Pak UN peacekeepers sentenced in Haiti rape case
Two UN peacekeepers from Pakistan have been sentenced to a year in prison for raping a 14-year-old Haitian boy after being convicted in a Pakistani military trial in Haiti, authorities said on Monday.world Updated: Mar 13, 2012 10:01 IST
Two UN peacekeepers from Pakistan have been sentenced to a year in prison for raping a 14-year-old Haitian boy after being convicted in a Pakistani military trial in Haiti, authorities said on Monday.
UN spokeswoman Sylvie Van Den Wildenberg said judges from a Pakistani military tribunal came to the impoverished Caribbean nation to hold the trial that resulted in the conviction last week of the peacekeepers. They were found guilty in the rape of the boy in the northern city of Gonaives on January 20.
The two soldiers, who have not been identified by name, were summarily discharged from the military and sentenced to a year behind bars in their homeland, the UN spokeswoman said.
"The UN was informed last week by the Pakistani officials about the verdict, but MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) did not have any involvement in the military judicial process that was led by military judges from Pakistan," she added.
It was the first time that members of the UN military on deployment in Haiti have been tried and sentenced within its borders.
The UN peacekeeping mission has faced a growing image problem in Haiti, with some of its members accused of responsibility for introducing a deadly cholera epidemic in earthquake-stricken country in 2010.
Several peacekeepers have also been accused of rape, in addition to the Pakistanis, in cases that have fueled public protests and demands that members of the UN force be stripped of their immunity and face trial in Haitian courts.
Haitian justice minister Michel Brunache called the verdict for the two Pakistanis a "small" step in the right direction.
"We expected more from the UN and the Pakistani government, but now we want to focus on the proper reparation that the victim deserves," Brunache said.
Haitian government authorities were given no advance notice of the military tribunal, he said.
First Published: Mar 13, 2012 09:59 IST