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Ladsous Now Admits Minova Rapes, But Won't Say by Whom, If Works With

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 7 -- The UN claims to have a Human Rights Due Diligence Policy under which it will not work with or support military units or personnel who engage in abuses like rape.

   But Department of Peacekeeping Operations chief Herve Ladsous four times on Friday refused to answer a simple question: which Congolese Army units were in Minova during the 70+ rapes, and what's being done to ensure the UN does not work with them?

  See video here, and below, at Minute 0:22, 0:40, 1:34 and 1:49.

  Ladsous was at the UN Television stakeout ostensibly to answer questions about the Congo. After on November 27 refusing questions about the rapes in Minova, earlier video here, Ladsous on Decmeber 7 conceded rapes there, by the Congolese security forces.

   But he would not answer the key UN question: what meaning does the supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, announced by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, have?

  Afterward a range of diplomats from Security Council members and Troops Contributing Countries told Inner City Press Ladsous' stonewalling and choosing friendly questioners is making them look bad.  One used the old saw, "A fish rots from the head."

  Yesterday the UN Secretariat confirmed to Inner City Press that Ladsous' DPKO now allows Sri Lanka General Shavendra Silva, whose troops were depicted engaged in war crimes in the UN's own report, to "inspect" Ladsous' peacekeepers in Lebanon.

  Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press' question about Silva. Yes, a fish rots from the head.

Previously on November 30, the military adviser of a a major TCC told Inner City Press Ladsous is the worst DPKO chief "ever," much worse than his predecessor Alain Le Roy.

   Le Roy was the third Frenchman in a row to head DPKO, but at least he was vetted. Ladsous as it turned out was rejected as a candidate by previous Secretary General Kofi Annan, a senior Annan aide has described to Inner City Press.

   And this time, he was a last minute, no-check fill in for Jerome Bonnafont, who bragged in India that he had the post. Clearly, this is no way to choose senior UN officials. But this UN is so out of control, it seems, no one can stop it.

  Ladsous began refusing to answer Press questions in late May, right after and latching onto other anti-press moves in the UN. These moves are related, and due to the vacuum of leadership will be confronted in 2013.

 On December 7, while refusing four times the Press question on the rapes at Minova and his Department's role and follow up, Ladsous and his spokesman directed the UN microphone to other questioners -- two of whom retreated to the hallway with Ladsous on November 27, video here -- and took questions not about the Congo.
  Ladsous was asked about Northern Mali, on which while in Paris he said nothing could be done under September 2013. When Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky on whose behalf Ladsous was speaking, since the Security Council has not decided that, and some members think that too slow. Inner City Press asked if there was a transcript. But none has been provided.

  Ladsous also took a question about Syria -- anything but the Congo and his failure and cover up there, it seemed -- and repeated the answer in French and English, without including what he said in Paris about Salafists. And he was not asked. This is how this UN works, or doesn't.

  At Friday's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey questions about the supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy (that he counldn't answer without DPKO, which has not been answering these questions), and if Ladsous would evenhandedly take questions, including on Minova.

"Mr Ladsous manages his own stakeout," Del Buey replied. But isn't there some absolute minimum that is expected of a UN official, given how much they get paid, taxfree?

The briefing itself saw TCCs disagree with some others on the mandate of MONUSCO. Ladsous is in no position to show leadership, and isn't, sources say. And so civilians suffer, under this UN. Watch this site.

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