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On Darfur Killings, Strange Claims of Mandates, Chapters & Tanks, Ladsous' DPKO Stonewalls

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 15 -- The killing in Darfur on Saturday of seven UN peacekeepers from Tanzania continues to be shrouded in mystery, including due to the refusal to take or answer questions by UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous.

  Ladsous was in France -- where else? -- over the weekend at the colonial Bastille Day military parade.

  In New York when the UN Security Council requested and got a briefing about the killing on Monday afternoon, it was not from Ladsous or his deputy, but rather Dmitry Titov, formally in charge of the Rule of Law for DPKO.

 Afterward, following the lead of Ladsous but not his predecessor Alain Le Roy, no question and answer stakeout was held.

  In terms of written questions, Ladsous' top four spokespeople have been sitting for sixteen days now on questions submitted by Inner City Press. Ladsous himself has repeatedly refused to answer Press questions. Video compilation here.

  In terms of the call for accountability for the killings in Darfur, it's noteworthy that Ladsous downplayed the previous kidnappings of UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, confining even the announcement of a kidnapping to a “conversation” with friendly journalists. Four pilots for the UN were killed in South Sudan in December, and no one has been held accountable. What message did that send?

  At Monday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky about the Darfur killings and Tanzania's statements:

Inner City Press: the spokesman for the Tanzanian People’s Defence Forces has said, “we are only allowed to use armoured personnel carriers under Chapter VI. This puts our troops in danger in volatile areas like Darfur.” Maybe I am missing something, it seems like it is a Chapter VII mission. But, the quote goes on to say that he’d like to use tanks, and I am wondering first of all, if you could clarify if the Mission is under Chapter VII, what the UN thinks of using tanks and what the purpose of that convoy was and whether any vehicles were stolen?

Spokesperson: Well, as I have said, there are still details emerging on this. With regard to the first part of your question, I’ll check with Peacekeeping Operations, okay?

  But seven hours later, there was no answer at all. This is Ladsous', and therefore Ban's, UN. Watch this site.


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