Monday, May 25, 2015

Campaign Launched to Prosecute UN Sex Offenders

Earlier this month, international advocacy group AIDS Free world launched a campaign to end impunity for UN personnel who commit rape on peacekeeping missions. This is not a new problem by any means, as peacekeepers have been accused of abuse in several African nations over the past couple of decades, and it was recently revealed that French troops committed systematic rape on children in the Central African Republic during a peacekeeping mission. The reason this keeps occurring is because the law protects perpetrators as long as they work for the international body, meaning that no peacekeeping forces may be prosecuted by the country in which they commit abuse. Only the nation that the peacekeeping troops belong to have the authority to prosecute them for crimes while on duty, but countries have rarely handed out repercussions for soldiers committing rape. In order to prevent such abuses from further occurring in the future, the UN must eliminate laws that grant perpetrators immunity. Putting pressure on countries to prosecute their offenders may turn out to be a good collective way to solve the problem.

What is the most suitable way to approach this issue?


John Graham said...

Like you said, I don't think that there is any perfect solution to a problem this obscene. I think that it is ridiculous that there is nothing being done so far, and that there is impunity for international UN peacekeepers in the first place. They are obviously using this as a loophole to commit these acts and I think that it is necessary to allow these countries to persecute those committing crimes within their borders. Of course, some nations have laws that are ridiculous and the peacekeepers shouldn't have to abide by them. However, something serious to any reasonable human being such as rape shouldn't be taken so lightly. It is simply a matter of which crimes should be punishable by the country in which they were committed.

Ben Maison said...

Creation of a small committee to log and address such violations by the volunteer force may be the best way to handle it. The committee would take reports of such indecent acts and pass them on to the volunteer's country in order to oil the system. This way the committee would act to facilitate a justice system (at the very least, better than the one that's in place right now). Amending the rules to allows the peacekeep'd country to sue means that such holes will be can be abused by local politicians or really anyone who wants the peacekeepers out of their way..

Eddie Huang said...

To elaborate on Ben's point about the issue of allowing local governments to prosecute peacekeepers, those rules were initially put in place for that reason: to prevent local governments from using the threat of unjust prosecution to punish peacekeepers for doing their job, and opening the doors to allow peacekeepers to be prosecuted for sex offenses, while on the surface seems completely rational, the current lack of prosecutorial power exists for a reason.

As a result, reform should be more focused on getting countries to hold their own peacekeepers responsible for their actions. Ben's suggestion presents a step forward in that direction; one that both allows peacekeepers discretion to do their job without having to fear abuse of power by local authorities, and holds them accountable for any inappropriate actions they may take.