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UN Leaps to Congolese Army's Defense After Ladsous Refused All Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 30 -- The dysfunction of the UN and its Department of Peacekeeping Operations is on display, now regarding a leaked document concerning the UN's partners in the Congolese Army, and the FDLR militia.

  Inner City Press on January 29 asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey about the document. The question was put to him because DPKO chief Herve Ladsous has said openly and on camera that he will not answer any Inner City Press questions.

  Ladsous directed his spokesman to grab the UNTV microphone to try to stop Inner City Press from asking a question about the Congolese Army and the 126 rapes in Minova.

  Since DPKO from the top down will not answer any questions, question are asked at the UN noon briefing. Of late, despite "we'll look into it" interim responses, no answers come.

  On January 29 Inner City Press asked the UN about "an e-mail from within MONUSCO which shows awareness by the UN that FARDC Congolese army units are in support of actively helping the movements of the FDLR, i.e., the militia in eastern Congo that is linked with the genocide in Rwanda, and I wanted to know what is the UN’s response."

  But neither then nor in the 23 hours since did the UN provide any response. Del Buey said, "we’ll have to speak with DPKO on that, but have you spoken with DPKO yourself?"

Inner City Press: I have, as you know, I have asked Mr. Ladsous questions a number of times that he refused to answer.

Deputy Spokesperson: But, have you spoken with DPKO, the media people of DPKO?

Inner City Press: Last time, my last interface with them was them taking the microphones, so questions couldn’t be asked at the Security Council stakeout, so I am asking you.

  Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman said, "Well, I’ll have to find out." But for 23 hours, nothing.

  Instead, from Kinshasa and in French, the MONUSCO mission has chosen to belatedly comment on the document, and attack Inner City Press in the process. For now only say, DPKO and Ladsous have only themselves to blame.

The extraordinary refusal to answer any Press questions, even a softball question on Abyei in September, and now failure to provide answers through Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office casts MONUSCO's belated protest in a different light.

  And what about the 126 rapes in Minova on which Ladsous had refused questions, even taking friendly media into the hall? Video here, slightly more elaborated here.

  Did the rapes not happen?  A fish rots from the head.

From the UN's January 30, 2013 transcript in New York:

Deputy Spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey: I was asked yesterday about a document, attributed to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), which would confirm a cooperation between the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC). The Mission says that the document is a falsification and there is no doubt that the purpose of this venture is to discredit the Congolese Armed Forces. The UN Mission strongly denounces this attempt at misinforming the public. We have a press release with more details in our office.

Inner City Press: Thanks, I have seen the MONUSCO press release and I have a couple of questions. One is a longer-standing, outstanding FARDC question, which is about these rapes that happened in Minova all the way back in November. And I am wondering, I have gone back over what, even what Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous said at the stakeout. He said that, by now, the probe would be finished, so what I wanted to know is: where is the probe? What findings were made of which units of the FARDC were involved in the rapes? Does MONUSCO still work with them, and it is interesting that they respond so quickly to defend the FARDC, but where is their finding about the rapes that they acknowledge took place when the FARDC controlled Minova?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Well, Matthew, I think you will understand there is a slight difference in the amount of time it takes to investigate a major crime and the amount of time it takes to investigate a paper that has been falsified. When I have the information on that, I will get back to you.

  Since November, we've been waiting. Watch this site.

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