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On Rapes by DRC Army, Belkacem Says “Time Is Enemy,” Will She Tell Ladsous?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 5 -- When French minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem took media questions at the UN on Tuesday, she brought up sexual violence in conflict, saying she'd met with UN expert Bangura on the topic.

  Inner City Press when called on asked her about Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row atop UN Peacekeeping, delaying three and a half months and counting in taking action of the 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, which his MONUSCO mission continues to support.

Ladsous refused to answer on Nov 27, Dec 7 and Dec 18 (video)

  Vallaud-Belkacem to her credit took the question seriously, saying that “time is the enemy” in rape investigations.


  So why, after Ladsous on February 6 (after complaints by the Free UN Coalition for Access) told Inner City Press on camera that the UN knows the identities of the majority of the perpetrators, is the UN now continuing to wait for a Congolese investigation that is mostly not looking at rapes, and on rapes is looking elsewhere?

  Again to her credit, after mention France's work with the ICC, Vallaud-Belkacem asked if her answer was responsive. Inner City Press suggested, in France, that she raise the issue of the Minova rapes (and “time is the enemy”) to Herve Ladsous.

  It's not Bangura who needs to hear it, and it seems no other UN official dares speak to Ladsous, or say that this emperor has no clothes. Vallaud-Belkacem might also consider that Ladsous unlike other (countries') Under Secretaries General has refused to make public financial disclosure. Watch this site.

Footnote: While waiting for Najat Vallaud-Belkacem to arrive, the focus of some in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium was on making sure that the UN Correspondents Association UNCA, increasingly known as the UN's Censorship Alliance, could get the first question. At the February 20 press conference by President Evo Morales of Bolivia, this turned into a fiasco. He did not want to call on UNCA, but UNCA insisted, repeatedly.

  This time it was not a problem: the French Mission to the UN was running the press conference, and they well know (some say use) UNCA. Still to the credit of the recently promoted spokesman (our au revoir to the last one is here), though somewhat inevitably, after a number of French journalists in a row, Inner City Press was allowed a question.

  There appeared to be some push-back when the FUNCA welcome and thanks were offered -- there shouldn't be, it is not or should not be French policy to have one-party rule in anything. Watch this site.

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