Haitian Senate Introducing Resolutions to Withdraw and Limit Immunity of UN Peacekeepers

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Monday, 12 September 2011 10:58

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - The Chairman of the Senate Justice and Public Safety Committee, Senior Senator, Youri Latortue said that on Friday two draft resolutions were on his table one concerning the gradual withdrawal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) the other regarding the issue of immunity granted to peacekeepers in the country.

Prepared by the commission who are ready to present it to the National Assembly, (following the appointment of a prime minister) the first resolution hopes to outline benchmarks towards the removal of foreign forces in Haiti and strengthening of local police for security.

The second resolution proposes that privileges and immunity enjoyed by United Nations peacekeepers through a Status of Forces Agreement {japopup type="iframe" content="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_of_forces_agreement"}(SOFA){/japopup} be reviewed and limited to acts committed outside of the scope of their function. The resolution declares that such immunity should be lifted automatically upon the request of a competent judiciary so soldiers must answer for their wrongdoings in a court of Haitians.

Senator Latortue also argues that the United Nations will pay the costs and fees of lawyers to defend the interests victims and that the UN guarantees reasonable compensation for victims and a crack down against the perpetrators of acts of misconduct.

The committee chairman says the withdrawal of troops should be done over a period of three years from the date of the next renewal of the mandate of MINUSTAH, mid October 2011.

The withdrawal should be gradual and orderly, said Mr. Latortue, saying the President of the National Assembly will include these two draft resolutions at a meeting next Tuesday.

Thursday in Montevideo, Uruguay, during a meeting between the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs of the nine South American Nations (UNASUR) that make up the bulk of the troops of MINUSTAH, they agreed to propose to the Security Council "a strategy of gradual withdrawal of the military component."

These new resolutions are on the heels of several scandals involving peacekeepers from sexual assault, rape, murder and environment degradation.

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Source: {japopup type="iframe" content="http://ahphaiti.org/ndujour.html"}Agence Haitienne de Presse{/japopup}