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At UN, Ladsous Spins on Drone Procurement, Congo Rapes, Silva, Cholera

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 19 – The UN conference room was full of military uniforms Tuesday when UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous haltingly read a speech to the Committee of 34 (C-34), which is supposed to oversee his Department.

  In the course of his speech, Ladsous misspoke on drones, downplayed 126 rapes by his partners in the Congolese Army, and did not mention the participation of an alleged war criminal on his Senior Advisory Group, of any safeguards after the introduction of cholera to Haiti.

  Without taking any questions, he turned the floor to his fellow Under Secretary General Amira Haq. Where is the oversight?

  On drones, Ladsous said that the Security Council noted and approved their use in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and after that he sought Expressions of Interest from drone providers.

But as Inner City Press exposed, Ladsous' DPKO issued a procurement document on November 28, 2012 for drones in West Africa as well as Central Africa -- while the Security Council only gave its “case by case” approval two months later on January 22, 2013, and only for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.

Ladsous had wanted drones for former French colony Cote d'Ivoire, but never got approval from the C-34. But he began a procurement for them anyway.

Elsewhere in his speech Monday Ladsous said “we have to support host countries” -- this despite at least 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, which the UN supports. After refusing to answer any Inner City Press questions since May 29, 2012, in early February after the issue was raised all over, Ladsous did take a question.

He said that the UN knows the identify of the majority of the rapists. But when Inner City Press asked a follow up, the answer was that the UN will not take any action until the Congolese investigation is over - creating what can be called a rape grace period.

Ladsous mentioned the report of his Senior Advisory Group without any mention of the participation on the SAG of Sri Lankan general Shavendra Silva, who is depicted in Ban Ki-moon's own report on Sri Lanka engaged in war crimes.

Now did Ladsous mention any safeguards to avoid spreading cholera, as happened in Haiti. So where is the oversight? Watch this video - and watch this site.

Footnote: Ladsous left it to Amira Haq to say: in 2012 there were 60 allegations of sexual abuse, a high percentage of them "eggregious." At Tuesday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky for a read out -- today -- of the disposition of the cases. How many repatriations, to which countries, any prosecution or convictions? He said he would check with Ladsous' DPKO. Watch this site.

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