[JURIST] The government of Southern Sudan, an autonomous region in Sudan [JURIST news archive], will join the United Nations [official website] in probing alleged sex crimes committed by international peacekeepers against at least twenty Sudanese children in Juba, according to a statement [text] from the Southern Sudanese minister for presidential affairs Thursday. The statement promised a thorough inquiry, emphasizing: "If any persons are proved to have committed these terrible crimes, the Government of Southern Sudan will take all possible steps to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice." The move follows a Wednesday statement [text] by a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirming the UN inquiry and indicating that all credible allegations will be turned over to the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). The UN investigation was spawned by an internal UNICEF [official website] report and interviews with alleged victims. Reuters has more.
On Thursday a UN spokesperson confirmed that the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) [official website] repatriated four peacekeepers to Bangladesh late last year following allegations of sexual abuse. Michele Montas said that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations [official website] will work with the Bangladeshi government to monitor the case and any actions taken against the repatriated peacekeepers. Thirteen other UNMIS staffers are currently under investigation for misconduct, though not all are related to the sex abuse charges. The UN News Service has more.