July 14, 2003

THE UNITED NATIONS: FRIEND OF DICTATORS -- a seemingly ever-continuing series:

The UN has refused to arrest a Zimbabwean police officer accused of torture who is currently working for it in Kosovo as a member of an international training team.
The UN was informed in early June that the alleged torturer, Detective Inspector Henry Dowa, was working for it in Prizren, Kosovo, but it declined to take any action, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

Zimbabwean police thought to have done a good job by the country's government are often seconded to UN peacekeeping missions, where conditions are comparatively good and they are paid in dollars.

Mr Dowa has been named by several Zimbabwean torture victims as having directed and carried out beatings with fists, boots and pickaxe handles, and as having administered electric shocks to the point of convulsions, at Harare central police station throughout 2002 and in early 2003.

The charges have been backed up by medical examinations which confirm injuries consistent with torture.

Sheesh. But it's not just the United Nations:

President Robert Mugabe's regime pulled off an extraordinary diplomatic coup yesterday when it was given a senior position within the African Union, the grouping set up to promote good governance in Africa.

The move was seen as a direct snub to President George W Bush who called for a "return to democracy in Zimbabwe" during his African tour last week.

It also outraged Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change which claimed that it was a "betrayal of the people of Zimbabwe" and made a mockery of the AU's founding commitment to good governance.

Like the UN, the AU is a dictators' club that takes care of its own. As, really, is the "international community" for which moral standing is often claimed, but seldom demonstrated.