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Amid Calls for Accountability for Sending Pilots to Death in S. Sudan, UN Stonewalls

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 26 -- More than six months ago in South Sudan, the UN Mission sent four Russian helicopter pilots out, who were shot down and killed by the SPLA.

On July 25, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told reporters Russia demands punishment for the military who opened fire on the helicopter, as well as for the UN staffers "who had made the decision to send the helicopter to a dangerous zone." He said there are difficulties with the latter, as most of those who were responsible for dispatching the copter ďdonít work with the mission any longer." Ah, mobility.

On July 25, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson's Office slipped in a mere three minute noon briefing just as Rwanda's foreign minister lit into UN Peacekeeping for other failings, in a speech in the Security Council. Inner City Press ran from the Council to the briefing room at 12:03 but was told "it's over."

  So on July 26 Inner City Press left a Syria related stakeout in the North Lawn and ran to ask for response to Churkin's pointed comments from the day previous, including that the UN had already shown his mission their report.

But when Inner City Press, also on behalf of the Free UN Coalition, asked the helicopter question, all Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey said was, we've seen the media reports, we'll have to ask DPKO.

Why hadn't they ALREADY asked DPKO? Why didn't DPKO, presumably seeing what was said, provide some if-asked for the Spokesperson's Office? Or is the goal, as so often with DPKO under Herve Ladsous, simply not to answer the question, while promises of an answer are always offered?

After six pm on Friday, six hours after the briefing, no answer had been provided. Ladsous' failing are not only in the Congo, in Haiti, Darfur and the Golan Heights. For South Sudan alone, it's time for #LADSOUS2013. Watch this site.


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