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At Rwanda Genocide Panel, UN Official Names France, No Press Q at IPI

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 22 -- When a panel on "Twenty Years after the Genocide: What are the Lessons Learned from Rwanda?" was scheduled across First Avenue from the UN on April 22, the dispute earlier in the month between Rwanda and France, about the latter's responsibility, seemed sure to come up.

  Inner City Press RSPV-ed to the International Peace Institute and watched the opening statements by webcast (while simultaneously live-tweeting the US State Department's daily briefing). Before the Q&A segment, before the moderator asked people to raise hands for questions, Inner City Press arrived, then indicated that it had a question. (Two, actually, including the April 3, 2014 cable from the UN in Burundi about the government arming its youth wing that Inner City Press published but on which the UN spokesperson has allowed but declined to answer questions.)

  The first round went to insiders, including the chief of UN Peacebuilding Judy Cheng-Hopkins who to her credit asked about Jeune Afrique quoting a French soldier that he was ordered to fight with the RFP outside Kigali, and to help the genocidaires themselves.

  It seemed this required an answer from the panel. But the only answer was about the United States, that it was gun-shy after Somalia and "Bush" said the US had no interest in the country. Actually, it was under Bill Clinton.

  But the IPI moderator next called on people who raised their hands long after Inner City Press, including another UN staff member. The time expired, and the moderator said Inner City Press could come up front and ask a question one on one. Well, no. The UN Host Country Com'te began meeting on the US's denial of Iran's ambassador-nominee's visa.

  Inner City Press has RSVP-ed for a number of other upcoming IPI events. Is this how they are run? Inner City Press goes in each time with questions, eager to report responses. At the last one it attended, panelist Herve Ladsous of France, the head of UN Peacekeeping, answered Inner City Press' question on when UN Peacekeeping will go after the Hutu FDLR militia by saying, "Mister, I never answer your questions." Watch this site.


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