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Asked When UN Will Go After FDLR, Ladsous Says, "I Never Answer You"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 7, 2014 -- It was a simple question: when will UN Peacekeeping go after or neutralize the Hutu FDLR militia? It was asked by Inner City Press on April 7, the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda in which the FDLR were perpetrators.

But UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous replied, "To you, Mister, you know I never answer your questions, and you know very well why." Video here, and embedded below.

Why, then? Ladsous was France's Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN in 1994 during the Rwanda genocide, and he argued for French policies including the escape of the genocidaires into Eastern Congo. See sample memo, here.

It is one thing for France to so deny this history that it decided its Justice Minister would not attend the genocide commemoration in Kigali. But for a French UN official to openly refuse to answer a question about his responsibility, to neutralize the Hutu FDLR militia in Eastern Congo?

This happened at the International Peace Institute on First Avenue across from the UN Headquarters. On the panel with Ladsous as he said this were IPI's Francesco Mancini, Italy's Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi, Pakistan's Deputy Permanent Representative Khan and Ameerah Haq, Under-Secretary-General for the UN Department of Field Support. The audience, witnesses, were a range of diplomats and UN officials.

  Ladsous, ever since Inner City Press asked him about his history, has resisted questions inside the UN, see video compilation here, UK coverage in the New Statesman here.

But previously Ladsous did answer an Inner City Press question at IPI, and UN officials made much of it to Inner City Press, as if to say, Ladsous is reasonable, he is not engaged in censorship.

But he is. Another example: while UN Peacekeeping spends a lot of money promoting itself on social media, Inner City Press has asked why for example its MINURSO mission in Western Sahara, in which Morocco and France oppose a human rights monitoring mandate, has no social media presence.

The answer given at IPI -- not by Ladsous, who refuses Inner City Press questions -- is that for some missions, countries do no give permission for certain equipment or, apparently, Twitter accounts. But who could it be, banning MINURSO in Western Sahara from social media?

  Ladsous tries to spoonfeed information to friendly scribes; in his favor first the UN Correspondents Association (requested by Agence France Presse) then the current spokesperson of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have made threats to discourage coverage. There's more on this - but this is today's video, here; this is today's UN. Watch this site.


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