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On DRC, Drones and Death Penalty, France Has Benin Answer for It, AFP for Ladsous

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 10 -- Where is the line between the judicially ordered death penalty and the quasi- or pseudo-judicial process now associated with anti-terrorist drone strikes by the US and other countries?

  Inner City Press put the question to three UN ambassadors, including Gerard Araud of France which is engaged in such an anti-terrorist or anti-Jihadist fight in Mali, as well as to two representatives of Amnesty International.

  Amnesty's report on the death penalty, under embargo until today, mentions at page 23 the “increased number of extrajudicial executions” in North Korea.

  Inner City Press cited this, and asked AI about Obama's drones strikes, and Ambassador Araud about France's strikes in Mali.

At first, Araud let the Ambassador of Benin answer for France about Mali. After his answer -- and after another question was asked by another journalist, Araud to his credit re-took the microphone to answer.

He said strikes in Mali are not through the judicial process, and follow the laws of war. But isn't that what Obama, and Bush before him, have said?

How can one be against execution through a judicial process, but for death from the sky with much less due process? That is the question.

Amnesty International stated a position of principle, not unlike that of D-G Shetty on not arming the rebels in Syria: AI is always against the death penalty, and calls Obama's recent moves only a “patina.”

  On the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country with a truly abysmal justice system, if the failure to prosecute those in the two battalions involved in the mass rape of 126 women and in November in late November 2012 is any guide, Inner City Press asked if the UN peacekeeping mission there should be doing more, and if any of the Ambassador could state anything DRC has done about the rapes.

  Again it was Benin's Ambassador who answered, and interestingly. But what about Araud? France not only claims “the pen” in the Security Council on the DRC -- the head of Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, is the fourth Frenchman in a row to hold the post.

  Ladsous claimed to have given an ultimatum to the DRC government, then let the deadline pass without disclosing any action taken. He has refused to answer since. Araud make a point of answering on Mali -- appreciated -- but did not on the DRC. Watch this site.

Footnote: Relatedly, Agence France Presse's Tim Witcher asking a soft ball question in French. On the Minova rapes and other Peacekeeping spin, he had been the pass-through for Ladsous' half answers to question Ladsous refuses to answer from Inner City Press.

But now a new low has been hit, alongside the UN's non-consensual raid of Inner City Press' office and the leaking of photographs of its desk and bookshelf to BuzzFeed. Witcher filed a complaint on March 8 with UN Security beginning with a question Inner City Press asked Ladsous (about the Minova rapes) and how it was asked.

  Who does Witcher represent? AFP has been asked, in light of Witcher's March 8 false complaint for Ladsous, who has served on an AFP management board, and we are waiting for a response. Watch this site.

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