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As Congress Lists Hege as Former DRC Expert, UN Confirms to ICP He's Gone

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 10 -- Given the importance given to the quickly leaked reports of Steve Hege-led Group of Experts on sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo, it surprised many to suddenly see, on the witness list for tomorrow's House of Representatives hearing on Eastern Congo

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

And so Inner City Press asked the UN spokesperson's office, "given the previous Q&A at noon briefings about Mr. Hege, his writings about the FDLR and Rwanda's complaints, can you please state whether Mr. Hege is stil on the Group of Experts, if so when his term expires, and if this listing as 'former' member is accurate."

The UN Spokesperson's Office answer very quickly:

Subject: Your question on Steve Hege
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Dec 10, 2012 at 3:24 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Mr. Hege served as the Coordinator of the Group of Experts on the DRC, extended pursuant to SC resolution 2021 (2011). This Group's mandate expired on 30 November 2012.

  Some now surmise this explains the nearly real-time leaking of Hege's last reports: why not? The controversial coordinator of the Somalia - Eritrea sanctions group, Matt Bryen, did the same at the end.

  Skeptics in the UN say they do this as a form of try-out for a job in the human rights field or academia.

  And that may be where Hege is better suited. As a fan of academic freedom, Inner City Press supports the right of a professor or pundit to write an article dismissive of the threat posed by the FDLR militia.

   (This article, with Hege as only "contact," was removed from the Internet as soon as Inner City Press linked to it, which has yet to be explained. Maybe now?)

But once you do that, you should not expect to be or remain on a UN Group of Experts on sanctions, just as a judge who wrote an op-ed criticizing corporation impunity would be recused from many cases. In any case, Hege is now "former."

So who will write up, and explain, the UN official telling the Guardian M23 was looting the Central Bank in Goma when the UN itself now tells Inner City Press it never happened? Click here for that, and watch this site.

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