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DRC Troops To Leave MINUSCA in CAR, ICP Reported, Not Soon Enough?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow up on Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 18, more here -- Since the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo committed at least 130 rapes in Minova in November 2012, the UN has been making excuses for it. UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous refused Press questions for months, video here.

   On August 15 Inner City Press exclusively reported that this same Congolese Army, the FARDC, will leave the UN Peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA, at latest in January. They currently are part of the MISCA force but will not be included in its successor, MINUSCA - at least not after three and a half months.

   Multiple peacekeeping sources told Inner City Press this is has to do with the DRC Army's "abuses." That is to say, while Ladsous refused to implement the UN's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and suspend UN support to the 391st and 41st Battalions involved in the Minova rapes, now problems in the DRC Army are excluding it from the mission in CAR.

  Ladsous' extraordinary refusal to answer Inner City Press questions, noted as far away as the UK's New Statesman, here, and evidenced on CAR as well, here, is intended to make more difficult Press reporting on UN Peacekeeping - and it does. Not impossible, however.

  While Inner City Press had known this for some time, it waited to give senior peacekeeping personnel a change to deny, or put some gloss on it. It was not denied; hence Inner City Press' exclusive August 15 report.

  On August 18, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: I heard from a number of sources that FARDC, the Congolese army, DRC army, which is currently part of MISCA [African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic], will no longer be, remain with MINUSCA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic], the UN mission beginning in September, after 1 January. I was told it has to do in some way with human rights due diligence policy. And I like you to, if you can find out from [the Department of Peacekeeping Operations]

Spokesman Dujarric: I can find out.

    Video here. Six hours later, no answer yet.

Back on August 7, 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, Inner City 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.


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