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Ladsous' DPKO Allows Rape Grace Period to Ban's Diligence Policy

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 13 – When UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous on February 6 belatedly answered a Press question about the 126 rapes by the Congolese Army in Minova, he said that “our own UN investigations have identified 126 cases of rape and in most cases the identity of perpetrators.”

  Under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, once the UN knows the identify of the perpetrators of abuse, it should not longer work with or support them.

  So one would expect the UN to have suspended support or working with the perpetrators. But it now appears that the UN or at least Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping allows some sort of rape grace period.

  On February 7 Inner City Press asked Ban's top three spokespeople in writing:

follow up question to at least two* of USG Ladsous' answers yesterday, didn't want to ask them in the next noon briefing but here they are in writing:

MINOVA: now that the UN has identified most of those who committed the rapes in Minova in late November, what specifically has been done to implement the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy? Have any FARDC units stopped receiving support from MONUSCO? Have any of the individuals left their FARDC units? If possible, how many individuals are there, and do they include commanders?

   But Ban's spokesperson's office did not answer these written questions. And so four days later at the February 11 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: on Wednesday last week, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, he appeared to say that the UN is aware of the identity of most of those who committed the rapes in November in Minova, but I’d sent this to you, too, he seemed to indicate that they did know, but they are counting on the Congolese authorities to bring about prosecutions. But, I am really wondering if we can get some statements specifically, what steps have been taken under the human rights due diligence policy not to work with either these individuals and do the individuals, including the commanders of the units or only the line soldiers? Is there some way to know? I mean, what’s the next step or what’s been done, given that they know who did it?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I am sure my colleagues from Peacekeeping Operations are listening to you attentively and let’s see what we can come up with.

   And 24 hours later at the February 12 noon briefing Nesirky read this out:

I was asked yesterday about rapes in Minova, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The investigation led by the Congolese authorities and supported by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) is now on the ground in Minova and surrounding areas. The investigation will include a large number of interviews with victims and witnesses. In line with our human rights due diligence policy, a review of the Mission’s support to units of the Congolese Armed Forces involved in human rights violations will take place once the investigations have concluded.

   But Ladsous said the UN already knows the identity of the perpetrators. So why are is the UN waiting until the Congolese investigation is finished, while still working with and supporting the perpetrators? Is is, as appears to some, that the UN or at least Ladsous' UN Peacekeeping allows some rape grace period? Watch this site.

Footnotes: Inner City Press back on Feburary 7 asked two other follow up questions which have still not been answered on February 13; since then, questions about UNAMID, UNMISS and alleged abuse by UN Police in Haiti. We thought Ladsous' DPKO had turned the corner. But... To be continued.

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