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Alan Doss: These allegations are still speculation

Radio Okapi - April 29, 2008

Alan Doss

In a BBC radio report of 28 April 2008, certain Pakistani and Indian MONUC blue helmets were alleged to have sold weapons for gold to the militia of Ituri in 2004 and 2005. The UN conducted an investigation in 2007. Alan Doss, head of MONUC, responded to these allegations in an interview with Radio Okapi.


The BBC made an investigation which alleged that certain blue helmets sold weapons to the militia. What is your response?

According to the BBC, there was a sale of weapons. All that I can say, it is that there were independent reports at the time of these allegations, which are not new. They go back to two or three years. These investigations do not confirm that there was traffic of weapons.

On the contrary they say that there were rumours. We do not have evidence that this traffic of weapons took place.

Where are the reports carried out by the UN itself?

The investigations were finished a while ago, going back to 2006/2007. Therefore, these investigations, with the recommendations and the results, were given to the United Nations and the countries concerned. Therefore, each time there was bad behavior, or allegations, investigations are launched. And if necessary, disciplinary measures are taken.

The major problem the BBC raised is the credibility of the investigations; what is your opinion?

Yes, but each time there is an investigation and the results do not conform to the expectation, one throws a doubt on these investigations. All that I can say is that these investigations are independent.

They do not involve, for example, the Special Representative, or the headquarters of the peacekeeping department. Therefore, the investigations were made by professional investigators.

If there are new allegations or new evidence, we await them. But it is also necessary to be careful because there are many rumours, much speculation and much allegation which comes sometimes from sources which are not themselves very credible, in particular people wanted for crimes, and even criminals.

All the groups accuse us of being partisans. Therefore, I think that we must pay attention to rumours, allegations or speculations. If they are credible, if there is an element of credibility, immediately investigations are launched. And, as I said, that does not concern me. It is not my decision.

Mr. Doss, is the UN willing to confront the evidence of the BBC?

But it is not evidence. In fact these allegations are not new, and go back two or three years. There are interviews with certain individuals who, themselves, are in prison for war crimes besides. Therefore, each time there are these speculations. But if there is something really new again, of course we will look into it and inquire.

It is difficult for us to reopen cases continuously on speculation. And tomorrow, somebody can say something. But each time, one nevertheless tries to be rigorous.

But I do not control the investigation. In fact investigations are launched by a unit completely independent of MONUC’s chain of command.

And if the speculation is proven, how will the soldiers be sanctioned?

That depends on whether it is a crime or simply a misdemeanour. I know that there are cases, because I was in a mission where it was indeed what occurred, where the people were judged locally by their military hierarchy. They were then returned to their countries. And they are in prison today.

But in the current system, military justice is responsible for the country concerned.

Do you think the credibility of MONUC was tarnished by the BBC report?

Each time there are allegations, it causes damage to the reputation of the mission, and it’s almost inevitable. Any mission, everywhere in the world, is always vulnerable to these kinds of allegations.

And besides, it is clear that with a big mission, in such a big and complex country, one must expect that sometimes there are cases of bad behavior.

What is important is that each time we receive allegations which have a certain level of credibility, the investigations are launched.

Thereafter, if these allegations are accepted as credible and there is a certain level of proof, at this time then we will take action. It was done, and it will be done.

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