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DRC Report, Vague on Rwanda, UNacted on by Ladsous, Rape to Desecration

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 22 -- It was in June, last month, that Inner City Press exclusively put online the Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions Group of Experts report.

   Since then, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations has refused to answer whether they provide support to the DRC Army units named in the report engaged in rape, looting, support of the FDLR and recruitment of child soldiers (about which Inner City Press asked UN envoy Leila Zerrougui earlier on Monday, here.)

Now Monday afternoon, the UN Security Council will hold a closed door meeting on the report. It is understood that Rwanda will point out that while the report alleges Rwanda Defense Force support for or communications with the M23 rebels, no RDF personnel are named.

Rwanda's Mission to the UN tells Inner City Press that they have asked not only DPKO chief Herve Ladsous -- who admitted in consultations that his allegations were based on rumors -- but also the Group of Expert for enough information to investigate, but none has been provided.

  Meanwhile, DPKO has the numbers of the FARDC units, and names of commanders. Does it still support them, as it does the 41st and 391 Battalions implicated in the 135 rapes at Minova in November?

  After Ladsous decided to continue supporting the 391st Battalion, after only two arrests for 135 rapes and a dozen "suspensions," the 391st Battalion has now shown up desecrating corpses.

  At Monday's noon briefing Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky if this does not at last trigger Ban's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and the cut off of support to the 391st Battalion.

  Nesirky said, twice, that it is under investigation. But that process was allowed to take months under Ladsous on the Minova rapes, and no support was suspended. The Policy, as articulated by outgoing Legal Counsel Patricia O'Brien, is not being followed. It involves an assessment of risk, CLEARLY triggered now. Ladsous has made a joke of the policy: now what? Watch this site.


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