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UN Police Who Fled Haiti Probed by Canada After 7 Months, Co-Location in Darfur?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 21 -- For one hour on Thursday, the guests in the UN press briefing room were Stefan Feller, the UN Police Adviser, and Hester Panera, the commissioner of UN Police in Darfur.

  Inner City Press asked Feller about accountability, specifically, a UN Police officer who after being charged with sexual abuse and exploitation in Haiti fled by plane to Canada. Inner City Press asked about this past in April and was told "DPKO says that the case is still under investigation by the Canadian authorities."

  Feller on Thursday did follow through, like his Police Adviser predecessor Marie Orler, and provide a response to Inner City Press' question.

   But the answer, through Police Division Communications Officer Zoe Mentel, is: "Regarding the case you asked the Police Adviser about this morning, we did check into this matter and it is currently under investigation with the police-contributing country."

   That's seven months after Inner City Press was given in essence the same answer. UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous has allowed the Congolese Army to go a full year on the 135 rapes in Minova by the 41st and 391st Battalions, to which the UN provides support. Often the excuse in DRC is lack of resources.

   But Canada? Some might wonder if the hope isn't just that the case goes away. But that is not accountability; it is not transparency or the rule of law. Given the wider UN's attempt to evade substantial charges of bringing cholera to Haiti, MINUSTAH's reputation is already in question in the country. The questions will continue.

  Of Hester Paneras, Police Commissioner for UNAMID in Darfur, Inner City Press asked about freedom of movement, particularly to Jebel Marra.

  Hester Paneras replied that there are issues but the are being worked through, for example in an upcoming conference on November 27 involving authorities from the five states as well as from Khartoum.

  She acknowledged that there has not been access to Jebel Marra since 2011, but said that is being worked on too. She mentioned possible "co-location" with Sudanese police. There is a whole other question, about the UN getting too closely aligned, as with the Minova rapes, with questionable national forces, and becoming a party to the conflict. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.


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