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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/15/13

Arms and the Man: Who is Chief UN Peacekeeper Herve Ladsous?

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(Article changed on September 15, 2013 at 23:38)

Memo Shows Ladsous Defended Refuge for Rwanda Genocidaires & Radio Mille Colline ~~Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press 

Why is the man who was France's second in command at the United Nations during the Rwandan genocide, while France was actively engaged in arms smuggling to the genocidaires, now in charge of UN peacekeeping? Can he reasonably be trusted with peacekeeping in the tinder boxes of Central Africa and the Middle East? Are Herve Ladsous's hands clean? 

Almost 20 years after the fact, no one wants to revisit the horrors of April 1994. However, a refocusing of the lens of history is necessary.

Who is Herve Ladsous?

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed French national Herve Ladsous as Under Secretary General of the UN for Peacekeeping Operations in September of 2011. The guidelines for the execution of this office are embodied in this 2008 document, which is referred to as peacekeeping "doctrine" in diplomatic circles. While the UN is traditionally considered as the international organization charged with peacekeeping in conflict areas, dig deeper into the "doctrine" and find a series of Venn diagrams and political obfuscations linking peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peace building. The subtitle "Linkages and Grey Areas" offers the optional mandate for the UN to participate in conflict.  

In elaborate language tied to this "linkage," this doctrine not only allows for UN actions to be carried out by "non-United Nations actors," but also authorizes the UN to "use force at the tactical level, with the authorization of the Security Council, to defend themselves and their mandate, particularly in situations where the State is unable to provide security and maintain public order."  

As noted here:  

While robust peacekeeping involves the use of force at the tactical level with the consent of the host authorities and/or the main parties to the conflict, peace enforcement may involve the use of force at the strategic or international level, which is normally prohibited for Member States under Article 2 (4) of the Charter unless authorized by the Security Council.

And it is this loophole; at least in the example of the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa, that has caused nothing but ongoing misery. This misery and slaughter can be traced back to the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and bizarre and deadly "peacekeeping" efforts led by the French while Ladsous was France's Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative (DPR) to the United Nations. 

The Security Council, with Ladsous at the helm as chief peacekeeper, approved an unprecedented "Force Intervention Brigade" with a mandate of neutralizing armed groups in Eastern Congo. "To date, the FIB has only targeted the M23 rebels, and not the FDLR which is linked to the genocide in Rwanda," writes Lee. 

Unbelievably, given the historical record, France is considered the "penholder" on the Democratic Republic of Congo. This term refers to the delegation that is the author of the first draft of a resolution.

As noted here:   

The permanent representative is the head of a permanent mission. He/she has the same rank as an ambassador. The deputy permanent representative (DPR) is the number 2 of the mission.

This title puts Ladsous squarely in the middle of Security Council discussions, decisions, action, and lack of action that led to the massacre of up to one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994. It also puts Ladsous in the build-up to the genocide in which France was actively involved in arming and training Hutu Interahamwe (the militia wing of President Juvenal Habyarimana's Hutu ruling party) genocidaires.  

Genocide Memorial Ntarama Chrurch Rwanda (2009)
Genocide Memorial Ntarama Chrurch Rwanda (2009)
(Image by Georgianne Nienaber)
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Genocide Memorial Ntarama Chrurch Rwanda (2009) by Georgianne Nienaber

In recent months, and during the new tenure of Ladsous as head peacekeeper (DPKO), the United Nations has been involved in a series of atrocities, including the recent bombing and killing of innocent villagers, as well as mass rapes in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo at Minova. These atrocities have been either under-reported, not reported at all, or ignored once they have been reported. Ladsous has consistently refused to answer questions.


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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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