Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

After Impunity for 130 Minova Rapes, Kobler Says UN Policy Is Clear

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 7 -- When UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous held a press conference on May 29, Inner City Press asked him why UN Peacekeeping has yet to apply the UN's stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy after only two Congolese FARDC  soldiers were convicted for more than 130 rapes in Minova in November 2012.

  Ladsous said, "You know I do not respond to you, Mister." Video here.

   On June 7 the head of the UN's MONUSCO mission in DRC Martin Kobler put out a press release, about an attack in South Kivu, that "la MONUSCO soutient activement les FARDC" - that is, that the UN's MONUSCO is actively supporting the FARDC.

    Because Ladsous has refused to answer questions, first about the Minova rapes (video compilation here) then about how the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy applies to future support to FARDC units, the question arises: is MONUSCO "actively supporting" any of the unpunished Minova rapists?  Inner City Press asked this question.

   Kobler to his credit responded. He said, "What a nonsense Matthew, our policy on Minova is clear."  But is it?  If Kobler's boss in UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous has outright refused to answer questions about the rapes and about the policy, the policy is NOT clear.

   Has any support been suspended since only two soldiers were convicted for 130 rapes?  What is the process? Who makes the decision? How? The Free UN Coalition for Access, which has raised to senior UN official Ladsous' refusal to answer questions and his directing a spokesperson to seize the UN TV microphone to avoid questions, will stay on these transparency issues, while Inner City Press continues reporting on DRC -- and Burundi, on which Kobler also commented.

Background: For months, UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous dodged and refused questions about rapes by the Congolese Army FARDC in Minova. Video compilation here.

   Then after other UN officials emphasized that some Congolese soldiers were belatedly being prosecuted, on May 5 the verdicts declared not guilty three dozen of the 39 charged, convicting of rape only two of the soldiers, for more than 130 rapes.

  On May 8 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq who will decide on implementing Ban's stated human rights due diligence policy of suspending support to units engaged in abuse, and which are not held accountable and are given impunity. Video here from 20:33.

  Haq replied, "I wouldn't say pretty much impunity - there was a trial - that in itself is a step. We are disappointed, we have to evaluate what happened.

  Inner City Press asked, who makes the decision? Mister Ladsous? 

   Haq said, we were pressing for a trial, it's not my place to comment on the workings of the judicial system of the DRC. Accountability meant getting the trials.
   But only two convictions for 130 rapes?

  The day before on May 6 at the UN Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's associate spokesperson Vannina Maestracci would would now happen, under the UN's and Ladsous' claimed "Human Rights Due Diligence" Policy. Video here.

    Maestracci insisted, "We said we were disappointed." But is that enough? Is that the due diligence policy? Maestracci said others will be "analyzing" the two convictions.  Inner City Press asked, who will be analyzing, and who would decide on suspending support to the 41st and 391st Battalions?

    "You got my answer," Maestracci said.

   On May 5 Inner City Press asked deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq if the UN views this low level of conviction "accountability" for the rapes for purposes of continuing Ladsous' support of the 41st and 391st Battalions of the Congolese Army, or views the verdict as an outrage. Video on Inner City Press YouTube channel here and embedded below, followed by weak MONUSCO statement.

  Haq at noon on May 5 had no comment on the verdict, saying that "the mission," MONUSCO under Martin Kobler, will "prepare our response."  But Ban and Ladsous have made much of their supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, under which they said UN support would be suspended for abuses, or for a lack of accountability for abuses.  This, is an abuse.

    And this may be worse: MONUSCO's weak statement taking note of two convictions for rape after 130 rapes. Human rights due diligence? Hardly.

   Back on April 9, Ladsous appeared for a press conference with High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. Ladsous presented the Minova cases -- no convictions -- as a success for the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.

  Inner City Press asked Navi Pillay if she thought sixteen months and counting was too long, given that Ladsous' MONUSCO is still working with the implicated FARDC units, the 41st and 391st Battalion.

  Then Inner City Press specifically asked Ladsous about charges of gang rape against peacekeepers in his Mali mission MINUSMA. Have those charged been cleared?

   Pillay said she hadn't presented Minova as a success, and that she is concerned about the delay. Then Ladsous sat silent. The Department of Public Information moderator said, "Mr. Lee, I said this was about the DRC." Video here and embedded below.

  So rapes ascribed to UN Peacekeepers in Mali go UNanswered? There is a pattern:

   On April 7 it was a simple question to Ladsous, which he refused: when will UN Peacekeeping go after or neutralize the Hutu FDLR militia? It was asked by Inner City Press on April 7, the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda in which the FDLR were perpetrators.

But UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous replied, "To you, Mister, you know I never answer your questions, and you know very well why." Video here, and embedded below.

Why, then? Ladsous was France's Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN in 1994 during the Rwanda genocide, and he argued for French policies including the escape of the genocidaires into Eastern Congo. See sample memo, here.

It is one thing for France to so deny this history that it decided its Justice Minister would not attend the genocide commemoration in Kigali. But for a French UN official to openly refuse to answer a question about his responsibility, to neutralize the Hutu FDLR militia in Eastern Congo?

This happened at the International Peace Institute on First Avenue across from the UN Headquarters. On the panel with Ladsous as he said this were IPI's Francesco Mancini, Italy's Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi, Pakistan's Deputy Permanent Representative Khan and Ameerah Haq, Under-Secretary-General for the UN Department of Field Support. The audience, witnesses, were a range of diplomats and UN officials.

  Ladsous, ever since Inner City Press asked him about his history, has resisted questions inside the UN, see video compilation here, UK coverage in the New Statesman here.

But previously Ladsous did answer an Inner City Press question at IPI, and UN officials made much of it to Inner City Press, as if to say, Ladsous is reasonable, he is not engaged in censorship.

But he is. Another example: while UN Peacekeeping spends a lot of money promoting itself on social media, Inner City Press has asked why for example its MINURSO mission in Western Sahara, in which Morocco and France oppose a human rights monitoring mandate, has no social media presence.

The answer given at IPI -- not by Ladsous, who refuses Inner City Press questions -- is that for some missions, countries do no give permission for certain equipment or, apparently, Twitter accounts. But who could it be, banning MINURSO in Western Sahara from social media?

  Ladsous tries to spoonfeed information to friendly scribes; in his favor first the UN Correspondents Association (requested by Agence France Presse) then the current spokesperson of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have made threats to discourage coverage. There's more on this - but this is today's video, here; this is today's UN. Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2014 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]