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Haitian sexual abuse troops remain unpunished

Sri Lankan troops who were expelled from Haiti, after allegations that they sexually abused Haitian minors in 2007, may still remain unpunished after the UN said the onus was on Sri Lanka to prosecute them.

111 soldiers and 3 officers were repatriated back to Sri Lanka after being part of UN mission in Haiti and were accused of a string of sexual assaults, including rape of children as young as 7 years old.

Responding to questions from Inner City Press, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky, could not say if any of the soldiers had been prosecuted stating,

"As you also know, there are rather extensive records kept on allegation cases, and then the follow up, it is as I have said on a number of occasions, including today, it is a matter for the troop-contributing countries; it’s a matter for them; it’s their sovereign responsibility.  And it is under their national legislation.  That doesn’t mean that the United Nations is not interested; and doesn’t follow up, but it does fall within the jurisdiction of national authorities."

Nesirky then went on to emphasise that the UN held a “zero tolerance policy” on the role of peacekeepers. 

However, a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council meeting in October 2011 by "Let Haiti Live" and other organisations, which alleged the actions of the Sri lankan troops constituted both war crimes and crimes against humanity, stated,

Despite the promises to investigate and prosecute the crimes in Sri Lanka, no information is readily available on the status of the investigation or prosecution there either.

The organizations producing this report were unable to obtain further information upon inquiry to Sri Lankan officials. Nor is there any information on the extent to which the GOH has sought information on these statuses.

The results of any investigations that might occur are certainly not made known to Haitian victims, thereby precluding possibility of reparative damages or sense of justice for these crimes.

See our earlier posts:

Haitian lawyers condemn impunity for Sri Lankan soldiers (11 Sep 2011)

UN confirms sex charges against Sri Lankan troops in Haiti child abuse (09 Apr 2008)

Rape by Sri Lankan troops resurfaces – in Haiti (07 Nov 2007)