Another U.N. Peacekeeper Rape Scandal

The U.N. has suffered yet another rape scandal, this time involving Moroccan soldiers and Ivory Coast girls.

“It means they don’t participate in our operations,” said Hamadoun Toure, spokesman for the U.N. mission in Cote d’Ivoire (ONUCI). “Those who are found guilty will be sent back home.”

The world body said the measure was in addition to a decision to confine the entire battalion of 734 soldiers to barracks.

U.N. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Friday the investigation involved Moroccan soldiers having sex with a large number of underage girls in the West African country’s northern rebel stronghold of Bouake.

I’m afraid these recurring outrages are unavoidable. The combination of using mostly troops from unprofessional Third World militaries and the total lack of consequences for bad behavior is a recipe for disaster.

The alternatives, however, are not any better. Using Western troops has all manner of problems, given the colonial legacy (although there are some French troops involved in this operation) and avoiding intervention altogether will likely result in far more atrocities than committed by U.N. peacekeepers.

UPDATE: BBC has more details of the current scandal and a sidebar list of some of the previous incidents:

2003 – Nepalese troops accused of sexual abuse while serving in DR Congo. Six are later jailed
2004 – Two UN peacekeepers repatriated after being accused of abuse in Burundi
2005 – UN troops accused of rape and sexual abuse in Sudan
2006 – UN personnel accused of rape and exploitation on missions is Haiti and Liberia

FILED UNDER: Africa, United Nations,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. cian says:

    The combination of using mostly troops from unprofessional Third World militaries and the total lack of consequences for bad behavior is a recipe for disaster.

    James,

    First world troops or third world, it doesn’t seem to matter. Its more a question of leadership wouldn’t you say? Abu Ghraib came about through a mixture of bad decision making on the part of the administration in relation to GITMO, those decisions then transferring to Iraq, and a lack of moral leadership on the ground.

    There is hardly an army more professional than our own, and yet only the lowest on the totem pole have been called to account. Those caught say they were following orders, the administration cries ignorance, and Outside the Beltway asks any who wish to reply to this post to leave their message after the high moral tone.




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  2. James Joyner says:

    First world troops or third world, it doesn’t seem to matter. Its more a question of leadership wouldn’t you say?

    Well, on the spot leadership matters, sure. But it’s an entire culture of professionalism that has been inculcated from basic training onward that is the key.

    Abu Ghraib happened for a variety of reasons, including mixed messages from the top of the chain of command. The bottom line, though, was amateur National Guard soldiers being led by amateur National Guard generals. Better on-the-ground leadership would have helped but it’s hard to overcome a thug mentality and undisciplined soldiers given a great deal of discretion.




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