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On DRC, ICP Asks Kobler of FDLR Delay, Inaction on Minova Rapes, Drone

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 27, more here -- With the Democratic Republic of the Congo the topic in the UN Security Council on October 27, Inner City Press put questions to UN envoy Martin Kobler and Great Lakes envoy Said Djinnit after the meeting, video here.

  On the FDLR, Inner City Press asked Kobler of Rwandan Ambassador Gasana's statement that Rwanda told the UN of locations where the FDLR was not mixed in with civilians, but not action was taken.

  Kobler said that the region had put the deadline for disarmament at January 2 -- two days after Rwanda's two year Security Council membership ends -- and Djinnit added that "pressure should start" on January 2. Start?

  Inner City Press' question about the more than 100 disarmed fighters who died of starvation in a DRC Army camp was not answered.

  After Kobler referred to the UN's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, Inner City Press asked him if any UN support was withdrawn over the DRC Army's 130 rapes in Minova and only two convictions. Kobler's answer did not mention any aid suspended.

  Finally, as Kobler said "au revoir," Inner City Press asked why another MONUSCO drone had crashed. Kobler to his credit returned to the microphone and cited weather, while saying the investigation is not complete. We'll have more on this.

  Earlier in the Council, Kobler recounted an attack on the UN base in Beni and praised "decisive action" by peacekeepers to turn it back.

 But wire services reported that UN "peacekeepers fired live rounds to disperse hundreds of people protesting outside a UN base in the eastern Congolese town of Beni." Inner City Press on October 22 asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq to confirm or deny this live fire.

  Haq, who had read-out a vague account of events in Beni, video here, said that's not the information the UN has. So has the UN sought any correction from Reuters, and from Voice of America which despite its budget just re-ran the Reuters story?

  Later in the UN Security Council meeting, Rwanda's Ambassador Gasana noted that while the UN is spending $2 billion a year on its mission in the DRC, the FDLR militia is still there. Not present at the meeting was UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous: 1994 memo here, 2014 Vine here.

  The DRC's speech, eight pages in length, defended the government's expulsion of UN human rights official Scott Campbell, mentioning him eight times - but did not update or mention even once the DRC Army's 130 rapes in Minova, for which only two soldiers were convicted. We'll have more on this.

  And overall, should the UN be using live fire on protesters? Should the UN be working with the Congolese security forces who unquestionably use such live fire, even according to the UN?

After the DR Congo government of Joseph Kabila threw UN human rights official Scott Campbell out of the country, on October 21 Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the Security Council to consider taking action on it.

  But why does his Department of Peacekeeping Operations under Herve Ladsous continue working with the Congolese security forces, as it continued even with the Army units involved in 130 rapes in Minova in November 2012?

 On October 21, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stphane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: Let me ask on the Scott Campbell expulsion, it seems like the Secretary-General is asking the Security Council to take action but the Secretariat itself has the power.  Can you say that… what would you say to those who say MONUSCO continues to actively work with the DRC army and police and to provide material support to FARDC [Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo] actions.  This is something that DPKO itself could suspend.  Are they asking the Security Council to tell them to enforce some policy, or what?

Spokesman Dujarric: The Security Council will have to decide what it needs to do.  MONUSCO obviously has a mandate that it's implementing.  It's continuing to work to implement its wide mandate.  I think the Secretary-General's call to the Government of the DRC could not be clearer.

Inner City Press: But does MONUSCO work in support or in conjunction with the units named in Mr. Campbell's report in terms of the Congolese police?  Does the human rights due diligence policy of DPKO apply to this instance?

Spokesman Dujarric: I will… my understanding is they do not, but we'll see what more details we can dig up.

  Twenty four hours later, no "details" had been dug up, or at least none were provided to Inner City Press. So Inner City Press asked Haq, yes or no, does MONUSCO work with those Congolese security units. Video here.

 Haq said they are police, not the army. So? Does the UN not know who it is working with? Or does it only not want to say?

Back on Friday October 17 Inner City Press asked Dujarric:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said it’s throwing Scott Campbell, the human rights UN person in the country, out of the country.  And Lambert Mende has been quoted saying this has taken place.  What’s the reaction to that?

  Dujarric had a prepared statement, beginning "On the issue of Scott Campbell, we’ve seen the reports.  None of these reports have been confirmed to us." (Full exchange on video here.)

   But Campbell has already LEFT the DRC by then: a UN statement issued on October 19 says "Mr. Campbell left the DRC on Friday for long planned holidays."

  UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous still supports the DRC Army units which committed over 130 rapes in Minova in November 2012 after losing a battle to the M23 rebels, despite only two soldiers being convicted of rape. What message did Ladsous send by non enforcing the UN's claimed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy?

  And after using its Force Intervention Brigade to "neutralize" the M23 - dozens of the disarmed fighters were put in a DRC Army camp and starved to death -- Ladsous' MONUSCO has yet to even try to neutralized the genocide-linked FDLR. What message has that sent?

   When Kabila was in Washington in August, his entourage beat up protesters and left the country without prosecution, as recounted below.

Six weeks after Inner City Press began asking the UN questions about its MONUSCO mission flying the FDLR's sanctioned leader from Eastern Congo to Kinsasha, on August 7 the Press was able to ask MONUSCO chief Martin Kobler directly. Video here and embedded below.

   But the night before Kobler's appearance, along with Mary Robinson and Russ Feingold, at the UN Security Council's Democratic Republic of the Congo debate, DRC President Joseph Kabila's bodyguards were beating up protesters 200 miles south in Washington. US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf on August 8 said:

"We are troubled by the attacks against several protesters by members of the official delegation from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It was Wednesday evening.  Take the right to freedom of expression very seriously, and violence against peaceful protesters is totally unacceptable.  We communicated our concern to the delegation in the strongest possible terms.  We requested waivers of immunity to permit those involved to face prosecution, and if such waivers were not issued, we required that the immediate departure from the country of the individuals involved.  They did not waive immunity and the individuals involved left the country on Thursday."

 So amid the speeches in the Security Council on Thursday, August 7, officials from the DRC were leaving the US after attacking protesters and refusing to waive immunity.

   On August 7 in New York, Kobler said it had been transparent, than when the UN Security Council's sanctions committee denied the waiver requested by Herve Ladsous, the FDLR leader was returned "to the bush."

  Inner City Press asked, isn't he subject to an arrest warrant in Rwanda? Kobler said he was unaware of that.

  On the mere two convictions for the 130 rapes by the Congolese Army in Minova in November 2012, Kobler said the legal process was OK -- video here -- but that the investigation was not sufficient.

  The third Press questions, which Kobler did not answer, concerned the rehabilitation of General Amisi after a failure to investigate the charges against him. We will have more on this.

  On back June 27 amid reports that the UN flew a sanctioned militia leader of the FDLR militia on a UN aircraft in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujurric about it at the UN noon briefing on June 27:

Inner City Press: why did MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] fly him to Goma to Kisangani and then to Kinshasa when, in fact, I think there’s an arrest warrant for him?

Spokesman Dujarric: I’m not aware of any other services provided to him by MONUSCO.

 But it turns out that UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous flew the sanctioned FDLR leader from Eastern Congo to Kinshasa. Rwanda complained about this, in writing, on June 26.

  On July 16, Inner City Press asked Rwanda's Deputy Permanent Representative what has been Ladsous' Department of Peacekeeping Operations' response.

  There has BEEN no response - in more than three weeks. Video here, and embedded below.

  Little more than an hour later, Ladsous floated into the Security Council to talk about Central African Republic -- without having answered a written complaint from a Security Council member in more than three weeks. We call this: unaccountable.

Dujarric on June 27, and in the subsequent times Inner City Press asked, insisted that not only Mary Robinson (who today left her post as the UN's Great Lakes envoy) but also US envoy Russ Feingold requested the waiver, and that the FDLR leader Gaston Iyamuremye a/k/a Rumuli had not traveled to Rome, arguing that only that was important.

  Inner City Press disagrees -- why would UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous given his history on Rwanda, representing France in the Security Council in 1994 arguing for the escape of the genocidaires into Eastern Congo, fly a sanctioned FDLR figure linked to the genocide around? 

  On July 15,  Haq said Rumuli  was escorted from Kinshasa back to the east. Video here.

  Inner City Press asked about MONUSCO escorting Rumuli.

  Haq said what he had read did not say MONUSCO did the escorting. So who did? And if not the UN, how does the UN know where Rumuli went? Watch this site.


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