On October 24, 2016, Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, honored a number of envoys for 10 years of service and gave them keepsake. When I reviewed the names of the ambassadors who received this keepsake, I suddenly froze. One of these ambassadors was Bashar Jaafari, the permanent representative of Assad regime to the United Nations and the main international defender of Bashar Assad’s indescribable crimes in that country.
I could not believe that Ban Ki-moon in the last few weeks of his 10-year tenure would do such a thing. But in a quick search on the internet, I found a photograph of the ceremony in which Bashar Jaafari was smiling in a sickening manner.
Anyone who even cursorily followed the news on Syria and was informed about the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Bashar Assad and his allies including the mullahs’ regime ruling Iran, would have encountered the name of Bashar Jaafari and his defense of these crimes.
The 10-year period of service for which Jaafari was rewarded included the period during which the Syrian people peacefully protested for their basic rights, and against the crimes committed by the Assad regime. And of course it also included the subsequent uprising.
In a flashback, I remembered that on September 29, following the bombing of two hospitals in Aleppo by Assad and his allies, Jaafari responded to a reporter’s question by expressing his joy and pleasure with a disgusting smile before heading to the UN Security Council meeting.
On the same day that Ban Ki-moon gave Jaafari a memento, dozens of Syrian civilians were killed and wounded due to Assad’s murderous bombing. Three days later, a school in Idlib was bombed in which dozens of children were killed. Ban himself described the incident as a war crime.
There is no justification for giving awards to criminals like Bashar Jaafari for any reason, especially by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. You may want to tell the Syrian orphans, and the suffering and wounded Syrian children, who are pulled out from the debris of bombing in Aleppo every day, about your move and let them tell you how they feel about your approach and the work of those who are supposed to defend the UN charter and its objectives.
We should remember that diplomatic standards, particularly after World War II, are part of the huge machinery established for peace and human rights. If these standards are allowed to serve and be used by the biggest war criminals and human rights abusers, they must be thrown away.
Maybe some people have forgotten that the United Nations was founded to prevent the recurrence of atrocities such as the Holocaust. This is the real mission of the UN Secretary General, as the main advocate of this organization.
We all know about the fate of Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler’s foreign minister, who according to known standards was a “diplomat.” But after the overthrow of Hitler, he was placed on criminals’ top chair in the Nuremberg trials and became the first of the Nazi leaders to be sentenced to death by hanging on October 16, 1946.
Although I deeply oppose the death penalty, the Nuremberg judgment on Ribbentrop was one of the historic glories of the court in that it refused to allow anybody to be a propagandist and facilitator of crimes against humanity while claiming diplomatic immunity.
Is Bashar Jaafari less implicated in the slaughter and massacre of Syrian people than savage military commanders of Assad? Is he less involved in the crimes than Bashar Assad’s brutal generals and henchmen?
I hope that Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in his last few weeks as the UN Secretary General, takes a courageous position, as he has taken before on many occasions, especially in the past year. I hope he focuses his effort on placing Bashar Jaafari and his cohorts in Syria where they belong: in the defendant’s chair at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes. In so doing, he would leave a bright legacy as part of the history of the United Nations.
Mahmoud Hakamian is member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)