VOA Interview with UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives for the 18th African Union Summit in the Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, January 29, 2012.

UN Chief Rejects African Criticism of International Court

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls anti-African bias charges aimed at ICC unfounded, says African governments support ICC actions

Pete Heinlein: “What’s happening, and why is there such a delay [in opening the U.N. Political Office in Somalia]?”

Ban Ki-moon
: “First, the deployment of United Nations Political Office in Somalia [UNPOS] is a historic one, demonstrating our strong, determined will, to help transition the federal government of Somalia. This is the first time in 17 years that the U.N. Political Office is deployed permanently. I hope this will bring other international partners to Mogadishu."

"The African Union Peace and Security Council has authorized the increase of strength of AMISOM [African peace-keeping force in Somalia] to 17,731. I welcome it. I’m going to make a report to the Security Council very soon. I sincerely hope the Security Council will have a favorable consideration on this increase of the strength of AMISOM before we meet in London for the International Conference on Somalia. I need to see that whole international community address a comprehensive approach on Somalia, so that Somalia will maintain to gain this hard-fought stability at this time."

"I met President Sheikh Sharif and also during my visit last December to Somalia, I urged that this is a very small window of opportunity for Somalia, to fully utilize this stability, fighting back al-Shabab, they should establish this administration in the liberated areas. They should also provide the social economic opportunities to their people.”

Pete Heinlein:
“Can you give us a little bit of a timeline? When do you think more money is forthcoming? Where is it coming from?"

Ban Ki-moon:
“The first TFG, Transitional Federal Government, should implement a roadmap by the end of August. Further extension is not acceptable. That was my strong message. That is the message of the international community. Therefore, that this one good benchmark by which the international community will be ready to provide support."

"With the strengthened AMISOM forces, I believe the TFG will be able to gain and maintain this momentum to support. The U.N. will work hard to provide the necessary livelihood, opportunities to the people, so that there will be less of a motivation of the young people to go out to sea for piracy. This is our comprehensive strategy.”

Pete Heinlein: “Let’s switch to Sudan, where we hear oil field workers are being kidnapped. The meetings here have produced very little but acrimony, you say you met with the two sides and urged them to get together. The oil is cut off, and we’re in dire straits there. What is your prescription for getting things moving?”

Ban Ki-moon:
“This is our common responsibility. To see the improved and harmonious relationship between Sudan and South Sudan. Their relationship should be maintain in a harmonious, neighborly relationship."

"Now Sudan’s government, President Bashir, should fully cooperate with the United Nations, so that the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Darfur, UNAMID, and also UNISFA should be able to properly function in protecting civilian population in helping humanitarian workers to carry out their humanitarian assistance to many people. We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian plights in South Kordofan and Blue Miles, and this area is also controlled by different rebel groups. We hope that all these pending issues on comprehensive peace agreement, including the status of Abyei and oil sharing, should be resolved as soon as possible."

"I have impressed upon very strongly to the leaders of South Sudan, Salva Kir, and also foreign minister of Sudan, to fully engage in a dialogue.”

Pete Heinlein:
“Yesterday we heard from the platform of the summit the Chinese representative suggesting if Africa turns to the East, they won’t be faced with such unpleasant questions about human rights. We heard the outgoing AU chairman criticizing the ICC. What does that tell you the way Africa seems to be going off on its own path, away from the U.N. and the international community?”

Ban Ki-moon: “I’m aware of some concern expressed by some countries of African Union on the International Criminal Court. At the same time, I’m very encouraged by the strong commitment by most of the African countries on the work and principles of the ICC. One third of the state parties to the Rome convention are African countries. International Criminal Court is an independent, international judiciary organization, whose mandate is distinctly different from that of the United Nations. Thus, it is important for state parties to this ICC will fully comply with all the decisions of the ICC."

"Now, for the first time, this ICC is going to have an African prosecutor. [Fatou] Bensouda, former Gambian prosecutor general. She is now acting as deputy prosecutor of ICC. This means how much Africa is committed, how much Africa can contribute to the establishment and furthering the international justice system.”

Pete Heinlein: “But there is a chasm between Africa [and the international community].  You could hear the feelings of leaders, you could hear it out there, that they are a little angry about solutions imposed from the outside.”

Ban Ki-moon:
“It’s not true. On many occasions, when the African people are indicted, they were indicted at the request of the African countries themselves. There were very few cases that the investigations were initiated by the ICC itself.”

Pete Heinlein:
“I’m not talking so much about the ICC but the broader question of Africa seemingly wanting to go by itself, in Libya, Cote D’ivoire, places like that over the past year, where Africa has felt that its gotten pushed aside as the international community has taken its own course.”

Ban Ki-moon:
“I think the example and lessons we have seen, in Cote D’ivoire and Libya, was a very positive one in the sense that everything was moving toward the right direction in terms of establishing international justice and putting an end to impunity and putting all these perpetrators to justice. We are now working very hard in those countries to establish transitional justice. Therefore, I’m again repeating that an era of impunity has come to an end.”