is not met. The writer of this article is aware that Katherine is one of the top leading western academicians working in collaboration with some few power greedy South Sudanese campaigning in USA for placement of South Sudan under UN trusteeship which is a wishful thinking.
The writer Holds Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from University of Juba and can be reached via email@example.com
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