UN: ‘Rapid’ justice done in Haiti UN rape crime

Mar 21, 2012, 5:48 PM

Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The United Nations dealt out “rapid” justice to two Pakistani U.N. peacekeeping policemen sentenced to a year in prison with hard labor after a rare trial in Haiti found them guilty of sexual abuse and exploitation, a U.N. police official said Wednesday.

But U.N. peacekeeping police adviser Ann-Marie Orler refused to comment on whether a one-year sentence was severe enough punishment for the men.

Amnesty International last week called the one-year sentence for raping a 14-year-old boy, doled out by a Pakistani military court, a “travesty of justice” and called for public trials in such cases.

“In this, case, we immediately dispatched a team to go there and investigate this case really urgently. In this case, we actually got justice. I will not comment on the sentence itself, but justice was done in a very rapid manner,” Orler told reporters.

The two Pakistani police officers were convicted by a Pakistani military court in the Haitian port city of Gonaives and were discharged. No U.N. personnel or Haitian officials were present for the trial, U.N. spokeswoman Sylvie Van Den Wildenberg said last week in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.

It was the first time that troops from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym of Minustah, have been tried and sentenced within the country.

U.N. authorities also were told that Pakistan intends to compensate the victims but has not determined the amount, Van Den Wildenberg said.

The trial came just months after six Uruguayan troops with the U.N. peacekeeping force in Haiti were accused of abusing a young Haitian man. The case was referred to the Uruguayan judicial system.

The cases have done little to improve relations between the U.N. and some Haitians who view the mission as an occupying force.

Tensions between the world body and Haiti were exacerbated after a peacekeeping unit from Nepal was blamed for introducing cholera to the Caribbean nation in the months following the January 2010 earthquake. The outbreak has killed more than 7,000 people and sickened more than 526,000 others, Haitian health officials say.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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UN: ‘Rapid’ justice done in Haiti UN rape crime