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Army assures UN on probe

2013 Sep 24

The army has assured the UN a full and impartial inquiry into allegations a Sri Lankan soldier serving the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti, had raped a Haitian woman.

On the directions of the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, three senior officers of the Army, appointed to the Court of Inquiry (CoI), convened to investigate the allegations is to leave for Haiti shortly for extensive inquiries.

In addition to the already ongoing investigation of the Military Police section of the Haiti mission, the UN Commander for the Sri Lankan contingent in Haiti, has been directed to cooperate with UN investigators, if any request to this effect is made, the army media unit said.

The Army Court of Inquiry, appointed by the Commander of the Army comprises Major General N. A. J. C. Dias, Adjutant General, Major General E. K. J. K. Wijayasiri, Provost Marshal, Brigadier R. P. Rajapathirana, Director Legal, Major H. S. K. Jayasinghe and Major L. G. Epa.

Apart from the investigation on the alleged rape incident, the CoI team would also ascertain whether there had been any lapse on the part of any Haiti-based Field Commander which would have led to the alleged incident.

“Any such Field Commander, found to be negligent in supervising his troops is also to be seriously dealt with, taking very severe disciplinary action. Simultaneously, the CoI would inquire into all other aspects as regards the alleged incident to ascertain whether there were any deliberate attempts by interested parties to discredit the Army and the country in particular,” the army said.

Earlier it was reported that the UN had commenced an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by a member of the Sri Lankan contingent to the UN Peace Keeping Mission in Haiti, based on an alleged complaint, said to have been made by a Haitian woman.

“Commander of the Army who has already gone on record affirming that Sri Lanka Army has a zero tolerance policy on wrongful conduct by any of its members, has directed the investigating team to visit every Sri Lankan detachment in Haiti and further educate the troops in order to prevent incidents of this nature,” the army media unit added.

In 2007 a group of 114 Sri Lankan soldiers were deported from Haiti for sexual abuse and rape. (Colombo Gazette)

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