Monday, September 19, 2011

Uruguayan Authorities Demonstrate Swift Accountability in Punishment of UN Peacekeepers

A military judge in Montevideo has swiftly jailed five sailors accused of sexually abusing a Haitian man during their recent service as UN peacekeepers in Port-au-Prince. The men returned to Uruguay from Haiti on Friday (September 16) and by today (September 19) the accused were already in preventive detention on military charges of disobeying orders and dereliction of duty.

COMMENT: The judge's decision cannot be appealed, so the five sailors will remain in jail until the military decides whether to dishonorably discharge them and turn them over to civilian courts. Additionally, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica commented that the defendants will face the most severe penalties if convicted. A cell phone video of the alleged abuse prompted rock-throwing protests in the Haitian capital. Uruguayan officials are to be complemented for their swift justice in the face of such criminal activity in uniform.

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