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UN Flew Sanctioned FDLR Leader in DRC, Kobler Admits, UN Withheld

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 2 -- Six days ago, Inner City Press reported Rwanda complained to the UN Security Council that UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous and his MONUSCO mission flew the  FDLR's sanctioned leader on UN aircraft even as Ladsous' travel waiver request was denied.

  This was a simple question about how public moneys were used by the UN - a yes or no question. But Martin Kobler did not answer the submitted Press question.

 And UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to answer it when asked at the noon briefings on June 27, June 30 and July 1.

  It now seems clear that Dujarric and the UN in New York, UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous, had the information but simply refused to do it.

  Because when Kobler finally spoke on or spun the incident, to RFI radio, Kobler said Yes, he flew the FDLR leader inside the DRC, arguing that that didn't violate UN sanctions rules.

  Leaving that aside -- for the moment -- when did Dujarric know this answer? And why / under whose ordered did he simply refuse to give the information that he had, about the UN's use of public resources?

  On June 27 Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric a simple factual question: did MONUSCO fly Rumuli around inside the DRC before any Security Council decision on Ladsous' request?

 On July 1, after covering the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee negotiations in which Ladsous told Group of 77 members about $200 million in cuts including in Darfur, where his peacekeeping mission stands accused of under-reporting murders and attack, Inner City Press asked Dujarric again: did MONUSCO use UN resources to fly Rumuli around? 

  Dujarric again did not answer; he said, "If I have something on that, I will share it." Video here, from Minute 15:10. 

  Defenders of Ladsous -- amazingly, they exist, usually for reasons that have nothing to do with Ladsous -- have emerged saying that if the request for a travel ban exception came from a group of special envoys whose precise line-up has yet to be disclosed, Ladsous is blameless.

  This ignores not only his 1994 role, but since he become UN Peacekeeping chief, his extraordinary refusal to answer Press questions. Video compilation here. Defenses of Ladsous from (some) in the Great Lakes and Belgium of his refusal to answer questions at the UN in New York are comical.

For now: it is undoubtedly newsworthy that the UN, or really France, chose to put at the helm of UN Peacekeeping in the Great Lakes a person who in 1994, in the Security Council, argued for the escape of genocidiares from Rwanda into Eastern Congo. Inner City Press story here; sample 1994 memo by Ladsous here.


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