UN Investigating Panel on Allegations of Sexual Abuse in CAR

Photos: BINUCA/Balepe Mokosso Dany

Photos: BINUCA/Balepe Mokosso Dany

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a panel to investigate the UN response to allegations of sexual abuse surrounding a deployment of foreign military forces in the Central African Republic (CAR). The three-member independent investigation panel is headed by Former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps, the ICTR and MICT Prosecutor Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow and Yasmin Louise Sooka, a South African human rights activist.

In a statement, the UN spokesperson shared that the Secretary-General was “deeply concerned”. Although the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of children were made against foreign military forces not under the command of the United Nations in the Central African Republic, the UN has been criticized for its failures and delays in responding to the allegations.

The latest scandal comes after the recent leaked internal UN report detailing accusations of sexual abuse of children by peacekeepers from France, Chad and Equatorial Guinea between December 2013 and June 2014 in Bangui that led to the temporary suspension of Anders Kompass.

The panel will start working in July to review both the allegations, the UN response and any shortcomings in existing procedures covering serious crimes by the Organization and related personnel, host State forces and non-State actors. The investigation report, expected in a ten-week time, will be made public.

UN Ordered to Lift Suspension of Sexual Abuse Report Whistleblower

Anders Kompass, representante del Alto C

Anders Kompass, the director of field operations for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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.