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After ICP Asked 3 Days, Ban Comments on Desecration of M23 Bodies, Ladsous Stonewalls

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 17 -- What is wrong with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous?

 For eighteen days they have refused to answer a simple Inner City Press question about whether the units of the Congolese Army they support include those depicted in the new Group of Experts report engaged in rape, looting, arming the FDLR and child soldier recruitment.

  They acknowledged receipt of the question in June when Inner City Press exclusive put online the full text of the GoE report, and said they would answer. But since then: nothing.

  On Monday July 15 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky about Congolese authorities bragging they would display captured and dead M23 fighters. He said he would ask DPKO. Nothing.

  On Tuesday July 16, Inner City Press asked Nesirky about a photograph online of Congolese Army soldiers desecrating a killed fighter, and asked if it complies with Geneva Conventions. (Ladsous' DPKO refuses to answer if its MONUSCO mission in the Congo is now covered by the Geneva Convention. The answer must be yes, as its Intervention Brigade is a party to an armed conflict.)

  Nesirky said he hadn't seen the photograph, would check, with DPKO. Nothing that day.

On Wednesday July 17, again at noon, Inner City Press asked for an update on the fighting aroung Goma, and a UN response to M23's allegation that Ladsous' UN mission lets the Congolese Army uses its position to attack. Nesikry said he would ask DPKO. Nothing by close of business.

Past 8 pm in New York, Nesirky's office emailed out to all correspondents a statement on behalf of the Secretary General about the desecration of bodies, citing the Human Rights Due Diligence that Ladsous has refused to answer questions about.

Frankly, why hasn't the head of DPKO said anything on all this? In fact, while in Sudan meeting ICC indictee Omar al Bashir, Ladsous bragged that “we kept the body” of a killed fighter, also problematic under the Geneva Conventions and, as Nesirky said July 16, basic decency.

Ladsous' refusal to answer, and the way this three day old question was answer by Ban's spokesperson's office, raises questions again about Ladsous actually implementing this supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. Which units of the Congolese Army DOES the MONUSCO mission of Ladsous support? This list should be provided. Watch this site.


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