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In Mali, Ladsous Berates Malians For Not Thanking France, CAR Qs UNanswered

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 16 -- When UN Peacekeepers are determined, by the UN itself, to have killed three civilians in Mali by using excessive force, what accountability is there?  None - and UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous on April 2 refused to answer questions about his own responsibility. Video here. Vine here. 

   After a May 16 press conference in Bamako, Ladsous said the UN's report about its killings in Gao will never be released; follow up question here. During the press conference, tellingly, Ladsous berated Malians for not sufficiently thanking... France and its Force Serval. Audio here, Minute 27:52. 

  Ladsous said, referring to criticism of him and his mission by Mali's president and others at the signing ceremony the day before, "Did I hear a single word of thanks for France and its Operation Serval? No." (Translation by Free UN Coalition for Access.)

   In this use of his UN post to serve France, for which he was a (most undiplomatic) diplomat for decades, this is similar to Ladsous' much worse intervention into the process of the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights in trying to get fired OHCHR whistleblower Anders Kompass, who exposed reports of French Sangaris Force soldiers raping children.

  This appears in the UN Dispute Tribunal ruling reinstating Kompass, at Paragraph 9. It was not contested by OHCHR.  Ladsous, breaking with his striking refusal to answer Press questions, told Inner City Press, "I deny that." Video here.

 But Ladsous has not explained or answered what he is denying: getting involved in l'affaire Kompass at all, or just the wording? Ladsous was not asked this question in Bamako. Some say, he can run but he can't hide.

 On May 10, two UN Peacekeepers were wounded in Mopti in Mali, see below.

 Now Ladsous is under fire for appearing in a UN Dispute Tribunal ruling as urging the firing of the whistleblower who exposed rapes by French soldiers in the Central African Republic. Ladsous denied it - to Inner City Press - but the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights did not dispute it. Accountability?

 On May 10 "around 1 pm, the forces of MINUSMA on patrols hit a mine or an improvised explosive device 25 kilometers from Tenenkou, in the region of Mopti,” MISUMSA said in a statement.

  “Two blue helmets were seriously injured by the explosion and their evacuation to the MINUSMA hospital in Timbuktu was underway, MINUSMA said.

   “The head of MINUSMA Mongi Hamdi strongly the attack against the peacekeepers and emphasized that MINUSMA remains more determined than ever to implement its mandate in support of Mali and its people.”

 On May 8, the UN announced what the Press already knew, that Mbaranga Gasarabwe, a Rwandan national, is moving from the Department of Safety and Security in New York to become Hamdi's deputy in Mali. We wish her well.

Tellingly, Ladsous refused an invitation to attend a "protection of civilians" high level event in Rwanda in May, click here for that scoop.

 Back on April 27 the MINUSMA mission issued a statement that the Platforme group attacked the town of Manaka, loosely translated by Inner City Press below. But how does UN Peacekeeping killing civilians, then its boss refusing to answer or even take questions about it, impact the UN's credibility?

 Here is our loose translation of the MINUSMA press release of April 27:

SRSG Mongi Hamdi called for the armed groups to immediately cease hostilities and return to their positions. “This resurgence of tension puts in jeopardy all efforts to restore durable peace in Mali,” Hamdi said. MINUSMA said that on Monday near noon the mission learned of an attack launched by the MAA-Platform and GATIA groups on the town of Menaka, held by elements of the Coordination of Movement of Azawad (CMA). MINUSMA said it deployed helicopters to evaluate the situation.

Hamdi went to Nouakchott on April 26 to meet the representatives of the CMA, who reaffirmed their adherence to the peace process under way, and confirmed their intention to initial the agreement.

Two months of intense negotiations involving all of the parties with a view to put an end to the Malian crisis could be threatened. These actions are a grave violation of the ceasefire accords reiterated in the declaration of February 19, 2105,” Hamdi said in his statement.

Hamdi also cited the UN Security Council's statement of February 6 which threatened the imposition of targeted sanctions on anyone who returned to hostilities and violated the ceasefire.

I therefore appeal for calm and reason for the benefit of all Malians. The only solution to this crisis is through the route of dialogue. I remain convinced that all the parties will show wisdom and reason and sign this historic peace agreement,” Hamdi said.

  Here's what Inner City Press asked the UN about Darfur on April 27:

Inner City Press: on Darfur, I saw the clarification put out by UNAMID [African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur], but the Government of Sudan is saying that the UNAMID peacekeepers killed seven civilians, and I wonder, what… beyond just UNAMID putting out a press release, some of which in the past have been press releases that the UN has ultimately walked away from, is there an intention to do the type of report that was done in Mali when people were killed or in Haiti when people… when people were shot at?

Deputy Spokesman Frahan haq:  On that, I actually expect that we will have a statement from the Spokesman for the Secretary-General responding to the latest events in Darfur.  So, I'll wait until… until we get that.

Inner City Press:  But, is the protocol if a Member State alleges that UN peacekeepers have killed civilians to do such a report, or is there no such protocol?

Deputy Spokesman:  Like I said… first of all, I… as you know, you're aware of the press release from UNAMID, which is their clarification of the situation, and then beyond that, we do expect to have a statement attributable to the Spokesperson.

  But when the statement came it did not even mention the government's allegations. Khartoum's credibility may be low - but what about Ladsous'? We'll have more on this.


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