UN launches inquiry into Darfur peacekeepers

Posted at 07/03/14 7:18 AM

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations has launched an internal investigation into allegations that its joint peacekeeping mission in the troubled Darfur region has been covering up crimes by Sudanese forces against civilians.

The United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force UNAMID, which was established in 2007, is tasked foremost with protecting civilians and securing humanitarian aid for Sudan's Darfur, where violence has left nearly 300,000 dead and two million displaced.

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor last month asked the United Nations to investigate the damaging claims and several Security Council members, including France and Britain, supported the request.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said Wednesday that Ban was concerned about the "serious" allegations.

"These allegations cover a wide range of issues, including inaccurate reporting of the facts on the ground in Darfur, specific instances of failure to protect civilians and accusations of mismanagement of UNAMID," Dujarric said, noting the mission has been subjected to several reviews and investigations in the last two years.

"The Secretary-General remains committed to improving UNAMID's performance and is determined to take all necessary steps to correct any wrongdoing," he added.

"He has instructed the Secretariat to review the reports of all investigations and inquiries undertaken since mid-2012 to ensure that their recommendations have been implemented and that any relevant issues have been fully addressed.

"This review, to be completed within one month, will enable the Secretary-General to determine what has already been done and, if recommendations are outstanding, what corrective action needs to be taken."

The accusations against UNAMID were set out in several media outlets, most notably by former UNAMID spokeswoman Aicha El-Basri in the American magazine Foreign Policy.