HAITI: Two UN Peacekeepers Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Teenage Haitian Boy

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Antigua Observer.com
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security

A Pakistani military tribunal has convicted two United Nations peacekeepers for raping a 14-year-old Haitian boy.

U.N. spokeswoman Sylvie Van Den Wildenberg said judges from a Pakistani military tribunal came to Haiti to hold the trial that resulted in the conviction last week of the peacekeepers from pakistan. They were found guilty in the rape of the boy in the northern city of Gonaives on January 20.

Haitian Justice Minister, Michel Brunache called the verdict for the two Pakistanis a “small” step in the right direction.

“We expected more from the U.N. and the Pakistani government, but now we want to focus on the proper reparation that the victim deserves,” Brunache said, adding that the government had not been given prior knowledge of the visit of the tribunal members.

The two unidentified soldiers were summarily discharged from the military and sentenced to a year behind bars in their homeland.

“The U.N. was informed last week by the Pakistani officials about the verdict, but MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) did not have any involvement in the military judicial process that was led by military judges from Pakistan,” she added.

UN officials said it is the first time that members of the UN military on deployment in Haiti have been tried and sentenced within its borders.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission has faced a growing image problem in Haiti, with some of its members accused of responsibility for introducing a deadly cholera epidemic in earthquake-stricken country in 2010.

Several peacekeepers have also been accused of rape in cases that have fuelled public protests and demands that members of the U.N. force be stripped of their immunity and face trial in Haitian courts.