By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS: During the Rwanda genocide, Herve Ladsous as France’s deputy permanent representative was asked to stop protecting the genocidaires in the zone set up by the Fernch Operation Turquoise, and to stop the calls to murder from Radio Milles Collines.
As Ladsous was deposited by France as its fourth chief of UN Peacekeeping in row, Inner City Press asked if this was appropriate, given Ladsous’ past and the need for UN Peacekeeping to be and appear to be impartial in Eastern Congo. Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press’ questions, then and since.
While we have previously linked to Ladsous’ statements in the Security Council at that time, today we link to a French confidential diplomatic cable from Ladsous, bragging how he refuted — falsely — that the Zone was being used as base for military and political (Radio RTML) attacks.
Given his history, how was this man accepted to head UN Peacekeeping? Why was he allowed to refuse questions, to the point of having his spokesman seize the UN Television microphone to avoid Inner City Press questions about 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, Ladsous’ partners?
After the microphone seizing, the UN Department of Public Information was immediately notified by the Free UN Coalition for Access. But nothing was said; months later, DPI official Stephane Dujarric said that he spoke quietly to Ladsous’ spokesman about it.
But the refusal to answer has continued, and the handing of half answers by Ladsous’ DPKO and the UN spokespeople to Agence France Presse and other compliant media, including Reuters’ Louis Charbonneau.
AFP’s Tim Witcher went so far as to file a complaint on March 8, 2013 with UN Security against Inner City Press for asking Ladsous about the rapes in Minova, which battalions were involved, a question the UN still refuses to answer.
Ladsous openly refuses to answer questions; his spokespeople and now the UN’s openly spoon-feed half answers to other media. This is the result.
Ladsous’ cover-up and long inaction on the Minova rapes, totally outside of his previous history, has put the UN and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in more negative light. In a normal organization, the way to proceed would be clear. But at the UN, France “owns” Peacekeeping.
At what point, with regard to Mali for example, does the decay of UN Peacekeeping under Ladsous hurt even France itself? Watch this site.