Beheading of US hostage in Saudi Arabia ‘tragic’ – Annan

Beheading of US hostage in Saudi Arabia ‘tragic’ – Annan

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said the execution in Saudi Arabia of a hostage from the United States was tragic, and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

“It’s really tragic. These kinds of brutal acts do not help anybody,” the Secretary-General said during an encounter with the press about reports that hostage Paul Johnson was beheaded.

“My sympathies go to his family and loved ones, and I hope the perpetrators will eventually be brought to justice, because we cannot tolerate this kind of behaviour in today’s world,” he added.

The Secretary-General, speaking to reporters after his monthly luncheon with the members of the Security Council, was also asked what kind of signs he was getting from them regarding his comments about the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Yesterday, Mr. Annan said a “blanket exemption” from potential prosecution by the ICC for peacekeepers participating in UN operations was “wrong” and would discredit both the Security Council and the UN itself.

“I indicated that the Council, which was divided hopelessly last year, has come together, and everybody was excited that the last resolution [on Iraq] was voted unanimously,” he said.

“We have some very difficult challenges ahead of us, and the Council needs to be able to work together and to speak with one voice. It is when they do that that they have greater impact. And I posed the question, if we want the Council to be divided by this issue of the ICC, because it will divide the Council. And I asked everyone to reflect on that,” he said.