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February 16, 2005

Norm Coleman, Benon Sevan and Diplomatic Immunity.

Senator Norm Coleman is on the warpath about Benon Sevan and his role in UNScam:

The scandal surrounding the UN's oil-for-food programme took a new and dramatic turn for the worse last night after a US Senate investigation accused its head of committing criminal acts by accepting oil contracts from Iraq, and demanded the lifting of his diplomatic immunity.

"I believe Mr Sevan's misconduct goes well beyond a mere conflict of interest," Mr Coleman told a packed room in a Senate annex. "Instead these documents, when combined with the evidence in the [UN] report, certainly establish probable cause that Mr Sevan's actions rose to the level of criminal liability.

"Accordingly I call upon [UN] Secretary-General Kofi Annan to strip Mr Sevan of his diplomatic immunity."

Well, that’s OK as far as it goes, but it does, I fear, miss a part of the reality, avoid some of the nuances of the situation. As I pointed out before, Benon Sevan should not actually have diplomatic immunity at present anyway:

So the interim report is out from the Volcker Commission and Benon Sevan gets named and shamed. At this late date I’m not sure that anyone is really all that surprised by this. One teensy little detail I think worth mentioning, as I did right at the beginning of this saga:

And he's even going to do it for a nominal $ 1 a year. Amazing! What could actually prompt such self denial, such devotion to the public cause ?

In the deal struck with Mr Annan, Mr Sevan will continue for the next three months and be paid a token $1 (55p) a year as a consultant, while continuing to enjoy diplomatic immunity.

Gosh children, can you say " cover up "? Diplomatic Immunity means that he does not have to answer questions, cannot be forced to take an oath or into a court room, can leave whenever he wishes, and cannot, even if found later to be lying, be prosecuted.
So, um, Kofi, just why did you extend his immunity ?

The only reason he has immunity now is because at the beginning of the investigation Kofi Annan deliberately set up a system whereby he would maintain his immunity. Just one more piece of scandalous behaviour at the heart of the UN.


February 16, 2005 in United Nations | Permalink


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