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As UN Tells ICP It Repatriated 17 in 2012 for Sexual Abuse, Grace Period?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 20, updated – The day after the UN told Inner City Press it had “substantiated” three sexual exploitation or abuse cases against its Peacekeeping personnel in 2012, with 30 investigations still pending, Inner City Press asked for specifics on the three cases.

  Were the perpetrators repatriated, sent back to their countries? Were they prosecuted there?

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky replied that “it's for the countries from which those people came to give details on what happens when those people return home. I'm trying to get more about those three cases.”

After the noon briefing, Spokesman Nesirky's office sent this to Inner City Press:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Subject: Your questions at today's noon briefing
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Regarding repatriations of UN peacekeepers: In 2012, it was determined that nine police and eight military personnel would be repatriated on disciplinary grounds and barred from participating in future field missions in connection with 13 substantiated allegations received in 2012 or earlier*.

  So why were TEN “substantiated” cases from before 2012 left unacted on until 2012? [See additional UN response, and UK comment, below.]

  Just as Inner City Press has identified a “rape grace period” in UN Peacekeeping chief's inaction on the 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army he partners with -- until the Congolese investigation is completed, though Ladsous said the UN knows the identity of most of the perpetrators -- is there a “grace period” for UN personnel?

   In fact, the way the question is answered one cannot know if any of the 2012 perpetrators of substantiated abuse were repatriated: all thirteen could come from previous years.

   On Ladsous' most recent report on the Congo, Inner City Press asked how to square the report's claim that support to Congo's Army was in full compliance with Ban's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy with Ladsous saying that the UN knows the identity of Minova perpetrators but hasn't barred anyone.

  Nesirky replied that “Mr. Ladsous has squared it when answered your question. There is an investigation underway."

   Nesirky referred to due process -- not mentioned by Ladsous when he said the UN knows the identities of most of the perpetrators -- and then Nesirky said “you need to know... if alleged offenses actually took place.”

   But the UN has repeatedly said 126 rapes occurred in Minova, between November 20 and 22, 2012. Now three months later, the UN says it can't know if anything happened?

  This goes beyond a grace period. Watch this site.

Update: at 4 pm, the UN provided a further response, as well as one below from the UK Mission to the UN.

From the UN: "In addition to our previous information to you about repatrations of peacekeepers, we would like to add that the number of investigations and actions per year vary and do not necessarily correspond to the allegations received in that same year."

From spokesperson Iona Thomas of the UK Mission to the UN:

“The UK strongly condemns sexual exploitation and abuse carried out by UN Peacekeepers.  We welcome the procedures in place to investigate all allegations as part of the UN’s zero tolerance policy.  
“The UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative aims to address the culture of impunity surrounding the use of sexual violence in conflict, and to improve support for survivors. This will involve deploying teams of experts to assist survivors and support local capacity in, for example, areas bordering Syria, Libya, the DRC, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mali.  We are also working in close collaboration with the Office of the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict to identify additional countries where our team of experts can helpfully be deployed.”

  The UK as a permanent member of the Security Council is in position to make sure the UN acts appropriately -- even, lives up to its own claimed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy -- with regard to the 126 FARDC rapes in Minova. Watch this site.

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