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In DRC, S. Africa Prepares to Redeploy, No Ladsous Answers on War Criminals

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 10 -- After M23 took Goma while the UN Mission MONUSCO did almost nothing, criticism of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations began to grow.

   Over the weekend, Ugandan President Museveni said MONUSCO is no more than "military tourism." At Monday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked if there was any UN or DPKO response, but there was none.

   Later on Monday, Inner City Press asked South Africa's Permanent Representative Baso Sangqu if it is true the South African forces currently serving in MONUSCO -- or MONUSELESS as many Congolese now call it -- will transition out to the neutral international force called for in the Kampala communique.

  Yes, Sangqu told Inner City Press. He called MONUSCO "a force not being seen to be doing enough. We're to a point where the TCCs [Troop Contributing Countries] don't want to implement, they must move. Africa is ready."

  Sangqu told Inner City Press this was discussed at the day's Secretary General luncheon, "we must do more." Inner City Press asked when to expect the South African switch.

   "Once concept of operations is endorse for the neutral international force," Sangqu replied.

   The discussion took place just after the opening ceremony for a photo exhibit celebrating the UN's -- and South Africa's -- work in Timor Leste.

  Ladsous was scheduled to appear, but given his refusal to answer even the most basic questions, like "what is the UN's role in Abyei," while on UN TV at the Security Council stakeout, time seems better spent following the Mali bilateral meetings in the Security Council.

   But on the link between Timor Leste and the UN in the Congo, we note a photograph recently tweeted at Inner City Press, of alleged war criminal Tono Suratman in the Congo with MONUSCO in 2010. Click here to view.  What standards does DPKO have? Even less, it seems, under Ladsous.

   DPKO chief Herve Ladsous responded soon after the Goma failure by claiming MONUSCO had done well, then refusing to answer Press questions about rapes in Minova by Congolese Army units the UN may or may not work with.

  Instead, Ladsous summoned hand-picked correspondents into the hallway. Video here.

   Recently Inner City Press learned that General Shavendra Silva of the Sri Lankan Army, whose troops are depicted in the UN's report on Sri Lanka as engaged in war crimes, went to Lebanon to "inspect" the troops of Ladsous' UNIFIL mission there. Ladsous has refused questions about having Silva as an adviser on Peacekeeping Operations.

   Inner City Press is told a tale of Ladsous' predecessor Alain Le Roy taking a personal interest in whether UNMIS (or UNAMID) dealt with ICC indictee Ahmed Harun in Southern Kordofan -- and answering questions about it.

   Ladsous by contrast refuses human rights questions. Well, he defended the Hutu governmental genocidaires in Rwanda in 1994, click here to see Inner City Press first profile. And watch this site.

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