Cablegate: Un On Kalma Violence: "We Could Have Done Better"
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHTRO RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUCNDT #0781 2411620
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281620Z AUG 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4877
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000781
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UN ON KALMA VIOLENCE: "WE COULD HAVE DONE BETTER"
REF: (A) KHARTOUM 1289 (B) KHARTOUM 1300 (C) KHARTOUM
1. (SBU) SUMMARY. UN Assistant Secretary-General Mulet told
the Security Council on August 26 that early reports from
Kalma IDP camp in Darfur confirm that dozens of civilians
were killed or wounded in a cross-fire on August 25 between
Sudanese security forces and some well-armed camp elements.
Beyond saying that IDP camp residents should not have arms,
that Sudanese authorities should not use deadly force in the
camps, and that UNAMID might have reacted more quickly, Mulet
was not assigning blame for the episode. UN staff was more
critical privately of UNAMID's reaction to the crisis but
said the greater problem was lack of coherent jurisdiction
and capacity for camp security. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) UN Department of Peacekeeping operations Assistant
Secretary-General Edmond Mulet briefed the Security Council
on August 25 events at the Kalma Internally Displaced Persons
camp in Darfur during closed consultations on August 26.
Mulet said UNAMID Nyala sector south HQ received a letter
from local Sudanese authorities at 8:00 am on August 25
inviting UNAMID to participate in the execution of a search
warrant at the camp. He said UNAMID command assembled a
response team (including medical personnel from an NGO),
notified Khartoum-level Sudanese authorities, departed Nyala
HQ in six APC's at 12:30 pm, and arrived at Kalma some 20
kilometers away (after a long delay at Sudanese checkpoint)
at 5:30 pm.
3. (SBU) Mulet said Sudanese security forces in 60 vehicles
had massed outside the two main extrances to the Kalma camp
by 7:30 am on August 25 with gunfire beginning at about 8:00
am and lasting until about 1:30 pm. He said it was
impossible to say who fired first. He put casualties at 64
dead and 117 wounded inside the camp, many of them children,
with no casualties reported from the government positions
outside the camp.
4. (SBU) Mulet said UNAMID is continuing to investigate the
episode. He noted that the IDP camp is a "safe haven" under
international law with both the presence of weapons and the
use of lethal force theoretically prohibited. He said the
situation remains tense with government forces maintaining a
heightened security presence around the camp and said the UN
would remind the Government of Sudan of its obligation to
respect humanitarian law.
5. (SBU) UN's Integrated Operational Team leader Michael
Gaouette (protect) was more straightforward with Poloffs on
the margins of the Council. He said, even while the UN
investigates, "we know we could have done better." He
scoffed at Nyala UNAMID HQ failing to understand the urgency
of the situation in the face of what must have been cell
phone reports from the scene, waiting hours to hear back from
Khartoum and to assemble a response team, and taking hours to
reach the camp even after they finally got underway.
6. (SBU) Gaouette said candidly DPKO has much to learn from
this episode, admitting that he does not know what authority
issued the search warrants involved here, whether UNAMID and
local Sudanese authorities have procedures in place for
cooperating on the execution of search warrants, or who has
jurisdiction for disarming camp residents. He sees potential
for UNAMID to cooperate with both Sudanese authorities and
rebel groups in the disarming of IDP camps, but quickly adds
that UNAMID has little potential for realizing that potential
at its present level of deployment.