Monday, April 11, 2016

On Rwanda, UN Is Done With Self-Criticism, Pushes Out Those Who Even Ask

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 11 -- Twenty two years after the genocide in Rwanda, several UN officials commemorated the date on April 11, with hardly an acknowledgment of the UN's failure then and since.
  One of the speakers recalled that peacekeepers left 2,200 Tutsis to be killed in a school in Kigali. Another recounted her mother's head being cut off. After some heartfelt singing, Rwandan Ambassador and Minister Gasana closed it off, diplomatically offering thanks. 
Inner City Press, which in previous years has covered this events from the floor or media photo booth, was this year confined to the visitors' section of the General Assembly, by a retaliatory UN decision that has yet to be reversed. 

 This year in the photo booths of the GA there was no other media. Today's UN says they care about these events, then throw out the only media which covers them.  Striving for now to be diplomatic, what follow is Inner City Press' write up of the memorial last year in 2015, when Inner City Press had the access to which it should be restored:
UN Peacekeeping remains under the thumb of Herve Ladsous, who in 1994 acting as France's Ambassador in the UN Security Council argued for the escape of the Hutu genocidaires into Eastern Congo. See Ladsous' memo here, put online by Inner City Press. 
On April 7, 2015 the French Presidency said it would declassify some documents. But will those like Ladsous', and more, be released? Why?
  Notably, Ladsous has banned UN support to a military offensive to “neutralize” the heirs of the genocide, the Hutu FDLR militia. Ladsous refuses Press questions on this -- so on April 7 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, transcribe herevideo here:
Inner City Press: A follow-up on this question of the twenty-first anniversary of the Rwanda genocide.  I saw the statement by the Special Envoy in the Great Lakes, Said Djinnit, basically saying the FDLR [Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda] should be defeated.  What can you say about the seeming contradiction, despite these various statements of how important it is to eliminate the FDLR, the decision relatively at the last minute by MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] or the Force Intervention Brigade and DPKO [Ladsous' Department of Peacekeeping Operations] not to participate against the FDLR?  And does it make it less likely they, in fact, will be defeated and will continue?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I think MONUSCO and our peacekeeping colleagues have very good reasons not to participate in that… in that.  This is an issue that the Congolese Government also needs to deal with.  And I think we had good reasons not to participate.

Inner City Press:  The reason I'm asking about the contradictions is it seems this same human rights due diligence policy was explicitly waived in the case of pursuing the Lord's Resistance Army and was, at least in some people's mind, seemingly waived or delayed in the case of the Minova rapes.  So it seems for this to be the one invocation of it as regards to the group that's basically the successor to the genocidaires.

Spokesman:  I think you and I can agree to have different views on this
  This too: Ladous has twice had his spokesmen physically remove the UNTV microphone from Inner City Press, which asked. 
 On April 6 it was claimed that Ladsous' spokesman was pointing to another journalist as Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press' questions - but he grabbed the microphone, as happened before, here.
  Among documents put online on April 6, 2015 was the Mucyo Commission report, which says of the Security Council advocacy involving Ladsous that in the Security Council, the French Ambassador “did a lot of lobbying with the the Member States of the Council to avoid the Security Council's use of the expression 'genocide.'” Page 179,here.
  But the documents released jump from June 1994 to 1998, thus missingthis Ladsous memo. Pre-selected coverage, focused on US Bill Clinton, John Shattuck, Prudence Bushnell and Joyce Leader and UK David Hannay, omits this link to current events at the UN as well. We'll have more on this.
 When today's UN Peacekeepers are determined, by the UN itself, to have shot at civilians by using inappropriate force, what accountability is there? None, with Herve Ladsous atop UN Peacekeeping. But even the supposed reporting in the incidents is inconsistent.
  On Mali, after Ladsous' MINUSMA reached side deals with the MNLA rebels about Tabankort, there was a protest in Gao.
  UN Police ultimately under Ladsous' command shot and killed three civilians. In this case, because the Malian government wanted an investigation of the killing of protesters which supported its positition, the UN did an investigation and at least released a summary. (Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press' questions including about the roots of the protest, his mission's deal with the MNLA in Tabankort.)
   But in Haiti, where Ladsous' peacekeeping mission was filmed shooting at protesters who oppose Michel Martelly, the report has not even been summarized. MINUSTAH chief Sandra Honore told Inner City Press the report is finished and "with DPKO" - that is Ladsous. But no summary is being released. Ladsous refused Inner City Press' question about this, and scribes ignored that these are two incidents of shooting unarmed civilians, in two countries, under Ladsous. Who is responsible?
   Vine here. These questions took place at the UN Security Council stakeout, but Reuters and Agence France Presse did not mention it, only blaming Rwanda. Both previously tried to censor Inner City Press coverage of Ladsous and French colonialism, to the extent of moving to ask the UN to throw Inner City Press out.
Which approach is journalism?
AFP wasn't even AT this stakeout - Ladous sought to avoid questions by repeating his talking points in French, but no AFP. Then Reuters told UNTV to give it the microphone, to ask about Rwanda. Ladsous leered. Then a retired Reuters reporter was pointed at by Ladsous' spokesman Nick Birnback, who then grabbed the UNTV microphone to take it away from Inner City Press.

On April 2 Ladsous appeared at the UN Security Council media stakeout but after reading a prepared statement refused to answer Press questions about the underlying Tabankort agreement with the MNLA which led to the Mali shooting. Video I here.

  Inner City Press also asked about shooting at civilians by Ladsous' peacekeepers in Haiti, caught on video, and asked if that withheld report would be released. Ladsous said, I do not respond to you. Video II here.

  Inner City Press asked if it isn't now a pattern, peacekeepers shooting at unarmed civilians not only in Mali but also Haiti, and if Ladsous will take responsibility.
  Ladsous' spokesman Nicholas Birnback then grabbed the UNTV microphone and moved it away from Inner City Press. This happened before with Ladsous and his previous spokesman. Video herestory here. At that time, after the Free UN Coalition for Access complained, the UN Spokesperson told FUNCA it would not happen again. Now it has. Accountability?
 Tellingly, the Ladsous scribe who angled for and got the first question asked pointedly if the peacekeepers in Mali weren't from Rwanda. Ladsous leered and said the Troop Contributing Country, then spoke again at the end to lay the blame on them. Video II, here, near end.
  In the public record is Ladsous' 1994 memo supporting the escape of the Hutu genocidaires who formed the FDLR into Eastern Congo, where now Ladsous' MONUSCO finds one excuse after another NOT to neutralize the FDLR as it did the largely Tutsi M23 armed group.
  Accountability? Video here.
  Inner City Press, which has been asking the UN Spokesperson - sinceUN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous refuses Press questions -- about the killings since they occurred in January, on April 2 asked UN spokesperson Farhan Haq if the report will be made public, and if any verdict or sentence against the peacekeepers would be made public. Haq did not say yes to either.
  A report on Ladsous' peacekeepers in Haiti firing at unarmed demonstrators hasn't even been summarized, much less released.
As to the killings by peacekeepers in Gao, Haq would not even publicly state the nationality of the peacekeepers. Talk about impunity. He said the Ladsous will briefing the Security Council -- behind closed doors, of course -- about the report, then will come to the UNTV stakeout. But Ladsous refuses Press questions, on his cover up of rapes in DR Congo and Darfur and every other question. Video hereVine here
This is a new low in UNaccountability.
 Here is the UN's summary as read-out by Haq, video to follow:

The Inquiry launched by the Secretary-General to determine the facts surrounding the violent demonstration that took place on 27 January 2015 in Gao, Mali, in front of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) Regional Headquarters has submitted its report.

The Inquiry determined that members of a MINUSMA Formed Police Unit used unauthorized and excessive force on civilian protesters during the demonstration, resulting in the death by gunfire of three protesters and the wounding of four others.

The Inquiry also established that some protesters and organisers of the demonstration bear responsibility for the violence of the protest, which included Molotov cocktails, stone throwing and attempts to breach the perimeter of the Regional MINUSMA Headquarters in Gao. The Inquiry noted that MINUSMA security forces were left to face the protesters on their own in violation of the Status of Forces Agreement with the host country. Five MINUSMA police officers were wounded during the event.

The Secretary-General profoundly regrets the casualties among civilians resulting from the excessive use of force during this event by the MINUSMA personnel concerned.  He condemns it as a violation of the MINUSMA Directive on the Use of Force. The Secretary-General is committed to ensuring that the responsible individuals are held fully accountable for their actions.

Steps are being taken in this regard with the authorities of Mali and the relevant police-contributing country. The Secretary-General encourages the Government of Mali to take the appropriate steps to prevent future such incidents.  Communications, management and crisis procedures within MINUSMA will also be examined to prevent the recurrence of such acts.

The Secretary-General is committed to ensuring justice for the victims and their families according to local customs and appropriate United Nations procedures. MINUSMA is in contact with the local authorities and with the individuals and families concerned in this regard.

On behalf of the United Nations, the Secretary-General expresses his deepest apologies to the victims and their families.

The United Nations, and MINUSMA in particular, remain committed to supporting the stabilisation of Mali.