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In DRC, As Ladsous & Ban Stonewall on Minova Rapes, Test for Robinson

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 29 -- As new UN envoy Mary Robinson begin work in the Congo, here one early litmus test for her. Can she end the unacceptable stonewalling on the 126 rapes by two units of the Congolese Army in Minova in late November?

Starting November 27, UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous repeatedly refused to answer Press questions about the rapes.

 Click here to view November 27, December 7, December 18. And click here for Ladsous and his spokesman Kieran Dwyer on April 25, refusing to answer on Minova.

When finally the UN set a deadline for Congolese action, it allowed it to pass without action, ostensibly because the authorities suspended 12 people. Or did they arrest them? The UN wouldn't say.

Last week on April 25 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky for an update on accountability for the Minova mass rapists, since MONUSCO's 3000 word press statement had not mentioned the issue.

Nesirky said that he'd have to check, that he had nothing on that -- and has provided nothing since.

The UN won't even name the two FARDC battalions that were involved.

On April 25, Inner City Press asked Ladsous for an update on Minova. His spokesman Kieran Dwyer said no, the topic of the day was Mali. But Ladsous refused to answer, on Mali, who will disarm the MNLA, and questions on Western Sahara and Cote d'Ivoire as well.

Into this circle of impunity steps Mary Robinson and her reputation. What happens next? Watch this site.

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