UN's Congo Mission Critiqued by
General, UN Fires Back, Blames the USA, ICC Follies
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
February 13 -- The UN Mission in
the Congo, even as it defers to Rwandan troops to fight the Hutu
long in the Kivus, is under fire from other quarters. Doctors without
said MONUC did not protect civilians from the Lord's Resistance Army.
called the report "totally unfounded." Now MONUC's former force
commander, General Diaz Villegas, in his end of mission report has said
in most of the country is only capable of "auto-protection," while
civilians get killed. Inner City Press asked UN spokesperson Michele
Montas on February
11 if the UN has any response to the report. He was only there two
said, then said all other questions should be directed to the
Press' inquiries with DPKO, an interchange on background and quick
DPKO chief Alain Le Roy and other senior UN official in the hall, glean
the UN is mad to General Diaz. While acknowledging that he was there
weeks and not two, the background briefer questioned why Diaz would
have fled the
country instead of staying the trying to change MONUC's strategy. But in his report as quote in El Pais, Diaz
says the Mission's Alan Doss said that he was in charge.
Interestingly, DPKO's position is that they expend
appointing a European general to lead a mission like MONUC. The
why, if it is their continent and they supply many or most of the
European is chosen. And then Diaz flees, compounding the problem.
or coward? That appears to be the question.
Roy, who graciously takes questions that the spokespeople for some
never answer, said that he was in Kabul when the UN called Doctors
Borders "totally unfounded." He asked for a more credible response,
and later a detailed letter went from Doss to MSF. But why is the UN's
reaction always one of defending the indefensible?
MONUC peacekeepers, MSF and HRW reports not shown
senior UN official, who asked not to be quoted by name, said that the
the Americans', who funded the Ugandans' attack on the LRA and provided
satellite photos, but no back-up. Why don't you ask them, he suggested.
we intend to, questions about the UN should be answered, too.
than is usually the case, some Congo questions were answered Friday afternoon
by UN Humanitarian Coordinator John Holmes. He returned Wednesday from
Congo, providing a description of "positive dynamics" in the Kivus,
including the integration of the CNDP militias into the Congolese army,
describing civilian suffering in the aftermath of the three-country
against the LRA. His long diplomatic training showed through -- he said
assault on the LRA, which has been going to badly, might work out for
Inner City Press asked about the MSF report, and he split the
between MONUC and Le Roy, stating that he found the report
but that MONUC can do more.
Spokesperson Michele Montas earlier on Friday, who said MONUC does not
access to the zones of the Kivus in which the Rwandan-Congolese
against the FDLR is taking place, Holmes said the UN has 41 positions,
hasn't heard reports of the level of killing by the FDLR -- 100
reported by Human Rights Watch. He said he hopes those reports are
false. Or would that be, "totally
also defended MONUC by stressing they will not work or "sit at the
table" with indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda, although he has now
integrated into the Congolese Army, with whom MONUC decidedly works. Earlier on Friday, Inner City Press asked the
head of the State Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC,
Wenaweser, for his view on Bosco's freedom and incorporation into an
UN works with. "We are evaluating the situation," he said, and
"can't comment." Video here,
from Minute 17:44.
Also on the Congo, Inner
City Press asked Wenaweser
about the ICC's trial against militia leader Thomas Lubanga, in which
witness virtually recanted, after Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo
the court, too hastily, some felt. Wenaweser acknowledged it was "a
start," but said "I'm sure the Chief Prosecutor knows what he's
doing." We'll see.
Update of 4 p.m. Friday -- we are
compelled to note, and mourn, the death of Congo expert Alison Des
Forges, who was killed in the crash of Flight 3407 from Newark to
Buffalo on February 12. Her reports on the DRC helped many civilians.
She will be missed.
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
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review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
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City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
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