In Haiti, as Montas Sues Duvalier While Paid by UN, Stonewall by UN on Whether Lawsuit Vetted Under UN Rules, & by Whom

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 20 — The criminal complaint in Haiti against Baby Doc Duvalier was filed by Michele Montas, who is currently being paid by the UN as a Special Adviser.

After long refusing to answer whether and how much the UN is paying Ms. Montas, the UN finally confirmed to Inner City Press that “Ms Montas was engaged by the mission’s senior leadership as the D-1 Special Advisor to the Head of Mission. Her contract will terminate on 30 June 2011.”

Under applicable UN Rules prohibiting people paid by the UN from “any action and, in particular, any kind of public pronouncement that may adversely reflect on their status, or on the integrity, independence and impartiality,” Ms. Montas must or should have checked with the UN before filing her lawsuit, and certainly before making her statements on CNN and elsewhere.

If permission was granted, then the UN’s attempts to distance itself from the suit, and to say it has nothing to do with it, ring false.

Even when the UN does or allows the right thing, it doesn’t have the courage to say so, and remaining mired in lawless double standards. In Haiti, Michele Montas is currently being paid by the UN, the high D-1 level, to be Special Adviser to top UN Peacekeeper in the country Edmund Mulet.

Meanwhile, Ms. Montas announced on CNN that she was filing a criminal complaint against former Haitian dictator Baby Doc Duvalier.

Inner City Press on January 20 asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky what rules apply to the statements and action of people paid by the UN. Video here from Minute 17 and 21:20.

Nesirky said that Ms. Montas was operating in her personal capacity. Inner City Press asked, repeatedly, if she had requested and gotten approval for her statements and lawsuits, which Inner City Press went out of its way to say are laudable.

Nesirky said, “It’s besides the point if you are in favor of it or not.. it’s in her personal capacity which she has every right to do.” He added that “I’m not talking about rules.”

But there is a UN rule, specifically UN “Regulation 1.2, Basic rights and obligations of staff —

While staff members’ personal views and convictions, including their political and religious convictions, remain inviolable, staff members shall ensure that those views and convictions do not adversely affect their official duties or the interests of the United Nations. They shall conduct themselves at all times in a manner befitting their status as international civil servants and shall not engage in any activity that is incompatible with the proper discharge of their duties with the United Nations. They shall avoid any action and, in particular, any kind of public pronouncement that may adversely reflect on their status, or on the integrity, independence and impartiality that are required by that status;

(h) Staff members may exercise the right to vote but shall ensure that their participation in any political activity is consistent with, and does not reflect adversely upon, the independence and impartiality required by their status as international civil servants.”

Inner City Press has been approached by UN staff members who have been prohibited, under this rule, from even attended events critical of the UN or particular political developments or leaders.

It seems clear that Ms. Montas’ statements on CNN, for example, raise questions under the above quoted prohibition on “public pronouncement that may adversely reflect on their status, or on the integrity, independence and impartiality that are required by that status.”

So it would seem clear that Ms. Montas must or should have checked with the UN, Mr. Mulet, Legal Department or higher, before making the statements.

Nesirky, after being Pressed, said that “you can be sure that Ms. Montas will have been speaking with her colleagues before she spoke.”

Inner City Press said, under the Rule, that must mean the statements and lawsuit were vetted and approved.

Nesirky insisted he had described what happened, but would not specify to whom Ms. Montas spoke, nor what they said. He claimed you cannot extrapolate. But doens’t or shouldn’t the UN have rules that apply equally to all?


Ms. Montas with Mulet, prior, request under Rules for permission to sue not shown

Nesirky backtracked, sought not to provide factual answers and tried to stop Inner City Press from questioning. Video here, from Minute 21:20. But it is a simple factual question: did Ms. Montas check with the UN, and did they sign off?

If so, while it is not a UN lawsuit, it can in some sense be attributed to the UN, in that the UN somehow found it — because Duvalier was a dictator — as not impacting Ms. Montas “ independence and impartiality.”

Nesirky refused to specify who Ms. Montas had asked, or even what rule applied.

Minutes later in front of the Security Council, Inner City Press on camera asked top UN Peacekeeper (and Mr. Mulet’s “boss”) Alain Le Roy about Duvalier and Ms. Montas. Le Roy said he was aware of Montas’ action. Video here.

Afterward off camera, Le Roy told Inner City Press that “so far the UN is silent” on Ms Montas’ suit, and that he would try to “get something from OLA,” the UN Office of Legal Affairs. That would seem to be Nesirky’s job, as spokesman. Watch this site.

* * *

UN Denies Role In Haiti Detaining Duvalier, Pays Montas Calling For It, Kouchner?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 18 — With Baby Doc Duvalier apprehended in Haiti, the UN in New York insisted Tuesday at noon that it had nothing to do with the arrest.

But the UN has acknowledged to Inner City Press that it is still paying Michele Montas, through June 2011 — and Ms. Montas’ public statement on CNN about filing a criminal complaint is reportedly related to the arrest.

Michele Montas, a Haitian journalist and a former spokeswoman for the United Nations secretary-general, said Monday night that she plans to file a criminal complaint against Duvalier. ‘We have enough proof. There are enough people who can testify. And what I will do is go to a public prosecutor and there is a public prosecutor that could actually accommodate our complaints,’ she told CNN‘s ‘Parker Spitzer.’”

Ms. Montas’ successor as Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Martin Nesirky disclaimed any UN involvement in Duvalier’s detention. He did however call him a “dictator” who was chased out of his country by his own people.

Minutes later, asked about Tunisia’s Ban Ali, Nesirky would not use the same words or call for accountability.

Earlier, UN envoy to Cote d’Ivoire Choi Young-jin spoke of denying Laurent Gbagbo funds to pay “his” 140,000 civil servants. Is Gbagbo less legitimate than Myanmar Than Shwe or North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il? Is the UN trying to deny their civil servants their pay?

Meanwhile, the French press is reporting that Bernard Kouchner’s “courtesy” visit with Ban Ki-moon was about replacing Edmond Mulet as top UN envoy to Haiti. Nesirky on January 17 said he refused to comment on rumors.

Inner City Press asked top UN peacekeeper Alain Le Roy, what about Kouchner to Haiti? It is up to the Secretary General, he said, and no decision is needed until March. But what would then happen with Peacekeeping’s Number Two, Atul Khare, if Mulet returns to this post? Especially with major troop contributor India now on the Security Council?

For weeks, Inner City Press has asked the UN how much former UN Spokesperson Michele Montas has been paid. At first, Martin Nesirky said he “would not comment.” Then he suggested to “ask MINUSTAH.” Finally this arrived:

Subject: Re: Your question regarding Special Advisor in Haiti
From: UN
Date: Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 2:52
PM
To: Inner City Press

In response to your querry with the Spokesperson of the Secretary General regarding Ms Montas’s appointment to MINUSTAH, please find the answer below.

“Following the devastating earthquake of January 2010, which had a severe impact on the substantive sections of MINUSTAH, Ms Montas was engaged by the mission’s senior leadership as the D-1 Special Advisor to the Head of Mission. Her contract will terminate on 30 June 2011, when the post itself will be eliminated, as part of the mission’s post-surge readjustment.”

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11 thoughts on “In Haiti, as Montas Sues Duvalier While Paid by UN, Stonewall by UN on Whether Lawsuit Vetted Under UN Rules, & by Whom

  1. This entire fiasco does not surprise me.

    The UN is made up of high paid hypocrits

    Montas forgets who killed her husband and the fact that Rene Preval knows who did it and was himself involved. Montas, by her actions is also complicit in her husband’s murder by not stating the facts.

    She should insist on filing charges against her friend Preval. His crimes are current and not statute barred.

  2. Here is Jean claude duvalier’s word to the Haitian People “the son of a tiger is a tiger”, which means in Kreyol, “ptit tig se tig”. The tiger family has been killing more 60000 of Haitian People. More than 4 million Haitians are in exile in Canada, United States, France, the Bahamas, and so on. The tigers left no school, hospital, social justice system, nor police force that protects the wealth and life of the Haitian People. The tigers left a generation that lost, and in addition, a generation that is dehumanizing, and humiliated in face of the world. I am, sincerely, going to join Montas in the fight against the tigers.

  3. tibelo:

    I have a few points of contention with the exaggerations that you made in your comment.

    First, you are no person to quote Duvalier’s words, especially if you are going to mis-represent them and lie about the numbers. If we are to be using his words, then allow me to refer you to something with more validity than that of which you claim-
    See this link to read Duvalier’s Personal Statement to Haiti Jan 2010

    http://www.haitian-truth.org/duvallier-personally-adresses-haitian-people/

    Second, what makes you think that every Haitian that you counted as “Exiled” didn’t leave Haiti for a better job, or perhaps to go to a better school? Or perhaps to marry that beautiful Canadian tourist that they met during the Duvalier years of SAFE TOURISM?-
    Is every American born that moves to a different country running from a cruel leadership? Lets take legal action against Aristide for his murders. His cocaine involvements. The human sacrifices that were performed under his command and rule.

    You are working with liars and manipulators of facts (concannon and montas), but you will still always need to fake your numbers because you cannot stand on real facts. Concannon is a known Aristide supporter, and is already known for spreading lies and concealing the actions of mass murderers, while waving the flag of self-righteous human rights advocacy. Hypocrisy and your team go hand in hand.

    You are full of hot air tibelo

    1. Inflammatory language will not be tolerated beyond the normal level of heated debate.

      Suggesting that someone an idiot is one thing. Calling them one is another.
      Please keep all comments civil, and factual.

  4. Sincerely going to join in with Montas? Well, you are entitled to do that.
    Some people have sex with goats. Some work with Montas.
    What is the difference really. At least you are proud.

  5. No Haitian presidency has been perfect but the Duvalier period gave us much that has now been lost to the Aristide, Preval and Latortue disasters.

    People who once praised Aristide, now see him as he is, a flawed person who did much to destroy his society.

    Preval has continues the process and now effectively blocks our earthquake recover through his cynical indifference to my peoples’ suffering.

    Haitians should live in peace for the future. The moron who claims 4,000,000 in exile is typical of our problems. Why didn’t they come back after Duvalier left?? Most Haitians outside the nation are there for economical reasons.

    Few return to help their country.

  6. elizar,

    As you have no shame and memory, read this”

    AsCoalition of Organizations Call on Haiti to Prosecute Jean-Claude Duvalier
    Submitted by CHAN on January 21, 2011 – 19:56
    (see the original statement at MADRE.org)

    As organizations concerned with human rights in Haiti, we call on the Government of Haiti to immediately take steps to investigate and prosecute Jean-Claude Duvalier for human rights violations committed during his 1971-86 rule of Haiti. Scores of human rights investigations, legal cases, victim testimonies, and in-depth reports provide ample evidence to commence formal proceedings against Jean-Claude Duvalier. While the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute Duvalier rests squarely with the Government of Haiti, we call on the international community to provide all needed assistance to enable Haiti to fully and promptly investigate and prosecute him. Given the fragile state of Haiti’s infrastructure following the January 12, 2010 earthquake and the current cholera and electoral crises, significant international assistance may be needed.

  7. Reply to: elizar, bel-ami and specially gillian,
    What are the differences between politics and economy? Can a country prospers and develops without a system of political stability? This is exactly what the tigers left for Haiti as heritage, a generation of brainless people who cannot look and think further than the length of their own noses.

    1. Tibelo:
      I don’t know what you have been doing with your life there in the USA, or Canada, or wherever you are, but your blanket statements are totally insulting, and patronizing, and apparently made by a person that is not very well educated.

  8. Tibelo:
    Your teammates will be able to answer your last question of the difference between politics and economy.
    Haiti has been without real politics, but the drug economy boomed to proportions that were never seen before in Haiti with aristide as president. ask your lawyer team bout that, and how they defend the drugs people and aristide, the killer and raper- he murded people in human sacrifice.
    who are you anyhow Tibelo? you are the guy that runs and gets them coffee and lunch while they work?

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