Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

As DRC Fires On Demonstrators, UN Speaks of "Violent Protests," Won't Define Timely

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 19, more here -- When Congolese in Kinshasa and Goma protested moves to delay the election past 2016, security forces fired tear gas and bullets at them. Inner City Press asked the UN's Office of the Spokesperson on January 19, as it had on January 16, what the UN thinks of it.

 On January 19, UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said that the MONUSCO mission is concerned at "violent protests" -- wasn't it the authorities, firing at the protester? -- and wants "timely" elections.

 Inner City Press asked if "timely" means 2016.

 Haq said timely can only mean "in the appropriate amount of time." Video here.

 Meanwhile, weeks past the deadline for the FDLR militia to disarm or be "neutralized" by the UN's Force Intervention Brigade under the command of Herve Ladsous, on January 16 UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that Democratic Republic of the Congo President Joseph Kabila has NOT signed off on the requisite joint statement to begin.

  Inner City Press immediately asked Dujarric about DRC government spokesman Lambert Mende saying that the presidential election could be pushed back, "could take place in 2016 as it could take place in 2017." Mende said DRC "has a Senate that has overrun the term it was accorded by three years, and the sky hasn't fallen on our heads."

  Dujarric has no comment on this implication that Kabila could stay on in power without holding an election in 2016. Inner City Press asked if there is any linkage between Kabila's non-signing and the UN non-speaking on a holdover in power (some see echoes of Burkina Faso).

  Dujarric replied, “I will let other make whatever analysis and linkage they want to make.” Okay - done. We'll stay on this.

  So now what? As Inner City Press exclusively reported on January 9, MONUSCO's Martin Kobler has been proffered for the UN's top humanitarian job; Ladsous still refuses to answer Press questions; some Force Intervention Brigades, consonant with Ladsous, resist acting on the FDLR.

  On January 9, Inner City Pres staked-out the meeting of the DR Congo Sanctions committee, speaking afterward to the chair and a half dozen members. That the FDLR put forward non-combatants with non-functional weapons for disarmament seems to be recognized. So now what?

  Meanwhile the new DR Congo sanctions Group of Experts report, obtained by Inner City Press, has paragraphs on the lack of substance in FDLR disarmament to date, continued recruitment and collaboration with the Congolese Army.

 Inner City Press previously exclusively published the full text of Group of Experts report and may do so in this instance. For now, given the deadline, consider these paragraphs, quoted in full:

"51. According to DDRRR data available to the Group at the Walungu camp,
many of the combatants were over 40 years old, among whom were a blind man and a man with only one arm. In August 2014, two former FDLR combatants from South Kivu told the Group they thought FDLR commanders had sent older and non-essential combatants for disarmament in order to prolong the disarmament process; a MONUSCO staff also expressed this view to the Group. In addition, during the Group’s visit to Walungu, FDLR combatants told the Group they were part of the 'Leopard Battalion;' however, battalion structures no longer exist within FDLR."

  This is relevant to consider when much is being made of FDLR disarmament to date. So is this, about new recruitment:

"72. According to former FDLR child soldiers and combatants, FDLR has also continued to recruit combatants during 2014, including children (paras. 123-124). A former FDLR combatant based in Lemera, South Kivu, told the Group that in February, FDLR forcibly recruited about 25 people, including children, in the villages of Kitopo and Miki, where there are many Rwandan refugees."

 And this, on collaboration:

71. In its mid-term report, the Group recounted continuing collaboration at the local level between FARDC and FDLR (S/2014/428 para 54-55). Three former FDLR combatants, including a former FDLR radio operator based at the FDLR  headquarters who was receiving messages from FDLR units, told the Group that FDLR often obtained ammunition from FARDC elements.

72. According to former FDLR child soldiers and combatants, FDLR has also continued to recruit combatants during 2014, including children (paras. 123-124).  A former FDLR combatant based in Lemera, South Kivu, told the Group that in  February, FDLR forcibly recruited about 25 people, including children, in the villages of Kitopo and Miki, where there are many Rwandan refugees.

  After a closed door meeting of the UN Security Council on January 5, a Secretariat representative -- not Ladsous who refuses all Press questions, video here, but another -- said operations have begun.

  But those inside the meeting pointed out it is called "shaping" the operations, targeting another group altogether. Deadline? What deadline?

  On January 2, Inner City Press asked the UN for SG Ban Ki-moon's or his USG for Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous' comment or action.

  A press release in French from the envoys was the response, now sent to some by the UN in English, here:

"International Envoys for the Great Lakes Region call for decisive actions against the FDLR

"Nairobi, 02 January 2015 – Today, 2 January 2015, marks the expiration of the six month grace period granted by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the full and unconditional surrender and demobilization of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

The Team of International Envoys, comprised of UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Said Djinnit, UN Special Representative and Head of MONUSCO Martin Kobler, AU Special Representative for the Great Lakes Boubacar Diarra, EU Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes Koen Vervaeke, US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes and the DRC Russell D. Feingold and Belgium Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Frank de Coninck, note with concern that the FDLR has not met this deadline. Instead, the FDLR has used this six-month grace period to continue to commit human rights abuses against innocent people in Eastern DRC, recruit combatants, and champion its illegitimate political agenda. Ending the threat of the FDLR is not just a DRC responsibility; it is a regional and international responsibility. We all have a deep commitment to ensuring accountability for those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

By failing to fully comply with the decisions of the ICGLR, SADC, and the United Nations Security Council, the FDLR has left the region and the international community with no other option than to pursue the military option against those within the armed group that are unwilling to voluntarily disarm. The Envoys recalled the Communique issued by the 1 December meeting of the Guarantors of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSCF) for the DRC and the region in which they "stressed the binding and non-negotiable character of the 2 January 2015 deadline". Indeed, there is no justification for further delaying the neutralization of a group that is responsible for a long history of heinous crimes.

The Envoys hereby call upon the DRC Government and MONUSCO, including its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), to take all necessary measures to disarm the FDLR, in line with Security Council resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2147 (2014). The Envoys commend the troop contributing countries (TCCs) of MONUSCO, particularly those of the FIB, for their commitment to peace and security and for their many sacrifices in their efforts to protect civilians and neutralize other armed groups in eastern DRC. The Envoys note that the international community’s expectations for the FIB are enshrined in MONUSCO’s mandate. MONUSCO and its FIB must now engage in counter-FDLR operations, as directed by its leadership and in support of the DRC government, in fulfillment of their mandate to neutralize all armed groups.

The Envoys emphasize again to FDLR combatants and their dependants that, at any point, they can choose a peaceful path by entering into the existing DDR/RR program, which continues to successfully repatriate former FDLR to Rwanda.  Over the years, several thousand ex-FDLR combatants have safely and successfully returned to Rwanda. The Envoys remain fully supportive of the DDR/RR process for FDLR ex-combatants, while encouraging the countries in the region to work together to ensure that those FDLR leaders responsible for serious human rights abuses are held accountable.

"The Envoys also encourage the signatory countries of  the PSCF  to fulfill all their commitments, including respecting each other’s sovereignty as well as the commitment to “neither harbor nor provide protection of any kind to persons accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, acts of genocide, or crimes of aggression, or persons falling under the United Nations sanctions regime”. The Envoys further stress the importance for a comprehensive approach in addressing the root causes of conflict and instability, and encourage efforts of the regional leaders aimed at promoting confidence, understanding and cooperation between the countries of the region."

 The UN has still not answered Inner City Press' question about the DR Congo government's crackdown on the Panzi Hospital.

   Back on December 7, after more attacks in Beni in Eastern Congo, UN envoy Martin Kobler called for joint UN and Congolese Army actions against the perpetrators.

  Not addressed are allegations that the Congolese Army FARDC has colluded with these and some other rebels, including the FDLR. 

 Questions have only grown as to why the UN's Force Intervention Brigade was deployed only against the M23, and not the ADF or FDLR. 

 Put atop UN Peacekeeping is Herve Ladsous, who argued for the escape of FDLR genocidaires into East Congo as France's Deputy Permanent Representative in 1994. Ladsous has refused to answer Press questions about this - videos here - and now about covering up rapes in Darfur, here.

   Earlier in the week amid continued slaughter in Eastern Congo, with the government having thrown UN rights expert Scott Campbell out of the country, on December 2 there was an "urgent" press release by the Team of Special Envoys.

  The Envoys on December 2 called for action to be taken against the ADF and, once again, the FDLR. Now on December 7, Kobler's call, Google translated:

Kinshasa, December 7, 2014 - "I am deeply shocked by the brutal massacres last night in the localities of Ahili and Manzanzanba. I condemn in the strongest terms these despicable acts that aim to maintain a climate of terror in the region, "railed the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC.

"The proliferation of joint actions MONUSCO-FARDC is vital urgency and I call on all partners to strengthen cooperation to enable more immediate interventions and increase preventive patrols," insisted Martin Kobler.

Note to editors:

1. A team of MONUSCO and the FARDC and PNC are on hand to check the facts and secure the area.

2. The killings took place in the two localities Ahili and Manzanzanba west of Maimoya in the great north of the North Kivu province.

3. On December 3, the Head of MONUSCO, the Ambassador of Great Britain in DRC, Tim Morris, and representatives of the US embassies and France had visited Blessed to express the same voices concern after the terrorist attacks in recent weeks in the territory of Beni.

4. On 5 December, Mr. Kobler had returned to Erengeti call for stronger joint action MONUSCO-FARDC. He also asked the people to maintain direct contact with the forces of MONUSCO to facilitate immediate interventions.

  As to the Congolese Army FARDC, it's worth noting that US Ambassador Samantha Power tweeted last week, "Nov 20 ADF massacre of 80+ in DRC just latest appalling atrocity. If true, reported FARDC collusion deplorable. Need investigation & justice."

  The Envoys' statement make no mention of this possible FARDC collusion.

  The Special Envoy's making today's call are UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region Said Djinnit, the US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Russ Feingold, the African Union Special Representative for the Great Lakes region Boubacar Diarra, the European Union Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes region Koen Vervaeke, the Belgium Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Franck de Coninck and UN SRSG Martin Kobler.

  Back on October 27 with the Democratic Republic of the Congo the topic in the UN Security Council, Inner City Press put questions to UN envoy Martin Kobler and Great Lakes envoy Said Djinnit after the meeting, video here.

  On the FDLR, Inner City Press asked Kobler of Rwandan Ambassador Gasana's statement that Rwanda told the UN of locations where the FDLR was not mixed in with civilians, but not action was taken.

  Kobler said that the region had put the deadline for disarmament at January 2 -- two days after Rwanda's two year Security Council membership ends -- and Djinnit added that "pressure should start" on January 2. Start?

  Inner City Press' question about the more than 100 disarmed fighters who died of starvation in a DRC Army camp was not answered.

  After Kobler referred to the UN's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, Inner City Press asked him if any UN support was withdrawn over the DRC Army's 130 rapes in Minova and only two convictions. Kobler's answer did not mention any aid suspended.

  Finally, as Kobler said "au revoir," Inner City Press asked why another MONUSCO drone had crashed. Kobler to his credit returned to the microphone and cited weather, while saying the investigation is not complete. We'll have more on this.

  Earlier in the Council, Kobler recounted an attack on the UN base in Beni and praised "decisive action" by peacekeepers to turn it back.

 But wire services reported that UN "peacekeepers fired live rounds to disperse hundreds of people protesting outside a UN base in the eastern Congolese town of Beni." Inner City Press on October 22 asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq to confirm or deny this live fire.

  Haq, who had read-out a vague account of events in Beni, video here, said that's not the information the UN has. So has the UN sought any correction from Reuters, and from Voice of America which despite its budget just re-ran the Reuters story?

  Later in the UN Security Council meeting, Rwanda's Ambassador Gasana noted that while the UN is spending $2 billion a year on its mission in the DRC, the FDLR militia is still there. Not present at the meeting was UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous: 1994 memo here, 2014 Vine here.

  The DRC's speech, eight pages in length, defended the government's expulsion of UN human rights official Scott Campbell, mentioning him eight times - but did not update or mention even once the DRC Army's 130 rapes in Minova, for which only two soldiers were convicted. We'll have more on this.

  And overall, should the UN be using live fire on protesters? Should the UN be working with the Congolese security forces who unquestionably use such live fire, even according to the UN?

After the DR Congo government of Joseph Kabila threw UN human rights official Scott Campbell out of the country, on October 21 Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the Security Council to consider taking action on it.

  But why does his Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous continue working with the Congolese security forces, as it continued even with the Army units involved in 130 rapes in Minova in November 2012?

 On October 21, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stphane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: Let me ask on the Scott Campbell expulsion, it seems like the Secretary-General is asking the Security Council to take action but the Secretariat itself has the power.  Can you say that… what would you say to those who say MONUSCO continues to actively work with the DRC army and police and to provide material support to FARDC [Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo] actions.  This is something that DPKO itself could suspend.  Are they asking the Security Council to tell them to enforce some policy, or what?

Spokesman Dujarric: The Security Council will have to decide what it needs to do.  MONUSCO obviously has a mandate that it's implementing.  It's continuing to work to implement its wide mandate.  I think the Secretary-General's call to the Government of the DRC could not be clearer.

Inner City Press: But does MONUSCO work in support or in conjunction with the units named in Mr. Campbell's report in terms of the Congolese police?  Does the human rights due diligence policy of DPKO apply to this instance?

Spokesman Dujarric: I will… my understanding is they do not, but we'll see what more details we can dig up.

  Twenty four hours later, no "details" had been dug up, or at least none were provided to Inner City Press. So Inner City Press asked Haq, yes or no, does MONUSCO work with those Congolese security units. Video here.

 Haq said they are police, not the army. So? Does the UN not know who it is working with? Or does it only not want to say?

Back on Friday October 17 Inner City Press asked Dujarric:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said it’s throwing Scott Campbell, the human rights UN person in the country, out of the country.  And Lambert Mende has been quoted saying this has taken place.  What’s the reaction to that?

  Dujarric had a prepared statement, beginning "On the issue of Scott Campbell, we’ve seen the reports.  None of these reports have been confirmed to us." (Full exchange on video here.)

   But Campbell has already LEFT the DRC by then: a UN statement issued on October 19 says "Mr. Campbell left the DRC on Friday for long planned holidays."

  UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous still supports the DRC Army units which committed over 130 rapes in Minova in November 2012 after losing a battle to the M23 rebels, despite only two soldiers being convicted of rape. What message did Ladsous send by non enforcing the UN's claimed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy?

  And after using its Force Intervention Brigade to "neutralize" the M23 - dozens of the disarmed fighters were put in a DRC Army camp and starved to death -- Ladsous' MONUSCO has yet to even try to neutralized the genocide-linked FDLR. What message has that sent?

   When Kabila was in Washington in August, his entourage beat up protesters and left the country without prosecution, as recounted below.

Six weeks after Inner City Press began asking the UN questions about its MONUSCO mission flying the FDLR's sanctioned leader from Eastern Congo to Kinsasha, on August 7 the Press was able to ask MONUSCO chief Martin Kobler directly. Video here and embedded below.

   But the night before Kobler's appearance, along with Mary Robinson and Russ Feingold, at the UN Security Council's Democratic Republic of the Congo debate, DRC President Joseph Kabila's bodyguards were beating up protesters 200 miles south in Washington. US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf on August 8 said:

"We are troubled by the attacks against several protesters by members of the official delegation from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It was Wednesday evening.  Take the right to freedom of expression very seriously, and violence against peaceful protesters is totally unacceptable.  We communicated our concern to the delegation in the strongest possible terms.  We requested waivers of immunity to permit those involved to face prosecution, and if such waivers were not issued, we required that the immediate departure from the country of the individuals involved.  They did not waive immunity and the individuals involved left the country on Thursday."

 So amid the speeches in the Security Council on Thursday, August 7, officials from the DRC were leaving the US after attacking protesters and refusing to waive immunity.

   On August 7 in New York, Kobler said it had been transparent, than when the UN Security Council's sanctions committee denied the waiver requested by Herve Ladsous, the FDLR leader was returned "to the bush."

  Inner City Press asked, isn't he subject to an arrest warrant in Rwanda? Kobler said he was unaware of that.

  On the mere two convictions for the 130 rapes by the Congolese Army in Minova in November 2012, Kobler said the legal process was OK -- video here -- but that the investigation was not sufficient.

  The third Press questions, which Kobler did not answer, concerned the rehabilitation of General Amisi after a failure to investigate the charges against him. We will have more on this.

  On back June 27 amid reports that the UN flew a sanctioned militia leader of the FDLR militia on a UN aircraft in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujurric about it at the UN noon briefing on June 27:

Inner City Press: why did MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] fly him to Goma to Kisangani and then to Kinshasa when, in fact, I think there’s an arrest warrant for him?

Spokesman Dujarric: I’m not aware of any other services provided to him by MONUSCO.

 But it turns out that UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous flew the sanctioned FDLR leader from Eastern Congo to Kinshasa. Rwanda complained about this, in writing, on June 26.

  On July 16, Inner City Press asked Rwanda's Deputy Permanent Representative what has been Ladsous' Department of Peacekeeping Operations' response.

  There has BEEN no response - in more than three weeks. Video here, and embedded below.

  Little more than an hour later, Ladsous floated into the Security Council to talk about Central African Republic -- without having answered a written complaint from a Security Council member in more than three weeks. We call this: unaccountable.

Dujarric on June 27, and in the subsequent times Inner City Press asked, insisted that not only Mary Robinson (who today left her post as the UN's Great Lakes envoy) but also US envoy Russ Feingold requested the waiver, and that the FDLR leader Gaston Iyamuremye a/k/a Rumuli had not traveled to Rome, arguing that only that was important.

  Inner City Press disagrees -- why would UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous given his history on Rwanda, representing France in the Security Council in 1994 arguing for the escape of the genocidaires into Eastern Congo, fly a sanctioned FDLR figure linked to the genocide around? 

  On July 15,  Haq said Rumuli  was escorted from Kinshasa back to the east. Video here.

  Inner City Press asked about MONUSCO escorting Rumuli.

  Haq said what he had read did not say MONUSCO did the escorting. So who did? And if not the UN, how does the UN know where Rumuli went? Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2014 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]