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"Targeting a Combatant Is No War Crime," UN Expert Tells ICP of MONUSCO

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 31 -- If a member of the UN Intervention Brigade in Eastern Congo is shot at, is it a war crime? A spokesman for the MONUSCO mission under Herve Ladsous said just that on Wednesday.

  But when Inner City Press asked Gabor Rona of the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries about that, he said that to target a combatant is NOT a war crime. Video here.

  The question turns on whether the UN Intervention Brigade is a party to an armed conflict. Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky just that on Wednesday, but he evaded the question. Nesirky merely said the mission and its mandate comply with the law.

  But are they a party to an armed conflict? Because if they are, according to the UN's expert panel, is it NOT a war crime to shoot back at them. It would seem important to resolve this before the shooting starts; Inner City Press has been asking the questions for weeks.

  But Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping, refuses to answer Inner City Press' questions. Ladsous represented France in the Security Council during the Rwanda genocide, arguing for the escape of the genocidaires into Eastern Congo. These are questions he should answer.

  In fact, Ladsous and the UN won't even name the company selected and being paid for drones to fly over the Congo and its borders with Rwanda and Uganda. Inner City Press asked for the name on Wednesday and Nesirky said it is not public. So much for even financial transparency. Call it the Ladsousification of the UN. What's next? 24 hours - the countdown is on. Watch this site.


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