Special Tribunal for Lebanon submits indictment, SG reiterates support, Syria mandate extended by 6 months and more from UN Direct

Lebanon: The United Nations-backed tribunal set up to try those alleged responsible for the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri today submitted to the country’s authorities a sealed indictment and arrest warrants for an unknown number of suspects.  The SG reiterated his strong support for the Tribunal, and for its efforts to uncover the truth and send a message that impunity will not be tolerated.  He calls on all states to support the independent judicial process, in particular by cooperating with the Special Tribunal in the execution of the indictment and arrest warrants. The Secretary-General expects the new Government of Lebanon to uphold all of Lebanon’s international obligations and to cooperate with the Special Tribunal.

Sudan: The Secretary-General commended both parties for reaching an agreement yesterday, urging them to conclude and implement a cessation of hostilities agreement as a matter of priority. The Secretary-General is mindful that, unless the parties decide otherwise, UNMIS will be required to cease operations in these areas as of 9 July.  Furthermore, OCHA reports that the government of Sudan has granted access to limited areas in Kadugli town where partners have their offices. All UN agency offices had been looted of their stocks and office equipment, with the exception of UNICEF and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and most offices and guesthouses were damaged or destroyed.

UNDOF: The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights (UNDOF) by six months. Today is the last day of Gabon’s Security Council Presidency. Germany will take over the Presidency of the Council for the month of July.  Statement by Amb. DiCarlo on the adoption of the resolution to extend UNDOF: “The United States is deeply concerned by the grave events of May 15th and June 5th in the Golan Heights. We are further troubled by credible reports that the Syrian government played a role in these demonstrations, which resulted in fatalities and injuries. These actions are a transparent ploy by the Syrian government to incite violence along the disengagement line in order to divert public attention from its own indiscriminate killings and abuses of the human rights of the Syrian people.”

Haiti: Asked about a new report by the Center for Disease Control in the US concerning the cholera outbreak in Haiti, the Spokesperson said the UN is aware of the report and, as with other prior reports, will study its findings diligently. He reiterated that the SG had established an Independent Panel of Experts at the beginning of this year, whose report had been made public, as well as convened a Task Force within the UN system to ensure prompt and appropriate follow-up.  The spokesperson said that the Task Force has met recently.

Children in Armed Conflict: The SG today reiterated his concern over the growing number of attacks on schools and hospitals and threats to children in armed conflicts around the world, stating that the UN is considering targeted measures against those who commit such crimes: “Beyond naming and shaming, we have a further tool we can consider employing to safeguard schools and hospitals in conflict,” said Mr. Ban at a panel discussion organized by Radhika Coomaraswamy, the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, and Germany’s Ambassador, Peter Wittig, ahead of next month’s general debate on the issue in the Security Council. “The threat of targeted measures against repeat violators – especially non-State actors – is credible and effective,” the Secretary-General said.

North Africa and Middle East: Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said today that the collective actions of the people of North Africa and the Middle East have reaffirmed the importance and universality of human rights in a way we could not have dreamed of at the start of this year. She also welcomed Wednesday’s announcements by the King of Bahrain that he is setting up a Royal Commission, composed of experienced international jurists to look into allegations of human rights violations during the events of February and March and “subsequent consequences.”

Myanmar: Asked about reports that the Government of Myanmar is objecting to Aung San Suu Kyi’s political activities, the Spokesperson noted that, when the Secretary-General met with the Group of Friends of Myanmar earlier this month, he pointed to the need for the Government to reach out as broadly as possible through dialogue to all those who have a contribution to make, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and political forces inside and outside Parliament.


France/Libya: Asked about reports that France is providing arms for Libyan rebels, the Spokesperson said that matters involving sanctions on Libya fall under the Security Council’s Sanctions Committee dealing with Libya, which is chaired by Portugal. He said that the Secretary-General expects all Member States to abide by all Security Council resolutions.


WFP: WFP confirmed today the safe recovery of two of its Ethiopian staff members, who had been missing after an incident in Ethiopia’s Somali Region on 13 May 2011. The spokersperson noted that this incident underscores the need to ensure the safety and security of UN staff.

Kosovo: The SRSG for Kosovo, Lamberto Zannier, announced today that he will be taking up the post of Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) and he will leave Kosovo.