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In DRC, Kerry Says Thinks Kabila Has Plan to End FDLR, Won't Say When

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 4, more background here -- After US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Congolese president Joseph Kabila, he said he thought Kabila has a timeline to belatedly go after and neutralize the Hutu FDLR militia. But, he said, it would be inappropriate for him to talk about it.

   Kabila's government, and therefore UN Peacekeeping led by Herve Ladsous, has continued to say it would neutralize the FDLR after this was done to the M23. But then the ADF-NALU came first, and the commander of the Force Intervention Brigade went back to Tanzania.

   Excuses have been made about the FDLR being differently configured than the M23, about the drones Ladsous pushed through for the UN in the Congo being less useful with the FDLR than the M23. Ladsous has repeatedly refused to answer Press questions about the FLDR, just as he refused to answer questions about the November 2012 mass rapes in Minova by Kabila's army.  So: when?

  Here in fairness is Kerry's lengthy statement on the FDLR, and a possible third term for Kabila (full US transcript here)

With respect to the election process, the constitution, and the FDLR, we want to see the process of providing stability and completing the task of disarming the armed groups in the east completed. So that includes not just the completion of the efforts with the ADF, but also obviously, indeed making sure that the FDLR is held accountable and that the initiative with respect to them will commence.

The president – we did discuss it. The president made it clear that he intends to do that, and I think that there is a schedule. I don’t want to discuss it because I think it would be inappropriate to do so. But the answer is the president gave his word that that is not just on the agenda, but that he has a specific process in mind and timing.

And with respect to the constitutional process, we talked about the election. I believe the president’s legacy is a legacy that is very important for the country, and that he has an opportunity, which he understands, to be able to put the country on a continued path of democracy. And I believe it is clear to him that the United States of America feels very strongly, as do other people, that the constitutional process needs to be respected and adhered to. That’s how you strengthen a country.

I have no doubt that President Kabila’s legacy will be defined by the progress he has made in the – particularly the last year in addressing the security issues of the east, the economic issues of the country. And he’s a young man with an enormous amount of time to be able to continue to contribute to his country. And I’m quite confident that he will weigh all of those issues as he makes a decision about the future.

But clearly, the United States of America believes that a country is strengthened, that people have respect for their nation and their government, when a constitutional process is properly implemented and upheld by that government. And we obviously believe – we’re a country with term limits. We live by them. We had several hundred years of transformation under that process, and we encourage other countries to adhere to their constitution.

   We note that the "third term" issue exists as well in Burundi, on which Inner City Press has been reported, most recently here. We'll have more on that.

   Back in March after the UN's Democratic Republic of the Congo mission MONUSCO was extended one year, with a reference to the 1994 "genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed," it was UN Security Council pen-holder Gerard Araud of France who came first to speak to the media.

   While Araud has resisted Press questions following articles comparing the treatment of a French diplomat to a more recent Indian case, on March 28 he answered two Press questions, in his way. So we note it.

  As soon as Araud finished his prepared remarks, apparently written by his spokesperson Frederic Jung, Inner City Press asked of something Rwanda Permanent Representative Gasana said, calling on the Security Council to ensure accountability in implementation of the mandate -- to neutralize the Hutu FDLR.

  Inner City Press asked Araud how the Council - on which France is a Permanent member - would ensure this, and why after the M23, the Mission went after the ADF before the Hutu FDLR.

  Araud answered dismissively, but he answered, calling it a military and not a political question. Many would disagree if the sequencing of targeting the Hutu FDLR is not political, but it is an answer, and we report it.

  After that, the Reuters bureau chief was called on by Jung to ask about Ukraine and North Korea. On the former, no mention was made of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's meeting with the leader of the Svoboda Party, adjudged as both racist and anti-Semitic. Perhaps as Svodoba tried to ban the video of it beating a TV executive, these findings too can be banned.

 To the side, the former Reuters bureau chief was observed by a member of the Free UN Coalition for Access cackling happily that Araud had been dismissive of Inner City Press' first question - this same scribe began the March 27 nearly empty press conference about the ICTR by asking leadingly about its fights with Paul Kagame. But no questions on MONUSCO?

  As a second question to Araud, Inner City Press asked a simple one, about the genocide language in the new resolution (which Inner City Press put online after the vote, before the UN or French mission did, here.)

  Araud said, correctly, that it is the same language as in January's Resolution 2136.  Inner City Press reported on that process in January:

When the Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions resolution was adopted by the UN Security Council, 15-0, Rwanda's Permanent Representative Gasana emerged from the Council chamber. Inner City Press asked him about his DRC counterpart's comment that Gasana was educated in the Congo. Video here and embedded below.

  Gasana laughed and said he was born in Burundi. He mused that the Congolese might want to adopt him. Then he turned to go.

  Wire services Reuters and Agence France-Presse pursued him to the esclator, where Reuters UN bureau chief asked Gasana about Rwanda being accused of supporting the M23. Gasana replied that the DRC has other problems, for example in Katanga. He said Rwanda is a scapegoat for the DRC's wider problems.

  Reuters insisted that the Group of Experts report had been welcomed by the Security Council resolution.  "Because they need that," Gasana replied. "This is the raison d'etre of the Security Council."

  Nothing was asked there about the fight in the Council on how to described the 1994 genocide and the compromise language in the resolution. AFP's outgoing scribe was there, but asked nothing. Nor when the DRC Permanent Representative spoke minutes later at the UNTV stakeout, in French. This is how the UN works.

  An hour later at the UN's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the UN's acting deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq for an update on any accountability for the mass rapes in Minova by units of the Congolese Army the UN supports, and if UN Peacekeeping, led by Herve Ladsous, is investigating links between the Congolese Army and the FDLR militia. On this, Haq said to look at the Council's resolutions. Video here.

  In the January 30 resolution, the language compromised on is "the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed."

  Sources exclusively told Inner City Press that the United States resisted calling it a genocide against the Tutsi of Rwanda, even saying that there is a US policy against referring to it in this way.

   Inner City Press has asked the US Mission to the UN for an explanation. It was said one might be forthcoming after the vote.

  Where would such a US policy be written down? It seemed strange, particularly during a time of Holocaust events at the UN, from one about Hungary to another about Albania.

   On January 29, Inner City Press asked a US Council diplomat, who said spokespeople would be asked. Inner City Press was told to wait for the language to be final, then, for the vote.

  In the Council's January 29 debate, the representative of the DRC spoke about Rwanda and the M23 rebels. Rwanda's Deputy Permanent Representative replied with a series of questions: was it Rwanda who killed Lumumba? Was Rwanda responsible for Mobutu? Who hosted and failed to separate the genocidaires from Rwanda in 1994?

  This continued on January 30 after the vote.  Rwanda Permanent Representative Gasana said UN Peacekeeping should investigate links between the DRC Army and the FDLR.

  The DRC representative asked to be given specifics about links between his country's army the FARDC and the FDLR militia. The resolution voted on provides:

"Noting with deep concern reports indicating FARDC collaboration with the FDLR at a local level, recalling that the FDLR is a group under United Nations sanctions whose leaders and members inchide perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, and have continued to promote and commit ethnically based and other killings in Rwanda and in the DRC, and stressing the importance of permanently addressing this threat"

   As Inner City Press exclusively put online last June, some of these links were even specified in the UN Group of Experts report, for example:

"107. The Group interviewed 10 FARDC soldiers in Tongo, in North Kivu, who reported that FARDC and FDLR regularly meet and exchange operational information. These same sources stated that FARDC soldiers supplied ammunition to the FDLR. Col. Faida Fidel Kamulete, the commander of FARDC 2nd battalion of 601st Regiment based at Tongo, denied such collaboration, but declared to the Group that FARDC and FDLR do not fight each other."

  Going further back, it is impossible not to note, particularly given the lack of explanation or transparency, that US Permanent Representative Samantha Power began her 2001 article "Bystanders to Genocide" in the Atlantic with this sentence: "In the course of a hundred days in 1994 the Hutu government of Rwanda and its extremist allies very nearly succeeded in exterminating the country's Tutsi minority."

  Given that, why would the US Mission be saying it had a policy of describing the genocide as being against the Tutsi minority? Inner City Press asked again: Since I'm told that the US has said that there is a government position not to say the 1994 genocide was against the Tutsis, can you say what that policy is? Why does it exist? Does it apply to other genocides or atrocities?

 As noted, Inner City Press also has pending with the US State Department a number of requests, including a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the Administration's Atrocities Prevention Board.

  A Rwandan diplomat told Inner City Press these were Hutu killed not because of their ethnicity but because they opposed the genocide against the Tutsi. "This is a precedent," the diplomat said. Watch this site.


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