The UN Dispute tribunal has ordered the United Nations to immediately lift the suspension of a whistleblower who disclosed the alleged sexual abuse of children by peacekeeping troops in Africa to the French authorities.
The judge said that the decision to suspend Anders Kompass, the director of field operations for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, was “prima facie unlawful” and ordered the UN to lift his suspension immediately to prevent further damage to his reputation.
Kompass leaked an internal UN report on the alleged sexual abuse of children by French troops in Central African Republic to French prosecutors last summer. The French immediately mounted an investigation and revealed last week they were investigating up to 14 soldiers for alleged abuse.
In his statement to the UN dispute tribunal, Kompass stated that he informed his boss – the deputy high commissioner – last July that he had leaked the report in order for the French to mount an investigation. The UN disputes this.
Nine months later on 17 April this year, he was suspended by the high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and put under investigation for leaking confidential information – including the names of victims and staff members who conducted the interviews with the children.
The confidential internal report leaked by Kompass contained interviews by a UN official and a member of Unicef with a number of children, aged between eight and 15, who say they were sexually abused at a camp for internally displaced people in Bangui, the capital of CAR, by French troops last year.
The order of the dispute tribunal on Wednesday means Kompass’s suspension will be lifted temporarily while an internal management review takes place into the handling of the case.