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UN Says Helps FARDC in Ituri, Not Which Units & If In Minova During Rapes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 16 -- While the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations claims it will not work with or support units of the Congolese army which engage in rape or other abuse, DPKO chief Herve Ladsous has three times on camera refused to answer Press questions about Congolese Army rapes in late November in Minova.

 Click for videos of November 27, December 7 & December 18.

The UN has even refused to say which units of the Congolese army it works with.

   But when it was reported that in a particular operation in Mambasa the UN supported the Congolese Army or FARDC, Inner City Press on January 15 asked:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask some things about the DRC. There have been two different reports of the FARDC [Congolese Armed Forces] fighting first the Mai-Mai Morgan, with the support of MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo), and it is said that six people were killed, it wasn’t said by which side. And then, more recently, fighting with Raia Mutomboki in another part of the eastern Congo. Do you have some kind of readout on this, what seems to be fighting by non-M23 groups? And also, is it possible to know which units of the FARDC the UN was supporting in this fight against Mai-Mai Morgan, because I know we’ve had… there has been a row about the Minova rapes and which units were there, and which units MONUSCO works with. Is there any update on the Minova investigation, and how does MONUSCO know that the units that it is supporting since then, against Mai-Mai Morgan, were not the ones in Minova committing rapes in November?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I’ll check with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Matthew, okay?

   Twenty four hours later, just as the January 16 UN noon briefing began, Nesirky's office emailed Inner City Press this:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Your questions on MONUSCO
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]

Regarding your recent questions on the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, this is the information we have from the UN Mission, MONUSCO:

On 5 January, the Mayi Mayi Simba militia attacked and captured the city of Mambasa, Ituri, in Province Orientale. The next day, on 6 January, MONUSCO supported the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) in an operation against Mayi Mayi Simba, which led to the recapturing of the city of Mambasa. The FARDC is now in full control of Mambasa Town and MONUSCO is carrying out joint patrols with FARDC.

  The response totally ignores Inner City Press' question of WHICH UNITS of the FARDC were being supported by the UN. How can Ladsous' DPKO spend public money and refuse to disclose who it is helping?

  The UN also provided a response about the "Minova investigations" which still does not specify which FARDC unit were there -- Inner City Press is aware of, at least, Regiment 802 and Regiment 1001 -- nor even how many soldiers are accused of the rapes, as opposed to looting.

  To many, this has become Ladsous' cover up. And where is Ladsous?

  The UN's answer to Inner City Press at 12:01 pm on January 16, 2013:

The UN Human Rights Office has deployed several investigation missions to Minova and surrounding villages, including with national and international partners, and preliminary findings indicate that a number of grave human rights violations by FARDC soldiers retreating from North Kivu to South Kivu, in the context of the fall of Goma and Sake, occurred in late November 2012 - early December 2012. These include mass rape, killings, extortion and lootings.

The preliminary findings of the Human Rights Office were immediately brought to the attention of military justice authorities in South Kivu and senior MONUSCO officials in Kinshasa. The UN has stressed the need for an investigation and accountability during meetings with the Congolese Minister of Defense and the General in charge of military justice in the DRC. The full report on the investigation is still being compiled.

On 7 December 2012, the Senior Military Prosecutor of South Kivu deployed a military prosecutor to Minova. From 27 - 30 December 2012, the Senior Military Prosecutor of South Kivu, accompanied by three military investigators and partner organizations deployed a team to Minova to investigate the allegations. To date, 11 FARDC soldiers have been arrested in connection with the investigation. The suspects have been transferred to the prosecutor’s office in Bukavu pending their trial.

MONUSCO is both supporting military justice authorities and advocating for a thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice. The UN will support additional investigation missions by the Congolese military justice authorities in the coming weeks as well as provide support to address the protection needs of the victims, witnesses and population at large.

  What about the supposed UN Human Rights Due Diligence or conditionality policy? What about which FARDC units were there? The stonewalling continues. Watch this site.

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