Haiti Outrage: UN Soldiers from Sex Assault Video Freed


Assault Victim Well-Known in Haiti Hometown

The victim's identity and address are well known in the village of Port Salut, where the alleged assault occurred, though it is unclear if he has remained in the town.

Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, has been following the case closely, and told ABC News he was disappointed to learn the accused soldiers have been set free.

"These horrifying assaults make a mockery of the UN's supposed 'zero tolerance' policy for abuse," Weisbrot said. "The UN should take such allegations very seriously when they are made, investigate, and do their part to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice."

Since 2004, the United Nations has deployed more than 12,000 peacekeeping troops and police to Haiti at an annual cost of more than $800 million.

The incident with the Uruguayan troops was one in what has become a series of alleged abuses by UN peacekeepers in Haiti. In 2007, more than 100 troops from Sri Lanka were sent home after widespread accusations they had recruited young girls for sex.

"They took them out of the country, but as far as we can tell they were never prosecuted," said Weisbrot.

Under UN rules, peacekeeping troops can only be prosecuted in their home countries. The UN itself has no authority to prosecute them.

"It makes them feel like they can get away with anything," said Weisbrot.

Over the years, similar allegations have been made against UN troops in other countries and the United States and other countries have been highly critical of the UN's failure to enforce its stated zero tolerance policy against sexual abuse by its troops.

"This is a problem that has been around and discussed and reported on for too long," said Ambassador Joseph Torsella, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations for Management and Reform.

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