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Minova Rapes, Covered Up by UN's Ladsous, Cited by Kobler for Council & Kampala

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 20 -- Eleven months ago, Congolese soldiers from the 41st and 391st Battalions committed at least 135 rapes in Minova.

 The head of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous repeatedly refused to answer Press questions about the rapes. Video here; UK New Statesman coverage here.

  Now Ladsous' man in Kinshasa Martin Kobler has belatedly criticized the Congolese authorities which he has supported with attack helicopters for not bringing anyone to account for the mass rapes.

  Why only now? Well, it was convenient for Kobler not to speak about this while helping these same DRC Army rape units in their operations in the field. Kobler was too busy threatening to "punish" the M23 rebels, and drinking in the cheers of some after attacks that left these rebels "licking their wounds" as Ladsous ghoulishly put it in New York while taking only friendly questions.

 Ladsous has refused to address his own history in the Great Lakes, arguing for the escape of genocidaires from Rwanda into Eastern Congo, click here for that.

Now there is another inconvenient question: how can the UN hypocritically preach "no impunity" at the M23 negotiations in Kampala if it has remains silent on, even through Ladsous helped the cover-up of, the DRC Army's Minova rapes? And so a belated statement by Kobler, here on Google Docs.

During the UN General Debate on September 23, Inner City Press asked UN Great Lakes envoy Mary Robinson why the UN kept supporting the DRC Army rape Battalions 41 and 391. Robinson's answer cited the UN's supposed "zero tolerance." But some now call it the UN's "zero truthfulness" policy.

Kobler's head of human rights Scott Campbell has said "it is clear" that UN cannot support Army units involved in such crimes unless their leaders are brought to justice.

  But this is false: it is not at all clear, since Ladsous decided, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon despite being asked by the Press did not overturn the decision, to keep supporting these rape units.

  Ban had announced, in his usual quiet way, a supported Human Rights Due Diligence Policy that would ban UN support to Army units engaged in human rights violations.

 Then on this Minova test, the policy was found to be meaningless, just like his UN's calls for accountability and rule of law while dismissing all claims it brought cholera to Haiti, and withholding even its watered down report of the UN's inaction in Sri Lanka while 40,000 civilians were killed.

  Robinson was at the talks in Kampala, then reportedly left. In the US, Ambassador Samantha Power who as Inner City Press first reported raised at least the words Minova rapes to DRC president Joseph Kabila during the Security Council's recent French-led trip through the region, was tweeting Saturday night about the Red Sox' win over the Detroit Tigers.

   The 391st Battalion was US-trained. Back in July, the US Mission to the UN at least provided some answer on this, and Inner City Press published it in full, here.

  Now the (new?) US Mission has not yet answered on what, if anything, Kabila or the Congolese ministers also asked by UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, said in response about Minova.

  On Monday in the Security Council it is time for Ladsous and Kobler to report on the DRC. Kobler's and Campbell's eleventh hour -- no , eleventh month -- statements come too late.

  But that's not how their scribes, for example Reuters and Voice of America handpicked by France to fly free on the UN plane and sing MONUSCO's praises, will report it. Zero truthfulness, indeed.


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