25 June 2004

Le Monde, the prestigious Paris daily, wrote:

"The discovery of the black box in a (U.N. Headquarters) cabinet is either a tall story or a scandal with consequences. Despite the calm on the surface -- or possibly the attention diverted to Food- For-Oil, some quarters are still pondering certain questions relating to the Rwanda Massacres ten years ago. For example, why wasn't the crash of April 1994, that killed two African presidents and preceded the massacre of over 800,000 Africans in an area under U.N. peacekeeping mandate, investigated by U.N. officials directly responsible at the time? And why no effort was made to find out where the black box was? And why, when "a black box" was received, did no one try to pursue its contents further? Why was the box non-existent for ten years, yet suddenly discovered in a filing cabinet one day after a prominent French judge decided to vent his frustration in public? Why was the "first class foul up" pointing downwards rather than upwards, referring to two staff members who since left the organization! Why are we now admonished to the future and not look back in anger at the past? How come it turned out to be the wrong black box afterward?

More to the point, why the Rwanda Tribunal, which was established precisely to look into the failure of human justice (and possibly the catastrophic shortcomings of U.N. peacekeeping in Rwanda), did not look into the question?

The official response came on 12 March 2004 that it was "a judgment by then-Prosecutor Louise Arbour."

And where is Louise Arbour now? Just recently the then-Prosecutor was appointed by Kofi Annan, then-head of Peacekeeping and current Secretary General as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. What a coincidence!"