Saturday, March 5, 2016

More talk about UN peacekeeper discipline

UN Under Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare has given an important interview about measures to counter misconduct by peacekeepers. According to this UN account, stronger disciplinary measures are a key part of the plan:
The presence of UN-led immediate response teams will also be strengthened, so that as soon as a complaint is received, evidence can be quickly collected and preserved for national investigators. As the UN does not have criminal jurisdiction, these investigators are expected to be appointed by the perpetrator’s country within a 10-day time limit of the alleged crime, and to have completed their investigations within six months.
“In cases where a particularly egregious offense has taken place, say for the rape of a child, then we will request that this period be shortened by half – appointing an investigator within five days, and completing the investigation within three months,” the senior official underlined.
The Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon] has also requested that Member States obtain DNA samples from uniformed personnel who have been accused. Furthermore, if a country fails to investigate, Mr. Ban has proposed that its peacekeepers no longer be deployed to work under the UN flag. In addition, a very strong vetting mechanism has already been established, by which the Organization can verify the criminal past of prospective peacekeepers.
“Disciplinary measures have been strengthened since last year,” the Under-Secretary-General stressed, pointing out that not only will perpetrators be repatriated, but commanders are also at risk of being sent home “for not being strong enough in their command and control.”
The United States is pressing the Security Council for stronger action on peacekeeper misconduct, according to this report in The New York Times.
The U.N. has over 100,000 peacekeepers serving in some of the world's most volatile and poverty-stricken areas. 
The [UN] report identified the peacekeepers accused of abuse as coming from Congo, South Africa, Morocco, Tanzania, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Benin, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Solvakia, Niger, Moldova and Togo. 
Over half of the allegations were made in two of the U.N.'s 16 missions: 22 against peacekeepers in the Central African Republic and 16 in Congo.

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