UNITED NATIONS, Dec 22 ( – Today, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) called United Nations leader Kofi Annan to account for the UN’s complicity in the Rwandan genocide costing some 800,000 lives. Philip Gourevitch, in response to the “independent” inquiry into the UN’s role in the massacre and Annan’s subsequent apology, said the UN head “cannot be sorry enough for this state of affairs”. 

Gourevitch points out the inquiry’s observation that Annan and the UN secretariat failed to share the warnings they were receiving on the deteriorating situation and proposed solutions with the Security Council. As a result, “crucial months when preemptive action might have been taken were lost,” the writer says. 

While “Annan is a great champion of holding the world’s leaders to account for their moral and political failings, he seems to expect admiration for his honesty when he says that, after all, 800,000 Rwandans need not have died on his watch.”

“At century’s end,” Gourevitch writes, “one of the UN’s chief legacies is that it insulates its officials and its member states from accountability, when they prefer to do nothing to stop mass violence.” In conclusion the author notes that “the crucial lesson from the Rwanda report is that civilians who depend for their safety on the UN stand undefended.”


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