Well here is an awkward issue dear readers.
For some weeks there has been rumour of a Palestinian gentleman being “spirited away” from the sovereign state of Ukraine in an American-esque style black op/rendition.
I have deliberately left this matter alone whilst waiting for something more solid than rumour.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has asked the Ukrainian and Israeli governments to clarify the circumstances of Palestinian national Dirar Abu Sisi’s disappearance in February.
“We would be very grateful to Ukrainian and Israeli government agencies for giving us more detailed information,” spokesman for the UN Office’s department in Ukraine Maksym Butkevych told Interfax-Ukraine.
“Veronika Abu Sisi informed us on Feb. 23 about the disappearance of her husband Dirar Abu Sisi,” he said.
The Palestinian is registered with the UN Middle East agency for aiding Palestinian refugees, he said, adding that if he is outside the territory under the agency’s jurisdiction, he automatically comes under the mandate of the Office of the UN Commissioner for Refugees.
“Therefore, when a report arrived about Mr. Abu Sisi’s disappearance, we turned to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry to for more information and to find out his likely whereabouts,” Butkevych said.
“Unfortunately, no information has arrived from the Interior Ministry,” he said.
“Then we got information from our representatives in Israel, who had received a confirmation from Mr. Abu Sisi’s defense lawyer that he was in jail in Israel and that the date of his arrest coincided with his disappearance – Feb. 19, as stated by his wife,” he said.
Butkevych said it was not known how the Palestinian had disappeared in Ukraine and re-appeared in Israel. But the UN is mostly concerned about whether he traveled to Israel on his own or by force, he said.
“And of course, we are concerned that if he was forced into Israel, law may have been violated and the Palestinian’s human rights abused,” Butkevych said.
Now it is a little more than a mere rumour, or at least I can cite the UN as a point of reference, this is a difficult political situation.
As the Ukrainian authorities, you are faced with:
a. Acknowledging this gentleman was taken from Ukraine and sent to Israel either forcibly or agreeably. If agreeably, the matter ends there of course.
b. By acknowledging this happened and on the assumption this gentleman was forcibly taken from the sovereign state of Ukraine, is denial of all knowledge the way to go?
If you deny all knowledge then it shows Ukraine’s own security services did not know about foreign players on their patch carrying out a sensitive action. Not good.
It also displays to other nations that their citizens are not as safe in Ukraine as they thought they were.
By denial of knowledge then there is an expectation by nations that there will be at the very least a formal demarche and summonsing of relevant Ambassadors. A public condemnation also occasionally occurs. Whether this demarche has happened on not we may never really know.
In effect, if Ukraine did not know, repercussions at a diplomatic level are expected.
c. If Ukraine did know, then it has allowed a foreign national to be taken from its sovereign territory by a third party nefariously. Call it what you will but it is an ipso defacto kidnapping in which Ukraine has played a conspiratorial role…..just by knowing and turning a blind eye……and the rumours are that witnesses from the train this gentleman was on have been advised to shut up by the security apparatus of Ukraine.
Not necessarily the convenient portrait for a founding UN member that is already suffering from a poor image relating to the implementation and consistency of application of domestic law and order.
To then consider the jailing of several Ukrainian “spies” in EU border nations in the past few years, the probable “bending” of contractual obligations with Japan over AAU’s and a lengthy backlog of pending ECHR rulings over the last 6 years and it paints a fairly black picture…….particularly when you are due to assume the Presidency of the Council of Europe in May this year.
How do you deal with this official UN request for information?
How does it play out with one of your major regional partners, Turkey (who have their own issues with Israel)?
How does it play out with your neighbours (Russia, Turkey and the EU) if you knew what was going on?
Whose head and how many heads must roll to put the genie back in the bottle and regain confidence that at least international law (if nor domestic law) will be upheld?
I am sure there are those within the Interior Ministry,Foreign Ministry and Ukrainian UN representatives who would welcome the answers to these questions……as soon as you have them dear readers.