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UN peacekeepers get one-year sentence for rape

Published:Thursday | March 22, 2012 | 9:48 AM

CMC — The United Nations on Wednesday jailed two Pakistani UN peacekeeping policemen for a year with hard labour, after a military court found them guilty of sexual abuse and exploitation of a teenage boy, a UN official told journalists.

UN peacekeeping police adviser Ann-Marie Orler confirmed the sentence was imposed on the men as a case of rapid justice delivered.

Orler told reporters that they immediately dispatched a team to Haiti and investigate this case really urgently.

She said she would not comment on the sentence itself, but justice was done in a very rapid manner.

She refused to be drawn on comments by the global human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, which questioned whether a one-year sentence was severe enough punishment for the men who raped a 14-year-old boy.

Amnesty International last week called the one-year sentence, issued by a Pakistani military court, a "travesty of justice" and called for public trials in such cases.

UN spokesperson said neither United Nations nor Haitian authorities were present for the trial, held in the city of Gonaives.

It is the first such criminal proceeding for UN peacekeepers, who serve under the MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Six Uruguayan peacekeepers, accused of abusing a young Haitian man last year, were referred to the Uruguayan judicial system.

Under UN treaty, a member country is entitled to investigate and try its nationals from crimes they commit as UN peacekeepers.

Pakistan has told the UN it will compensate the victims but has not determined the amount.

The case has further highlighted deep divisions between the United Nations ‘blue helmets’ and the Haitian people, many of whom see them as little more than a foreign occupying force.

Haitians blame a peacekeeping unit from Nepal for introducing cholera shortly after the January 2010 earthquake.