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At UN, Desecration of Corpses by DRC Army Makes Statement, Ladsous Lurks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 25 -- Hours before US Secretary of State John Kerry kicks off the Great Lakes meeting of the UN Security Council, the underlying Presidential Statement is still "under silence" until 9 am, following last minute changes to the draft.

  The desecration of corpses by the Congolese Army has been added, along with a more expansive reference to increased attacks on Rwanda by the FDLR militia.

  Still, much of the debate and coverage is sure to focus on external support to the M23 -- ironic to some, given that Kerry by 4:20 pm is set to meet with the Syrian opposition, which is openly supported and influenced from outside of Syria.

  But while Rwanda ultimately compromised on this Presidential Statement or PRST, it seems like most of the Security Council's deliberation to let the UN's own Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous off the hook.

  The desecration of corpses was by the 391st Battalion of the Congolese Army, which Ladsous' DPKO supports. Under the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, this UN support should have stopped after the 391st Battalion was implicated in 135 rapes in Minova in November 2012.

But Ladsous first covered up the rapes for months, repeatedly refusing questions from Inner City Press on the topic, video here. Then he decided to rely on what most say are only two arrests for the rapes, and a dozen "suspensions." Is suspension enough for mass rape?

Now, after this non-enforcement of the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, the same UN supported (and US trained) 391st Battalion continued with abuses including but not limited to the desecration of corpses. Is it any surprise?

 (The US Mission the UN did give Inner City Press a written response about the 391st Battalion, which we published in full here.)

  On July 24 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's outgoing deputy spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey about the Congolese Army's (or its mercenaries' according to local accounts) aerial bombardment of Rumangabo and the adjoining village of Kavodo, which gave rise to gruesome photographs of children killed.

  The UN answer it didn't know anything about this fighting -- this on the eve of the Security Council's big Great Lakes debate.

  Under Herve Ladsous, who as France's Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN in 1994 argued for the escape of genocidaires from Rwanda into Eastern Congo, UN Peacekeeping has betrayed what the UN says it stands for.

  But who is on this? Human Rights Watch on July 22 issued a report almost entirely about the M23, not even MENTIONING the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. It had to correct the report, but continues to pump it out without the correction appended, for example on the Huffington Post.

  HRW brags that it primed the US State Department and Jen Psaki to deliver -- the State Department run Voice of America -- and canned quote on July 23 about Rwanda and the M23.

  Did State Department run Voice of America asked about the US training of the 391st Battalion? Will anyone ask US envoy to the Great Lakes Russ Feingold, said to be at the UN on Thursday? Watch this site.


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