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On UN Rapes, ICP Asks of No Ladsous Q&A, He's Returned to Scene of Crime

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 31 -- When peacekeepers from France allegedly raped children in the Central African Republic and the UN learned about it a year ago, the UN and UNICEF did nothing, until French UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous asked to fire the whistleblower in March of this year. 

  Babacar Gaye but not Ladsous was fired by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; Inner City Press obtained and put Gaye's letter online here (credited here and here) citing systemic problems.

 On August 27 Inner City Press asked the UN's Office of the Spokesperson "UNIFEED in the past week circulated a video of DPKO USG Ladsous speaking about sexual abuse by peacekeepers, saying “leadership” must be held accountable, but taking no questions. The video appeared on the UN website, but has since been removed. Please state when the video was made, for what audience, and why it was removed from the UN Webcast website."

  This was question was not answered so on August 31 Inner City Press asked the UN's returned lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric, fast transcription:

ICP: I’d asked last week, there was a filmed statement by Under Secretary General Herve Ladsous put on Unifeed, with no questions and answers. What was that produced for? What was the purpose?

Dujarric: I think the opinion expressed by Mr. Ladsous in the video is very clear, a condemnation of acts of sexual abuse and sexual violence. Mr. Ladsous is heading to Bangui, I believe tomorrow or coming days, to take a look for his own at the situation on the ground, and to follow up on what we’ve seen in the past month. He has expressed willingness to speak to the press upon his return.

ICP : And on OIOS, I’ve asked whether Carman LaPointe is in fact attending a conference from September 8 to 11 in Manilla and if so, what would be the point.

 Dujarric: Well, I don’t have an updated travel schedule for every USG but I think even if she is on the last days of mandate, I think she has a tremendous amount of experience to share, things to share about what she’s been doing over the last 5 years. I don’t see any issue with her continuing to travel and attend conferences as she sees fit, if she is indeed attending the conference.

ICP: How many people from OIOS are going to the conference?

Dujarric: I don’t know.

  It is public money; this applies to Ladsous as well. We'll have more on this.

  On August 25 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told French President Francois Hollande of his "commitment in addressing issues of misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse, by UN peacekeepers." Full read-out below. If Ban is so committed, as Gaye was treated, he will treat his supervisor Ladsous.

 Ladsous, rather than taking any questions, issued a one-way statement on the UN's own "UNIFEED," here, in which he intoned without apparent irony that sexual abuse cases means "the leadership" hasn't done what it should have done. So the Senegalese Gaye who worked for him was fired, but Ladsous not, or not yet.

 Ban's trip this week to Paris provides Ban the change to do what he should long ago have done. Will he do it? Will the long delayed other shoe drop?

 On August 20 it was Gaye's deputy Diane Corner who took questions about the new round of rape allegations - and not DPKO boss Ladsous. Inner City Press asked Corner, without answer, if Ladsous when he was in Bangui on April 28 was briefed about the rapes -- more about this later.  Her answer was that Troop Contributing Countries are given SIX MONTHS to name a national investigative official. Video here; below is a transcript by

  Here is the UN's Ban - Hollande read out:

"The Secretary-General met today in Paris with the President of the French Republic, H. E. Mr. Francois Hollande.
They discussed the latest developments in the lead up to the Climate Change Conference in Paris in December (COP-21) as well as the next steps to be taken to ensure an ambitious outcome. In this regard, they noted the importance of, and different ways of engaging Heads of State and Governments on climate change, including on the margins of the 70th session of the General Assembly in New York in September as well as at other meetings involving leaders.  They also agreed on the importance of generating signals about the climate finance package for COP-21 as early as possible, such as at the meeting of Finance Ministers in Lima in October.  They also agreed on the importance of operationalizing the Green Climate Fund, and of reaching out to all Member States to further accelerate momentum in the coming months.
They also discussed a number of peace and security issues, including the situation in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and the Middle East Peace Process. On the Central African Republic, they noted progress towards elections and restoring security. The Secretary-General stressed his resolve and commitment in addressing issues of misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse, by UN peacekeepers.
In the aftermath of his visit to Nigeria, the Secretary-General and President Hollande also discussed the threat of Boko Haram across the region and the need to address violent extremism everywhere."

 On August 21, Inner City Press asked UN Associate Spokesperson Eri Kaneko about discrepancies and the six month delay, video here:

Inner City Press: since you were the moderator yesterday, I wanted to ask you this.  First, you know, there were several of them, that’s why I’m asking, inconsistencies between what Ms. Corner said and the response to question sheet that went out.  Some incidents that didn’t appear, for example, she—

Associate Spokesperson:  No, we’ve seen, and I asked the very same question.  And what our colleagues at DPKO tell us is that the incidents are the same.  Nothing… there are no… it’s the same number of incidents listed, sorry.  The sheet that we originally gave you, I think, had something like nine or something, but that didn’t include the incidents that we’ve told you about that took place in PK5 and in Bambari this month, as well as a previous incident in 2014, but the rest are all the same.

Inner City Press: But the reason, and I just, I guess maybe you can ask them this again, the problem was that the sheet, as handed out on the 19th, said the incident from December was still, an investigation is still ongoing and then she said it’s closed.  So did it get closed in one day or… and the other one was she described an incident in March, but it didn’t seem to be any listed in March on the sheet.  This is why I have these concerns.

Associate Spokesperson:  My understanding is that is the latest information that we have and that is—

Inner City Press: So what she said supersedes the 19—

Associate Spokesperson:  What she said supersedes the 19th.

Inner City Press: Was there a rape in March or there wasn’t a rape in March?  That’s the problem I have.

Associate Spokesperson:  We’re going to go with her sheet yesterday.


Question:  And the more substantive part of it is I hadn’t realized it until she said it as part of a response yesterday but that there’s 10 days for a Member State to say that they’re going to do something, and then the UN gives them six months to name a national investigative officer.  So I’ve heard UN officials say that, even after four months after the Thabit rapes in Darfur, that this was too much time to find any evidence.  So I wonder, how do you square those two?  Does the UN think it’s reasonable to give a country six months to even begin investigating an alleged rape?  And, if so, what… maybe is that one of the reasons nobody has ever been convicted…

Associate Spokesperson:  I think…


Associate Spokesperson:  Well, first of all, that’s not true.  People have been, I think dozens of people actually have been convicted in their national courts.  I don’t have the exact number.  But what she mentioned yesterday was that, you know, even if… even in that time where we’re waiting to hear back from Governments, whether it be to… whether to get their initial response or whether they import… appoint a national investigator, I believe what she said is they do their best to preserve the evidence, because initially they do look into every case to ensure, well, to look into the credibility of these cases.  So she did say… I’m just looking at what she said yesterday.

[The Associate Spokesperson later clarified that there is a six-month timeline for completing investigations, subject to extenuating circumstances.]

Inner City Press:  Sure.

Associate Spokesperson:  But that they do do their best to, uh, act quickly and preserve the evidence which provides the basis for conviction and punishment to perpetrators.

Let me get back to you, let me get back to you. 

  The bracketed "clarification," which differs from what DSRSG Corner said, was not conveyed to Inner City Press except when the transcript was put online after 8 pm.

On August 24, the UN emailed Inner City Press: "regarding your question at the noon briefing on Friday on the CAR - just to clarify, there is a six-month timeline for completing investigations, subject to extenuating circumstances."
After the cut-off, there was more:

Inner City Press: I have some other questions, but I just… I guess what I wanted to ask about this is what is the UN’s rationale for giving six months between a State saying, yes, we will investigate and even naming a national investigative person, an official?  Why does that take six months?  Because it seems almost inevitable whatever you’ve said about preserving evidence, that people move away.  People are displaced.  In CAR, six months later, you’re probably not going to… some of the witnesses are not going to be there.  What’s the purpose of the six months?

Associate Spokesperson:  I hear your question.  That’s a policy, that’s a UN policy, but as I’m sure you’ve seen in the Secretary-General’s address to the Security Council last week, he himself has said that he would like to improve these mechanisms.  So let’s see what happens.

 Let's. Transcript of August 20:

Inner City Press: It was said yesterday that the procedure is to give the TCC 10 days to begin an investigation. Can you say, is it a rolling deadline? And, where is USG Ladsous on this? Was he briefed on April 28?

DSRSG Corner: I can tell you I had a conversation with Mr. Ladsous today. I can assure you that he takes this very seriously. In terms of investigations, there is, the Troop Contributing Country has to respond within 10 days once UN Headquarters has been in contact with it. But they cannot refer information, and they have 6 months, from the date of notification, to put in place the national investigating officer. Those are the current UN rules on this. So that is, that’s why sometimes it takes a little longer to put in place the investigation. But we do try to inform people as quickly as we can. What we want to do is try to get enough credible evidence to show that there is a case to answer. Sometimes that takes a little bit of time, we’re working in difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances. For example, in PK5 last week there was a period of time when it was judged unsafe for our personnel to go into PK5, so we had to consider the risk to our personnel as well. That was then reassessed, and we were able to continue our investigations.
Inner City Press: In yesterday’s fact sheet, there was one case where it said the country was informed on July 29, response is awaited. That’s more than 10 days. Has there been a request from the country?

DSRSG Corner: I have to check with colleagues in UN headquarters as to how that is following up. But certainly we are tracking these places very closely. It has to be done through headquarters to get the formal response to whether or not they are going to be appointing a national investigation. That is the procedure. But I can assure you that we do take it seriously and we are very keen to get moving.

 Corner did not answer if Ladsous was told on April 28, instead saying that she spoke with Ladsous earlier in the day. So why wasn't he the one answering questions?

On August 19 the UN disclosed three more rape allegations in CAR. UN Associate Spokesperson Vannina Maestracci said UNHQ learned of the allegations on "August 13 or 14." Then why not disclose them until August 19?  Inner City Press asked Maestracci if Ladsous will answer. Video here.

  Later on August 19 the UN issued a page and a half "in reponse to questions at the Noon Briefing," which @InnerCityPress tweeted here and here.

  But what Corner said on August 20 is not consistent with the August 19 note. Here is's rush transcription of Corner's litany, with annotations in brackets and italics:

The first recorded case was in Bambari in December 2014. That was – the allegation was found to be unsubstantiated and the case has been closed.

[In the August 19 note, for the only allegation from December 2014 it says "investigation is ongoing." Did it get closed in one day, between August 19 and August 20?]

And next was in Bangui in March this year, 2015. This case is under investigation. I should say that a member of uniformed personnel of MINUSCA has been repatriated.

[In the note of August 19, there is no case from March 2015; there are two from May, on one of which "response is awaited from the member state.]

There was a third case reported in Bangui in May. An investigation by an investigator from the Troop Contributing Country concerned is ongoing.

There was a fourth case reported in Bria in the east of Central African Republic in June, and again, the investigation is being handled, is ongoing, by the Troop Contributing Country.

In June, another case was reported in Bangui and again, it’s under investigation by the Troop Contributing Country.

[There are two allegations from June in the August 19 note, but on one it says "response awaited from the member state," while Corner on Augsut 20 said both June allegations are already under investigation by the member state.]

In July, one case was reported in Bangui, one uniformed personnel has so far been repatriated pending the outcome of an investigation.

Also in July, we received one alleged case from Berberati in the west of the central African Republic. This allegation is being handled by United Nations investigators.

In August, two separate cases were reported in Rafai, in the south east of the country. In one case, it was still awaiting a response from the Troop Contributing Country involved, and in the other, a joint investigation is being conducted by the UN and the authorities from the TCC.

Again in August, we received one case as reported by Amnesty International in Bangui. The Troop Contributing Countries have been informed. I should say there are four nationalities involved in this operation, which complicates the work to identify the nationality of the perpetrators and therefore, the Troop Contributing Country which is responsible for carrying forward the investigation.

Lastly, there are three separate cases relating to alleged instances in Bambari, and the matter again is being referred to the Troop Contributing Country very quickly, which has undertaken to take action.

So that’s the state of where we are with each of the cases. As far as we’re aware, there have not been any convictions so far, we have the one case in December which was closed, and the rest of the cases have started since March, and the investigations are still underway.

  But this litany does not jibe even with the UN's own "response to questions" distributed the day before on August 19.

  The UN note on August 19 said that in 2015 as of July 31 -- that is, before the one Bangui August 3 and three Bambari rapes now disclosed -- there've been nine allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse recorded by OIOS for MINUSCA.

 In one case, the contributing country itself asked for repatriation. This is not a trial or discipline.
Even this self-serving presentation is inconsistent with that UN spokesperson Maestracci said earlier in the day. For example, she said “Per procedure, the Troop Contributing Country has been asked to indicate within ten days if it intends to investigate the allegations itself. Should the member State decline to investigate or fail to respond, the UN will rapidly conduct its own investigation.”

  But this supposed ten day deadline is not, apparently, the procedures. In the “fact” sheet distributed later on August 19, the UN disclosed a rape allegation notified to the member state on July 29 then says “Response is awaited from the member state.” Awaited after more than twenty, rather than 10, days?

 Inner City Press specifically asked Corner about this, but it was not explained.

What was said is that the UN gives TCCs SIX MONTHS to even name a National Investigative Officer. How much evidence is left after that much time? We'll have more on this.

 The UN gave a second round of questions to Agence France Presse, but not Inner City Press. Watch this site.

  Likeness the ten (or is it twenty?) day deadline can be extended. In another case, the UN says it notified the member state on July 6; “further request to member state, providing further details on identity of the military personnel was sent on 3 August. Response is awaited from the member state -- more than forty days after the first request, and more than two weeks after the second request.

  And this is by the UN's own accounting. It is time for an outside accounting and investigation, and for UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous to be held accountable.

  Inner City Press observed Ladsous, who has answered no questions on the scandals, emerge smiling from the Security Council on August 19. Inner City Press asked Council President Joy Ogwu if Ladsous, in briefing Councnil members in consultations, disclosed the new rape charges. No, he did not.

  We'll have more on this.

Here is some of what Meastracci read out, previously tweeted by @InnerCityPress:

   “On the Central African Republic, the UN Mission there said this morning that a new series of disturbing allegations of misconduct have recently come to light. The events allegedly took place in recent weeks. These new allegations concern a report that three young females, including a minor, were raped by three members of a MINUSCA military contingent.

  “The allegations were reported to the Mission's Human Rights Division on 12 August 2015 by the families of the three women. After receiving the report, the Mission informed the UN Headquarters in New York, which notified the Office of Internal Oversight Services and the Troop Contributing Country in question. The Department of Field Support has requested to meet with the Member state immediately.

  “Per procedure, the Troop Contributing Country has been asked to indicate within ten days if it intends to investigate the allegations itself. Should the member State decline to investigate or fail to respond, the UN will rapidly conduct its own investigation..

  “The Mission reiterates its commitment to combating all forms of misconduct by its personnel. It calls on anyone in possession of information to come forward in this regard and assures them that they will be protected,” the statement on Wednesday concluded."

 Protected like Anders Kompass?

   Consider for example the sadly similar report of UN Peacekeepers raping underaged girls in the DR Congo on which Inner City Press reported in August 2012, noting even then that Ladsous refused to answer Press questions about peacekeeping-related rapes.

  In those cases, reported by Victoria Fontan then of theUniversity for Peace, it is not clear even if the peacekeepers are issued were disciplined or put on trial.

 Inner City Press on August 17 asked UN Associate Spokesperson Vannina Maestracci about the cases. After being told "you are so no interested in the answers" and then to ask such questions by email rather than in the briefing - why? - Inner City Press has sent this to Maestracci and the lead spokesman:

"At today's noon briefing, after a presentation from the podium about how the UN will follow through, be transparent and help victim(s) of the August 3 rape allegations in the Central African Republic, I asked about the following previous (sample) case in the DR Congo and was told to just “email the information” (and, apparently, not asked about it in other ways, like at the briefing).

In any case, this is the case that I asked about, and I am reiterating the request for the UN and DPKO to say what ever happened in this specific case, which I asked about in 2012 and which was reported in the Toronto Globe and Mail, here:

'In February, 2011, two orphans, Gisèle, then 14, and her sister Espérance, 15, were attacked by five soldiers, three from MONUSCO and two from the Congo’s notoriously undisciplined and brutal army. While the Congolese were beating Gisèle, Espérance was gang raped and beaten by the three white MONUSCO soldiers. She was both badly injured and pregnant. Last October, Espérance gave birth by cesarean section. Her son died two days later.'

"What did the Mission, DPKO and the UN do about this, and what was the outcome?"

  On August 19, Maestracci said the UN has no records of these cases. Video here. We hope to have more on this.

Why haven't the SRSGs of other missions like in the DR Congo (or South Sudan) been treated like Gaye?  Consider the nation(s) they come from. And the boss and responsible of it all, Ladsous? We'll have more on this.

  After Ban Ki-moon briefed the Security Council behind closed doors, US Ambassador Samantha Power but not UNSC President Joy Ogwu of Nigeria spoke for 24 minutes at the stakeout (while taking questions only from Reuters, AP and the WSJ.)

  On August 14, Inner City Press asked Central African Republic and UN Peacekeeping rape questions to Ambasssador Joy Ogwu (video here); she replied to Inner City Press:

"Well, I thought I would brief yesterday, but I waited for a long time, this podium was busy, so I decided to leave. Well, there was a consensus on the action that was taken. I think it was Shakespeare who said, there is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. The Secretary General got to the point where he drew the line. To say, to indicate that there is, and to reaffirm zero tolerance on this matter of sexual violence against women. I don’t think there were any differences on the action that he took, we supported that action, and indeed that it should broaden beyond the Central African Republic. All the contributors, troop contributors, must be that way, that the point of no return has been reached, and it needs to be taken very very seriously. It had to happen at some point. That’s some line, the dividing line. So there was no specific target."

 (The UN's UNIFEED, here, cut the podium reference and Inner City Press' question.)

 Also on August 14 Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask on sexual abuse and UN peacekeeping.  In this room, a couple of times, you've used this figure of 57 complaints and 11 having to do with sexual abuse or sexual exploitation in MINUSCA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic].  And you've said to look at the report to UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] for comparison.  But, when you look at that report, it doesn't… MINUSCA's not even in the top three.  So, are the numbers that you're using are comparable to these numbers, or can you produce similar numbers for other missions to know what the scope of the problem is?

Spokesman:  Those numbers that we have are the most updated numbers for MINUSCA.  If we have other updated numbers for other missions, we'll share them with you. [After the briefing, none were provided.]

Inner City Press:  That's what we've been asking for, for several days.

Spokesman:  Okay.

Inner :  Okay.  I wanted to ask you about a quote that was given by the Spokesman for MINUSCA that I'm sure you may have seen, to Lauren Wolfe for Foreign Policy magazine..  I'm going to read you this quote, because I think you'll have a response to it.  Mr. Hamadoun Touré said as follows:  "When peacekeepers arrived at the site, they were attacked immediately with heavy weapons.  I'm sorry, but I don't think someone would think of raping someone at this time.  I think they just think of escape.  He will think, I'm a human being before I am a man.  If you're under fire, I think you're just saving your life.  Really, in this situation, you don't really think of a girl," i.e. equating the rape of a 12-year-old with being a man or… what do you think of this comment and… and what… what are the implications of it?

Spokesman:  I think the comment does not reflect in any way, shape or form the opinion of the Secretary-General, the United Nations or the peacekeeping mission.  Clearly, our thoughts and our work and our focus should be on the victims of sexual abuse, whether in the CAR [Central African Republic] or anywhere else.  There is no excuse for rape, none, period.  So, that's what I'm saying.  So, the quote is of… does not in any way reflect the position of the Secretary-General, the peacekeeping or the Mission itself.

Inner City Press:  Do you… I’d say the problems extend, go both below Mr. [Babacar] Gaye but also above Mr. Gaye.  It seems like… the final thing I wanted to ask you is…

Spokesman:  Matthew, I will come back to you. 

 After this cut-off, later more:

Dujarric: Mr. Lee?

Inner City Press: Here's what I was trying to ask you about CAR, and I also want to ask about Burundi.  The Government Accountability Project, who, you know, we've… you've said from there you respect much, said:  "In demanding Gaye's resignation, the Secretary-General apparently thought it's time to look serious about peacekeepers and sexual assault."  They go on to say that, if the Secretary-General were serious… and they go back to the Sangaris case that was… in which Mr. [Anders] Kompass was… was… says he was urged to resign by Mr. [Hervé] Ladsous, they urged the Secretary-General to suspend the investigation of Mr. Kompass if he's actually serious, as he said at the stakeout.  What's your response to that?

Spokesman:  I do respect GAP.  It doesn't mean I need to agree with them.  I think the Secretary-General made an unprecedented decision yesterday, and he sent strong [message] to UN officials that there will be institutional accountability.  On the CAR… on the Sangaris case, he has called for and implemented a full review, led by Marie Deschamps in Canada.  We look forward to receiving that review and acting on its recommendations.

Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask about Parfait.  Obviously, in these remarks that you were… put online earlier today, it said that Mr. Parfait Onanga [Anyanga] is now replacing Mr. Gaye, beginning early next week.  It seems pretty fast and it's obviously a very fast process.  So, I wanted to ask, in terms of Burundi, what exactly is the sticking point on the… multiply decided imminent…?

Spokesman:  There are two different situations.  The consultations on appointing a new envoy for Burundi are continuing.  As soon as we have something to announce we will announce it.

 When covering this was over, Ban's spokesman's office was closed. Stories appeared quoting Ban's remarks and praising him, with no mention of the head of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, who had not deigned to return from his vacation for the scandal and firing of Gaye, or even to call his putative boss Ban Ki-moon.

  Now on the morning of August 14 when Ban's Spokesperson's office reopened, there were Ban's remarks out on the counter. They run four and a half pages and do not once mention Ladsous, only Babacar Gaye (whose name is not forever linked with rape as Ladsous' more properly should be) and Gaye's quick replacement Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, who previously represented Ban in Burudni, where Ban cannot this week bring himself to name an envoy amid torture and threats.

  Whether anything will come of Ban's four and a half pages remains to be seen. The Free UN Coalition for Access is fighting this lack of transparency, and lack of accountability. Watch this site.

 On August 13 Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to provide the type of sexual abuse complaint numbers he gave for CAR for any other UN Peacekeeping mission. The problem goes well beyond CAR and Gaye.

 Inner City Press after asking in the briefing (video here) asked Dujarric in writing:

Yesterday (and today) I asked you for number of abuse and sexual abuse complaints at each UN Peacekeeping mission, to compare to the 57 / 11 figures you announced for MINUSCA in CAR. Yesterday:

ICP: Can you provide similar numbers for the other missions?

Spokesman:  We'll try to do that.  I will come back to you.

  Today you did not provide the number, said look at SG's report to UNGA. But in that report, the CAR numbers you have announced, they are not there. Instead at

'(a) The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), with 13 allegations each (51 per cent of the total), and the
United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), with 12 allegations (24 per cent);

(b) The remaining 13 allegations (25 per cent) were received from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), with five allegations, and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), with three allegations. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) all reported one allegation each.'

 So again, this is a request for numbers on the other peacekeeping missions, comparable to the 57 / 11 numbers you announced about CAR / MINUSCA."

  Dujarric ignored this part of Inner City Press' request, while declinding to say WHO was on Ban Ki-moon's call.

  Inner City Press asked on that, in writing after twice at the briefings:

"Yesterday you said: 'As to who will be on the call tomorrow, we will let you know once the call happens.' So, again, this is a request for the list of those on today's 10:30 call."

 On this, UN spokesman Dujarric has replied only that:

"On the call, all the following missions were represented, either at the Head of Mission level, or acting head if someone was on leave. If the mission had a Force Commander and Police Commissioner, they were represented as well.  DPKO, DFS, Military Advisor and Police Commissioner were there. Children in Armed Conflict and Sexual Violence in Conflict were also represented.


  So again, as now more than one UN Permanent Representative is asking, where is Ladsous? Some note Senagal's president's statement on Ban's firing of Senegalese Babacar Gaye.

  To similarly fire Ladsous, who bear more and wider responsibility, Ban would have had to speak with France, the way he runs or lets the UN be run. But French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre is on vacation - as is Ladsous, it turns out, even amid this scandal.

  Ban's spokesman Stephen Dujarric told Inner City Press that UN Peacekeeping's "senior leadership" only learned of this new CAR rape on August 10, then that Ladsous is "on leave," and finally that Ban had yet to speak with Ladsous. How then does he know WHEN Ladsous learned of these new rapes? What is the basis of the claimed (and reported) "full confidence"? We'll have more on this.

   After Amnesty International reported in detail on the alleged rape on August 2 by UN Peacekeeping of a 12 year old girl in the PK5 neighborhood of Bangui, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on August 12 announced he asked for a resignation: of Babacar Gaye, head of the CAR mission and not Ladsous, the head of UN Peacekeeping documented to have tried to get CAR whistleblower Kompass fired (Ladsous denies it) and responsible for previous cover ups in DR Congo and Darfur. Compiled video here.

  When Ban Ki-moon took three questions on August 12, Inner City Press between each one asked, What about Ladsous? Ban heard but did not answer, except to (politely) say as he left, You can ask him, pointing at spokesman Staphan Dujarric.

  Inner City Press did, asking several time where is Ladsous -- on vacation or "leave," it emerges -- and about Babacar Gaye's letter to Ban Ki-moon about more systematic problems. Video here.
Here is the UN's transcipt:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask what I was trying to ask at the stakeout, which is, what's the role of the head of UN peacekeeping, Hervé Ladsous, in all this?  Given the Secretary-General noted correctly that there had been scandals in other missions as well, and it seems extraordinary that the Secretary-General is the one calling the Mission chiefs who ultimately work for Ladsous.  So, when is the last time he spoke to him?  Did he consider Mr. Ladsous taking responsibility rather than Mr. Gaye?  And, finally, I'm looking at Mr. Gaye's letter, and this is why I'm asking the question.  Mr. Gaye says:  "Going forward…" to the Secretary-General… "Going forward, you may wish to consider there could be a systematic problem warranting consideration at the highest level of the organization".  So, what do you say to that?  It seems extraordinary that you jump a level and then there's no answer as to the man in the middle.

Spokesman:  You know, I think… a couple of things:  First of all, the Secretary-General has full confidence in Mr. Ladsous, the peacekeeping department, and, of course, Mr. [Atul] Khare, the head of the Department of Field [Support].  Both DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and DFS [Department of Field Support] are dedicated to ensuring the highest level of standards and accountability among personnel.  And I wanted to add that Lieutenant General Paul Cruz, who is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at DPKO/DFS, which is a role akin to an inspector general role, will leave for Central African Republic to examine systematic challenges of dealing with conduct and discipline issues, particularly sexual exploitation and abuse, including prevention, training, as well as reporting management and any further help that is required for Headquarters.  As for Mr. Gaye, he is, indeed, the head of the UN Mission, but he, like the other heads of the UN missions, has another title, and that's Special Representatives of the Secretary-General.  They represent the Secretary-General.  The action taken by the Secretary-General this morning was not taken lightly, but I think he spoke very eloquently as to the reasoning behind it, and I think, if you look at the comments by the Secretary-General, he will speak very strongly to all his Special Representatives as well as police commissioners, force commanders tomorrow to deliver a strong message, and that message [is] that people will be held accountable.

Inner City Press:  I guess my question is, going back to, let's say, Darfur, in Darfur, there was an allegation of mass rape in the city of Thabit, and the peacekeeping mission put out a press release saying it didn't happen; everything was fine.  This was found to be problematic by the Council.  The SRSG isn't gone.  What's the status of that?  And what's the connection of this case to the French peacekeepers?

Spokesman:  I think this is… as you know, the Secretary-General did not take this action based on one particular case.  He took it based on the repeated number of cases of sexual abuse and misconduct that have taken place in the Central African Republic.  According to our numbers, we had 57 allegations of possible misconduct in the Central African Republic reported since the beginning of the mission in April 2014.  And that includes 11 cases of sexual abuse, possible sexual abuse.  Those cases are being investigated.  And the Secretary… I think today the Secretary-General sent a strong message on accountability.

Inner City Press:  Can you provide similar numbers for the other missions?

Spokesman:  We'll try to do that.  I will come back to you.

Inner City Press:  [Inaudible - It's telling you only] have it for one mission.

Inner City Press obtained Gaye's letter and put it online here. One wire service "saw" it, without explanation of Ladsous' role. Voice of America, typically, did not mention Ladsous and incorrectly reported that the UN has an "Inspector General."

 There is no UN Inspector General.

  This is how it works: Ladsous while refusing public questions about rapes would offer private briefing in exchange for positive coverage, like here. Reuters, with two reporters bylined, of Ladsous said only that Ban has "full confidence" in him. We'll have more on this.

  At the August 11 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked  Dujarric about UN Peacekeepers' exemption from the UN "End Rape in War" office, and if Ban would belatedly in this case identify those charged, and disclose findings and punishment, if any. Video here. Transcript below.

  Dujarric among other things said Ban might speak to the press later in the day:

"The Secretary-General is considering this situation as we speak, and I expect him to issue a statement or brief you personally on this subject a bit later."

  Five and then six o'clock came -- no statement from Ban Ki-moon, much less needed Q&A. Dujarric has said "Either you'll hear from him or you'll get a statement... as soon as I know which it will be, I will let you know." But there was no such guidance either. We'll have more on this.

  This is part of a pattern, occuring under UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous who pointedly has refused to answer Press questions.

From the UN's August 11 transcript:

Inner City Press:  Sure.  I hear what you're saying about… about… I mean, first, the announcement, but I did want to ask you a question since I'm not sure if the Secretary… will be able to get answered by the Secretary-General.  And it has to do with this.  The allegation by Amnesty International is that this rape took place the day after peacekeepers were fired at in PK5.  So, it seems to smack of… not of sexual abuse and exploitation only, but also rape as a tool of war, as a weapon of war.  And I know that, in this room, Ms. [Zainab] Bangura said that her mandate doesn't cover UN peacekeepers.  And so, I wondered, is that something the Secretariat would reconsider given… at least in this case, if not other cases?

Spokesman:  What I referred to in my opening statement were troubling allegations of abuse, so abuse writ large.  Obviously, the Mission in Central African Republic has been looking into this, and we expect them to investigate the exact circumstances of these allegations thoroughly and quickly.  There are… we are talking about alleged… cases of alleged abuse or misconduct by UN peacekeepers, whether they be military or formed police units.  There are very clear procedures in place on how to investigate and deal with those issues.  Ms. Bangura's mandate is given to her by the Security Council.  We do expect the procedures already in place to be used to fully investigate and, if necessary, discipline those who have committed these alleged crimes.

Inner City Press:  If… if the Mission finds what Amnesty International alleges to be true, is the maximum UN penalty repatriation to the country of the peacekeeper?

Spokesman:  I think… we're… we're talking about hypotheticals here.  So, let me try to answer it without referring to the exact case.  Obviously, if a crime of this nature is committed by a military personnel, it is… it comes under one set of rules, and as we all know, the UN has no direct authority over the uniformed personnel.  That person would be repatriated, and we would expect them to face justice, be it military or civilian justice, in their home country and be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  If it is a civilian person or if it is a police officer, my understanding is that that is different.  Obviously, the case… we would be in touch with the local authorities, and obviously, the authorities of which that person is… their nationality, so to speak.

Inner City Press:  And one last thing.  There was… it was said that the Secretary-General was considering moving beyond sort of anonymity for countries and non-disclosure of what actually happens.  Would this… can he say, without yet knowing what the Mission will decide, that, were they to find this to be true, that this would be the case to dispense with that?

Spokesman:  I would just refer… I don't think there's a change in policy.  I think I would refer you what the Secretary-General said in his latest report -- would be that it is his intention to do so.

  For the Panel that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon belatedly announced, Inner City Press on August 4 asked if they will travel to CAR to do any interviews. Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq insisted "that is nothing we could know in advance." Transcript below.

  On August 5, Inner City Press asked UN Peacekeeping's leader in CAR, Babacar Gaye, who said that the Panel had visited Bangui. So, UN Peacekeeping knew.

  Did only Ladsous' DPKO, in the UN Secretariat, know about this visit by the "independent" Panel? On August 6, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, as transcribed by Inner City Press, video here:

Inner City Press: Earlier in the week, I asked Farhan if the panel would travel to CAR, and he said there’s no way we would know. Yesterday Babacar Gaye said they have already traveled there. Does DPKO know where they’re traveling, and you don’t?

Spokesman Dujarric: I think the point is, I’m not keeping track of them, because they’re independent. So, they go wherever they need to go, they do whatever they need to do. They do what they need to do. Obviously, their travel needs to be arranged, there are logistical arrangements that they rely on us for. They’re not traveling on their own. There are logistical and security concerns I’m sure people know where they are going. But it is not my job to keep up with them and give you a play by play of who they’re talking to or where they’re going. We’ll see what they come up with ata the end and, as I said, we will share their report.
Inner City Press :Any update on the French prosecution of the individuals accused?

Spokesman Dujarric: No. I do not. My understanding is that that investigation is continuing.

 From the UN's August 4 transcript:

Inner City Press: Two questions about the Central African Republic.  One is just there was a study report, I guess, it came out on Friday by Amnesty International about the… this sort of forced conversion of Muslims in the Central African Republic and the fact that many of the people that left are basic… those were thought to come from Chadian or Sudanese grandparents are not returning.  I wanted to know if… I don’t know if you had some response or the UN had some response about how its mission can deal with those two issues.

And the other one has to do with the panel on the sexual… the allegations of the child sexual abuse in CAR by Sangaris.  I wanted to know if the panel… I know you’re going to say they’re independent, but there’s a… whether they are, in fact, going to travel to the country to do any interviews.  And the reason I’m asking is, what is their budget?  Where does the budget of the panel come from?  And what is the budget of the panel?

Deputy Spokesman:  At this stage, they are free to go about their work as they see fit.  They will submit figures on their budget once they’ve completed their work.  At this stage, it’s a work in progress.  We don’t have nor do we ask for details about what their work is going to be.  They will complete it, and then they will inform us of what their work is.  So whether it includes travel on the ground or not, that’s their call, and it’s nothing that we would learn in advance.

Regarding the Amnesty International report, of course, we’re concerned about the situation there.  You’ll have seen what our own human rights officers on the ground have been saying about the situation, and it’s a tremendous cause for concern, both the displacements and the sort of inter-community and inter-ethnic and interreligious violence that there’s been.

Inner City Press:  Could I just… to understand the budget issue.  Obviously, they’re supposed to pay for it out of their own pocket and get reimbursed, or how is the actual work of the panel being paid for currently?

Deputy Spokesman:  We have different accounts that can deal with expenses, such as unforeseen expenditures, like new panels.  Regarding what specific accounting they will do, that… you know, that will become clearer as… you know, once they’ve gone about their work, so we’ll have to wait and see what they submit for their budget.

   Now both the UN's outgoing -- gone -- "Ethics Officer" Dubinsky and the three person panel UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named to investigate are under fire. On July 31, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about... Ms. Dubinsky, the Ethics Officer contract extension, which would give her a lifetime pension, and the extension was given just as she discussed investigating Mr. Kompass on the Central African Republic rape allegations.  And I’m asking you this because the head of Aids-Free World and Code Blue, you say you respect, as well as the Government Accountability Project, both find that an extreme… extremely troubling timing and say that it calls for… demands Secretary-General Ban’s personal attention, the idea of a conflict of interest of giving $12,000 a year for life to the person that was investigating the whistle-blower of these rapes.  What’s your response?

Spokesman Dujarric:  Indeed, I ... very much respect the work that Ms. Dubinsky has been doing over the last five years.  I know the Secretary-General does as well.  This is her last day.  She’ll be retiring as of tomorrow... I think in accordance with UN staff regulations and staff rules, the authority for the selection of staff members at D-2 Level and above rests with the Secretary-General including the retention of staff members beyond the retirement age should the need arise.  The Secretary-General attaches great importance to the selection and appointment of senior managers as a priority seeks to have smooth transition during a change in leadership.  We’re not in a position to discuss individual staff members’ contracts.  The UN has an obligation to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of all staff records.  As I mentioned, her term ends today.  Again, the Secretary-General is grateful for her work.  And I think, you know, what is also of concern, I think, is the fact that some of her personal data was leaked, was leaked to the press and personal information concerning her.

Inner City Press:  Who’s the next Ethics Officer?  If the rationale for giving the extension was continuity…

Spokesman:  We hope to announce someone in due time.

Inner City Press:  Has she been spoken with by the panel on these rapes...

Spokesman:  I don’t know.  The panel is independent.  I’ve made it a point to have no contact with them unless asked to, and I won’t ask them who they plan to talk to.

Inner City Press:  And just finally, the Government Accountability Project, again a respected organization, has now said that two of the three panellists are not, in fact, independent because of the dangling of future UN appointments in front of the--

Spokesman:  I think the panel put together is an extraordinary panel.  I think everyone can always find something to argue with.  They are… they are people of great ethical standard.  They are people who have had great legal careers, have been outspoken human rights defenders, have done great reform work in the case of the Canadian Armed Forces.  I would ask people to judge the panel on its report and to be a little bit patient and see what they come up with.

  But there is an ever-growing pattern here.

  After BuzzFeed's Jina Moore documented that when an aid worker was allegedly raped inside UN Peacekeeping's Bentiu "Protection of Civilians" site in South Sudan, the UN system did little to nothing -- until on July 27, in transcribing Spokesman Stephane Dujarric's answer to Inner City Press' questions, the UN added in a parenthetical that Nobert did not work for the UN.

 On July 30, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about yet another case in this unfolding scandal, this one again involving one of Herve Ladsous' peacekeeping missions, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Video here.

From the UN's transcript:

Inner City Press: I’m sure you’ve seen the story in The Guardian, actually by one of our colleagues or former colleagues here, Roger, about the systematic rape by an air contractor of the MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission] in the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo].  And they basically say that there’s some pretty horrendous evidence or descriptions of what happened, that the UN kept paying the contractor after, with some idea of rehabilitating it.  But I wanted to ask you about, there was an OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] investigation of it, and it seems since it’s also a vendor, it obviously brings up this other… this case in Bentiu, which it was a vendor, and the UN said it could do nothing.  First, what can you say to those who say it’s pretty horrendous to continue to pay a contractor which raped an underage girl in the DRC?

Spokesman Dujarric:  What is…  What is horrendous is what happened to the victim and what was done to the victim by those two employees of UTair.  We go back to a story that was, in fact, reported, I think, when it happened a few years back.  Our understanding is that the contractors have been… at the time, were removed and fired from the company.  Both the DRC judicial authorities and the Russians were informed of the… of our investigation into the case.  As we explained in the article, a procedure was put in place at the time to monitor the vendor and the behaviour of the vendor and its staff.  That monitoring mechanism continues.  Every six months, it is reported to our colleagues in the Department of Management, who review it.

I think…  Again, I think the issue of vendors and contractors is a very legitimate one to explore.  Given the criticality of air support, there was a discussion among the Department of Management.  A system was put in place to ensure that this particular company was monitored and monitored on a regular basis, and that continues to do… we continue to do that.  The behaviour of our vendors and the staff that work for them should be at the same level of ethics and behaviour that we expect of our own staff, as they represent us.

Inner City Press:  And was there any accountability for the victims or victims in the DRC, was there actually any accountability, either criminal or civil?

Spokesman:  Again, those… the findings of the OIOS investigation, the UN investigation, were presented to both the DRC and to the Russian authorities, and I think you’d have to ask for them what happened on the criminal end.  As you know, we have no criminal authority.

Inner City Press: In the South Sudan case, where it was also an alleged rape by an employee of a vendor, was any information given to the authorities of either South Sudan…?

Spokesman:  I think we’re still… what happened to Megan Nobert is being looked into.  As I’ve said, both here and in interviews, she suffered horrendously, and our heart goes out to her.  The… you know, UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund], which was the agency that had the contract with the vendor for which her accuser… the alleged attacker worked for, was in contact with the vendor, got him removed.  I know our colleagues at UNICEF are absolutely appalled by what happened to Ms. Nobert.  And when I have more information, I’ll share it with you.

Question:  One final thing.  Do you see this as a pattern?  And two, for example, since it’s a UN system, did UNICEF impose any of these similar rehabilitation and reporting requirements on…


Spokesman:  Like I said, I don’t have all the facts surrounding this case.  I think, again, I would say that we expect…  I wouldn’t call it a pattern.  I think there are hundreds, if not more, of vendors and contractors that work on behalf of the UN who do a spectacular job, partner agencies, partner humanitarian NGOs [non-governmental organizations].  But we do expect anyone who works on behalf of the United Nations to behave to the same ethical standards.  I will…

Inner City Press: The pattern I was asking about is a pattern of a lack of accountability.  Because the UN is working in places that may have not very good… not… not very developed judicial systems and because the UN itself is immune…

[inaudible - the reference was to the UN shirking responsibility for introducing cholera into Haiti]

Spokesman:  I think it’s obviously something we need… it’s something we need to look at.  Our ability to prosecute people criminally is obviously not there.  It’s up to national… either the authority where the crime took place or the citizenship of where the people worked."

  Shouldn't the UN provide some protection and accountability for aid workers in the employ of non-governmental organizations funded by the UN system, particularly inside UN "protection" camps like that in Bentiu?

 Given the vendor issue in both the DRC and South Sudan cases, Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access opines that it would have been better if the Guardian had linked to BuzzFeed on South Sudan in its otherwise good story.

 On July 28, Inner City Press asked the UN's top humanitarian, Emergency Relief Coodinatory Stephen O'Brien, about the case. Video here. O'Brien said he had recently been in the Bentiu camp but, not speaking specifically of the case he said he did not know, to his credit he said that facts should be looked into and investigated. But will they be?

  Minutes later Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric why such an investigation was not done in this case -- did it turn on the fact that the alleged victim did not work for the UN system but for a UN fundee? Video here.

   The UN to its July 27 transcript added, "[The Spokesman later clarified that Ms. Nobert did not work directly for the UN. She was employed by an NGO doing contract work for a UN agency.]" Compare to actual briefing, video here.

  She worked for Nonviolent Peaceforce, which received a $1 million grant from UNICEF for child protection in South Sudan, click here for that.

  Not only did UN spokesman Dujarric refuse to identify UNICEF, run by former US government official Anthony Lake, as the UN agency which did not act on the alleged rape, except to provide "contact information" of the contractor -- UNICEF, which was in charge of the bore hole drilling in which the alleged rapist was engaged, has not directly responded on the scandal.

   Nonviolent Peaceforce, meanwhile, has simply published an advertisement for a(nother) "Senior Programme Manager, Nonviolent Peaceforce, South Sudan," here.

  The alleged rapist, named as Amed Asmail, seems to also be called Ahmad Ismail, whose Facebook page here pictures him playing music, listing in his bio working with "South Sudan -Life For Construction."

 Inner City Press on July 27 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric what accountability there is when UN agency personnel themselves are raped. Video here, and embedded below.

  Dujarric began by calling it a horrendous act - then said that what the UN system did was give the victim the contact information of the contractor. But, Inner City Press asked, since Sudan-based Life for Construction has let the alleged rapist Amed Asmail's contract expire, how will this "contact information" help the victim?

  Dujarric declined to even identify the agency, which used public funds to contract for water bore holes for the Bentiu camp; when Inner City Press asked if it was UNICEF or IOM, he cut the question off. Video here.

  What we can report is that UNICEF, nearly always in charge of the water cluster for the UN system, said on its website in April 2014, here, that UNICEF

"has maintained staff in Bentiu and is rapidly responding to the urgent needs, drilling new boreholes for water, and today flying in parts for the construction of new latrines. However, UNICEF said it remains hindered by a lack of funding and access."

  UNICEF also sat on reports of the sexual abuse of children in Central African Republic; we'll have more on this.

For now, here's this, and now UN's transcript of briefing - a [parenthetical] was later added, highlighted below in bold:

Question:  Sure.  Questions on Burundi but I wanted to ask you something, you may have anticipated coming.  It was a story which was on Friday on BuzzFeed, quite detailed, about an aid worker in the UNMISS camp (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) in Bentiu, who alleges that she was raped by a UN vendor or contractor working for Life For Construction.  Basically the gist of the article is that the UN did absolutely nothing and OIOS (Office of Internal Oversight Services) said they could not investigate and there are no recording or reports of sexual abuse or exploitation by vendors anywhere in the UN, DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) or other systems.  So I wanted to know, what is your response to it?  What does the UN owe people in its protection of civilian camps if they are raped there, and why was nothing done in this case?

     Spokesman:  Well, I think this was clearly a horrendous act and I think people who work, aid workers, humanitarian workers, who work within UN camps are owed the best possible protection, that's clear.  In this particular case, the agency for which Ms. Nobert worked is greatly concerned for the well-being and safety and security of all those working with it to deliver humanitarian assistance anywhere in the world and it took these particular allegations very seriously. 
[The Spokesman later clarified that Ms. Nobert did not work directly for the UN. She was employed by an NGO doing contract work for a UN agency.] When it became clear that the person accused of the attack on Ms. Nobert was, in fact, an employee of a company hired to undertake work for the agency and not an UN staff member, the agency concluded it was not a position to conduct an investigation into the alleged actions of that person itself.  All of the agencies private contractors are aware of the high standard of conduct the agency accepts from their staff and the agency gave Ms. Nobert the contact details of the employer of the person accused of attacking her, so that she could take her complaint directly to the company.  The agency also instructed the company to remove the individual immediately from any project involving the agency.  

However, given the highly sensitive nature of the allegations, the agency had to respect both the need for Ms. Nobert to raise her very serious complaint with those who can take actions and the rights of the accused person for due process.  It therefore did not share the specific nature of the complaint with the contractor, allowing Ms. Nobert to decide on how and when she wanted to do that.

The agency concerned believes that in this complex circumstance it did the best it could to support Ms. Nobert, to take her complaint forward.  I think it's clear that, in any of these cases, we also need to take a look how we responded and how we can do better in responding to horrendous cases like this one.

     Question:  Thus seems to imply… obviously, Life for Construction, they have already terminated the individual, so there is no more relationship between them. So is there… what is the UN saying is the accountability mechanism for this alleged rape?  And, two, you keep saying the agency. Was the agency in charge of boring water holes in the Bentiu camp?  Was it UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), was it IOM (International Organization for Migration)?  Which agency are you speaking of?

     Spokesman:  As the article makes clear, Ms. Nobert specifically requested the agencies she had contacts with shall not be named and we will respect her wishes.

     Question:  Who is in charge of boring the water holes?

     Spokesman:  That is what I have to share with you and, if I have, more I will share with you.

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