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UN Exposed Supporting Congo Criminals In 2010, Secret List, Using Haiti as Defense

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 9 -- The UN and its Mission in the Congo have been caught in a web on contradictory statements by and about Congolese warlord Innocent Zimurinda.

  In October, UN special rapporteur Philip Alston charged Zimurinda with responsibility for mass rape and murder. On December 16, Inner City Press asked MONUC boss Alan Doss about the UN's logistical support to Zimurinda's units.

  "We've set up a procedure," Doss said, "as needed we will suspend support." Video here, from Minute 4:09. Doss claimed that UN support through the Kimia II operation to all Congolese units, not only Zimurinda's, was being ended in 2009.

  Now Zimurinda has been quoted that support continued into 2010; his deputy Dieudonne says that the UN is still willing to support Zimurinda's units. Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky to respond to Zimurinda's interview and explain Doss' December 16 claims.

  Nesirky began by disputing that it was "just an interview" by Zimurinda. He spoke about the wider Washington Post article, saying it gave "an inaccurate impression." He claimed that the support Zimurinda's units got in 2010 has already been "in the pipeline" and couldn't be stopped. Video here, from Minute 55:02.

  Even if one accepted this, why didn't Doss disclose it in December?

UN's Doss in the Congo, Zimurinda not shown or disclosed

 Doss was and is under fire for nepotism, having been exposed by Inner City Press urging the UN Development Program to show him "leeway" and give his daughter a job. To escape pressure, Doss claimed that the problematic support to Zimurinda was ending in 2009. But that turns about to be false.

Even now, the UN and MONUC split hairs. The Washington Post reports that even for the new Amani Leo operation -- the Post puts it in the future, but it has already quietly began -- two units of Zimurinda's command are on the list to receive UN assistance. Nesirky claims not. Inner City Press asked top peacekeeper Alain Le Roy to disclose which 18 battalions the UN will support. Video here. Le Roy said he would look into if that could be done, implying he saw no reason why not.

   I'm sure Mr. Le Roy will answer your question, Nesirky to Inner City Press, adding acerbically of Le Roy that "today he's had other things on his mind." The reference was to Tuesday morning's memorial service for UN staff who died in the Haiti earthquake. Nesirky cited to this to explain Le Roy's or the wider UN's lack of response.

  Nesirky also told a journalist his questioning of the UN in Haiti was "unfair." The UN's top envoy to Haiti Edmond Mulet, when asked about the condition and soundness of the Christopher Hotel, for which the UN in Haiti paid $94,000 a month in rent, said that he didn't know about the inquiry into the building's soundness, he was other things to worry about.

Some thought playing the Haiti earthquake trump card to cut off or not answer questions was distasteful. But the misstatements on the UN working with war criminals in the Congo is even worse. Watch this site.

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UN's Doss Won't Explain His Support of War Criminals, Playing Out the Clock in Congo

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 16 -- The head of the UN Mission in the Congo Alan Doss, under fire for assisting and covering up war crime by former rebel units of the Congolese Army, tried to defuse the critique on Wednesday by renaming the so-called Kimia II operation. While the UN said its Mission will now only "hold ground" in Eastern Congo, Doss' testimony to the Security Council acknowledged MONUC will still "undertak[e] focused interventions" -- that is, targeted strikes.

  MONUC works with units of the Congolese army which the UN's own experts as well as human rights groups say are war criminals. Inner City Press asked Doss, directly, why he has continued to work with Colonel Innocent Zimulinda (a/k/a Zimurinda), accused for murder and rape by UN rapporteur Philip Alston and illegal mining by the UN Experts.

  Doss did not answer why he continues to work with Zimurinda. Inner City Press asked about a list of 15 presumptive war criminals in the Congolese Army that MONUC itself drew up and gave to the Joseph Kabila government, but whom MONUC still supports. While saying it is the government's role to discipline, Doss did not explain why he continues to work with the unit commanders on his own list of human rights violators.

  Similarly, when asked about the leaked UN Office of Legal Affairs memos, two of which Inner City Press has put online, Doss claimed that the memos offer opinions that MONUC had to put into practice. But the memos say Doss should have had a policy much earlier on, and should suspend support to whole operations with violations, which he has not done.

  Doss himself is the subject of a nepotism investigation that will be the subject of a separate article.

Alan Doss, OLA memos, Zimurinda, nepotism answers not shown

  But sources in MONUC describe his leadership as compromised, and say that the UN investigation is being drawn out until Doss leaves, perhaps in March. Human rights groups favor new leadership, circulating the names of former peacekeeping chief Jean Marie Guehenno among others.

  While the Council is now considering a resolution which would extend MONUC's mandate for only five months, Inner City Press is informed that permanent member China, which now has a large mining and infrastructure deal with Joseph Kabila, was urging a mere "technical roll over." Others blame Doss' support of human rights violators on the push by his native UK, as well as the U.S., to destroy the FDLR rebels at any cost. We will have more on this.

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UN Violates Law in Congo, Leaked UN Legal Memo Shows, Doss on Grill in NY

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 13 -- What are the consequences if the UN violates international law, as defined by the UN's own Office of Legal Affairs? The question is now squarely raise by an October 2009 memorandum to the UN Mission in the Congo (MONUC) from chief UN legal office Patricia O'Brien, obtained by Inner City Press and published online here.

  In the October 12 memo, marked "Priority Confidential" and addressed to top UN peacekeeper Alain Le Roy, MONUC's policies for providing assistance to the Congolese army (FARDC) are found to violate international law. Specifically, MONUC's policies, then and now, do not provide for suspending assistance to operations of the FARDC in which laws are violated, but rather only partial suspension to particular units.

  OLA notes that MONUC, even in the cases (so far only one) in which is suspends assistance to a particular unit, might just increase support to other units in the operation. Before publishing this memo, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky for an answer, and received a three paragraph UN Peacekeeping response which does not even address OLA's critique of the lack of a policy for initiating support to an FARDC operation.

  The UN's own Special Rapporteur on extra judicial execution Philip Alston has noted that MONUC worked with - and continues to work with - units under Colonel Zimulinda, which he charges with murder and mass rape.

  These decisions are made by the chief of MONUC Alan Doss, embroiled since the summer in a nepotism scandal in which as exposed by Inner City Press he asked the UN Development Program to show him "leeway" and give his daughter a job, in violation of applicable rules.

  Doss is scheduled to be in New York from December 14 on, to brief the Council -- but perhaps hide from the Press -- on December 16. In the interim there will be press conferences about among other things MONUC's violations of international law under Doss' tenure. Watch this site.

In Congo, UN's Doss under fire, legal violations not shown

  As noted, Inner City Press before publishing this October 2009 OLA memo asked the UN about reports its own Office of Legal Affairs advised MONUC not to work with units of the Congolese army involved in these and other crimes. The response:

Subj: your question on the DRC
From: unspokesperson-donotreply [at]
To: Inner City Press
Sent: 12/10/2009 1:33:20 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

I. The tasks carried out by MONUC are determined by the Security Council. The mission has a mandate to provide support to the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) in disarming illegal armed groups while protecting the civilian population. MONUC continues to give the highest priority to protection of civilians.

II. In furtherance of this mandate, MONUC and DPKO requested advice from the Office of Legal Affairs regarding the conditions governing their collaboration with the FARDC. In full transparency, the Secretariat and the Mission advised the Security Council of the risks involved and potential consequences of cooperating with the FARDC. The Security Council has repeatedly expressed their unanimous support for MONUC and for the joint operations with the FARDC against the FDLR, with full respect for International Humanitarian, Human Rights and Refugee Law.

III. After extensive consultations between the Secretariat the Mission and OLA, a policy was developed, setting out the conditions under which the Mission would support FARDC. This policy was transmitted to the DRC Government in November. It specifies that all MONUC participation in FARDC operations must be jointly planned and must respect international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law. The policy also includes measures designed to improve FARDC performance as well as to prevent and sanctioning violations. This 'conditionality' provision is why the Mission suspended support to a specific FARDC unit believed to have been involved in the targeted killing of civilians in the Lukweti area of North Kivu.

But this response does not address the October 2009 memo, which says that MONUC should have had a policy before begin to support FARDC operations, and should suspend assistance to entire operations, rather that particular unit. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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