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In Mali, Any UN Probe of Deadly Shooting, Recusal from Payments to France?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 11 -- As UN Peacekeeping becomes more and more of a combatant in Africa, for example acting with the Malian Army as they shot unarmed protesters in Kidal, at the UN in New York more of its briefings are closed, and its chief Herve Ladsous has until now resisted and refused Press questions. Video here, UK coverage here.

So Inner City Press on December 10 asked Ladsous' deputy Edmond Mulet about the deadly live fire at the Kidal airport: is UN Peacekeeping, as even this month's Security Council president Gerard Araud suggested to Inner City Press, conducting an investigation into its actions in northern Mali?

Mulet to his credit did stop on the way from the Security Council to the elevator to say that DPKO is speaking with the Malian authorities. But he used a phrase, lessons learned, which often precludes accountability.

Ultimately it is Ladsous who must answer this question. This morning he is briefing the Council about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, over which he has finally launched his drone. But the briefing is closed. He should take this question, and others, later in the week: but will he?

He should also answer whether he recused himself from any involvement in the UN's non-public Letter of Assist to pay UN money to France for airfield services in northern Mali -- as luck has it, in Kidal where the deadly shooting of unarmed protesters took place.

The argument being made is that only the Department of Field Support is involved in procurement. But it is not clear that sole source "Letters of Assist" really constitute procurement: they are more like set-asides.

In any event, it was DFS' Ameerah Haq who was speaking at the International Peace Institute on the topic of peacekeeping and human rights -- at least technically more in the bailiwick of Ladsous' post if not personality. So, beyond this question to IPI, the larger question remains: was Ladsous recused from this Letter of Assist payment to France? And how much is the payment for? Watch this site.


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