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Congo Hearing Has Hege's Theory, Malapropisms on CNDP, But No FARDC Rapes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 12 -- In the run up to Tuesday's hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, some were surprised to see the listing

"Mr. Steve Hege (Former Member United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo)"

  It was the word "former" that jumped out. Inner City Press asked the UN, and it was confirmed in a fashion, here. Still some thought Hege might get re-appointed, if only to another sanctions committee.

  But at the hearing Tuesday, Hege cut loose with his analysis of, rather than reporting on, the conflict. His is an interesting theory, but one more suited to an academic or pundit than a sanctions expert.

  Hege said that Rwanda and the M23 want federalism; he analogized it to Sudan and South Sudan, which ultimately broke away.

  Rep. Chris Smith mad another analogy, between Rwanda and Serbia, Paul Kagame and Milosevic. It was a one-sided hearing, including Johnnie Carson, who called the M23's precursor the "CNDR" rather than its actual name, CNDP.

  Carson said that the US supports a UN envoy to the DRC -- some noted that the American Roger Meece already HAS that title, with the MONUSCO mission (which another rising Rep called "UNESCO.")

  Rep. Smith read from the UK Guardian. It's a fine paper, but there's still no closure on the quote they ran from an unnamed UN official that M23 was looting the Central Bank in Goma, which was later denied not only by the manager but by the UN itself, in a response to Inner City Press' questions.

  Inner City Press used the stated "Ask a Question" button to, well, asked two questions, including about the lack of implementation or transparency in the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy after the Congolese Armed forces committed at least 70 rapes in Minova in late November as they retreated from the M23. The question was not asked.

  At the UN, including to UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, the question has been asked, repeatedly, without answer. For now we are sticking to that. Watch this site.

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