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Mali Police UN Works With Killed Protester in Kidal, Ladsous Says in Rare Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 13 -- The Malian police in Kidal shot protesters after UN peacekeepers and French Serval forces told the crowd to disperse. Last weekend one of those shot died.

  Inner City Press on Friday asked UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous about the incident, and also how France obtained a non-public Letter of Assist payment from the UN for airfield services in northern Mali, how much it is for and why it is not more transparent.

  Ladsous replied that "I make it a policy not to respond to you, Mister," but then provided something of an answer to the first but not second, financial, question. Video here, from Minute 15:45. Inner City Press YouTube here and embedded below.

  He said, "I will respond on Kidal, because indeed that was a very unfelicitous occurrence. Our UN Police and Serval, the French troops, ordered the crowd to disperse. It appears Malian police did shoot, and yes, three civilians were injured, one of whom died over the weekend."

  In many countries, if an unarmed civilian is shot and killed by police the officer is suspended and charges are brought or put before a grand jury or other tribunal. What is happening here?

  Ladsous said, "We are looking further into the matter. Of course we have to say if indeed it is established beyond any doubt that the Malian police did shoot, that is not a way to behave, this is absolutely unacceptable."

  But to whom must it be established beyond a doubt? In the case of the 135 rapes in Minova by the 391st and 41st Battalions of the Congolese Army, the UN has continued to provide material support to those two units for the eleventh months before any trial started.

  Ladsous did not say anything in response to Inner City Press' question about how France got the Letter of Assist, how much it is for and why it is not more public.

 The history of Ladsous and the policy he adopted in May 2012 of not answering any of Inner City Press' questions, including about the Minova rapes except once at the International Peace Institute across First Avenue from the UN, is long; since there was at least this plausible interim answer on the Kidal shootings to report, we leave it here for now.

  But even on this there are questions of policy -- to use Ladsous' word -- which should obviously be answered or responded to. Does Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy apply to this case of Malian police shooting at unarmed protesters?

  Is the UN's MINUSMA mission still working with these Malian police? These questions should be answered. Watch this site.


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