UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah) soldiers have raped a student in Gonaives. This is an unfounded rumour, according to Toussaint Congo-Doudou, spokesman for Minustah. He says this is a rumour because the alleged victim has lodged no formal complaint. He goes on to say that the justice department and the police have not been informed of this issue.
He adds, however, that Minustah takes seriously accusations that are at least destabilizing and it will soon shed light on this issue, according to Minustah spokesman Congo-Doudou, who answered Daniel Raphael Theloma’s questions:
A. In fact, we learnt this information perhaps at the same time as you. These are rumours of which we have been informed. We take these allegations very seriously, because they are, nevertheless, very serious accusations.
We immediately asked that an investigation should be carried out and that the investigation should dig more deeply. The purpose of the investigation is to establish the facts. We also asked Cpl Jean Lafaille, head of the Minustah civilian police that are deployed in Gonaives and that work closely with the Haitian National Police, to investigate, to carry out an inquiry.
The first observations are the following: the PNH who are on the spot, the legal authorities and the religious authorities did not receive any formal complaint from the person who made this accusation. For his part, Col Santiago Ferrera, the commander of the Argentine contingent who is on the scene, has also carried out an inquiry with the PNH and has contacted the authorities in Gonaives. So far, there is no complaint. So, if there is no complaint, it is just rumours.
Q. Mr Congo-Doudou, we in Radio Galaxie trust our permanent correspondent in the area. We also have the recording. But in such a situation, are you going to take measures?
A. In fact, you can take measures after you establish the facts on the basis of investigations. Before the investigation has come to an end the person must file complaints. Neither the PNH nor the legal authorities who are on the scene in Gonaives are aware of this matter. No complaint was filed.
You are a journalist. If your rights were violated, what would you do? You would file complaints with the competent authorities, which has not been done in Gonaives. It is only a question of rumours. When it is rumours, one cannot talk about sanctions.
Q. Are you in touch with the various units? Do you have control over the troops that are on the scene?
A. Oh yes, indeed, we have control over the troops. When he heard this information, Gen Heleno Pereira is the one who requested an immediate investigation from the head of the contingent and so on, which has been done. But the problem is that there is no complaint. The PNH who are on the spot are not aware of this matter. The legal authorities are not aware of this matter. Even the religious authorities are not aware of it. The facts have not been established.
. . . Une responsable de la NCHR, Marie Yolaine Gilles, affirme de son côté qu’une enquête menée aux Gonaïves par cet organisme n’a pas pu établir le cas de viol relaté par certains médias.
Communication from haitipolicy.org reader:
Je suis tres concernee par le cas de viol enregistre aux Gonaives et surtout par la maniere dont ce cas est gere. Le but principal de la force de la MINUSTAH presente est de porter la paix en Haiti (suivant ce qu’elle dit). Le porte-parole de la mission, Mr Toussaint Kongo-Doudou, est en train de nier le temoignage de la jeune fille. Il est tres difficile pour une femme d’admettre qu’elle a ete violee et d’en parler. Deja cette jeune fille a eu le courage de le dire. Il est tant qu’on ecoute la voix des femmes dans ce monde et qu’on respecte leurs droits. La negligence de ses temoignages serait une mechancete et serait symbole d’une justification de toute violence a l’egard des femmes. Ce serait injuste qu’une organisation destinee a faire respecter les droits des hommes et des femmes nie un tel crime.
J’espere de tout coeur que vous reconsidereriez ce crime et que les Nations-Unis ne ratent pas d?exercer leur mission dans ce cas. Je vous prie d’intervenir et de faire le necessaire pour conduire une investigation juste et complete.