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UN's Rights Policy, Ignored by Ladsous, Is Judgment Call, Ban's Lawyer Says

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 9 -- Under the UN's so-called “Human Rights Due Diligence Policy,” it is supposed to suspend assistance to army units when there is a substantial risk of violations of human rights, international humanitarian law or refugee law.

But under that Policy, UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous did NOT suspend support to the 41st and 391st Battalions of the Congolese Army, implicated in 135 rapes in Minova in late November.

On Tuesday Inner City Press asked outgoing UN Legal Council Patricia O'Brien how this Policy will apply to the evidence against many more Congolese Army units that is included in the recent Group of Experts report, the full text of which Inner City Press exclusively put online on June 29.

  O'Brien had been bragging about the policy, how it has ostensibly applied since 2011 but only became public in January 2013.

  That's typical UN: a secret policy that even when made public, is not lived up to. On Minova, O'Brien made much of 12 suspensions - but there have been only two arrests, of soldiers, for 135 rapes.

  In Tuesday's session, which O'Brien acknowledged was “not Chatham House” Rules -- that is, it was on the record -- O'Brien recited the “provides substantial grounds for believing there to be a real risk of voilations” standard for the Group of Experts' evidence.

  But she also said it is up to the judgment of the military people. This is the huge loophole in the policy.

  Even well-meaning military people would prefer to have more rather than less troops on their side. In Ladsous' case, he stonewalled and covered up the Minova rapes from November 2012 onward, refusing to answer any questions about them. Videos here. The UN's policy hangs on these judgments?

  Ladsous had been promised to take questions at the UN Security Council stakeout on Tuesday afternoon, after O'Brien spoke in Conference Room A in the basement.

  But after standing to the side of the stakeout, and after his four spokespeople have sat for ten days on the question of the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and the evidence in the Group of Experts report, Ladsous walked away without taking any questions. Again: the UN's policy hangs on these judgments? Watch this site.


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