COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – When a Haitian teenager alleged that she had been raped and sodomized by a Sri Lankan peacekeeper, the government here dispatched a high-ranking general suspected of war crimes to lead the investigation.
He didn’t interview the accuser or medical staff who examined her, but he cleared the peacekeeper — who remained in the Sri Lankan military.
“A suspected war criminal is the wrong person to conduct an investigation into alleged crimes committed by a peacekeeper,” said Andreas Schuller of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, a Berlin-based group that helped launch the complaint.
It wasn’t the first time that accusations against Sri Lankan peacekeepers were swept aside. In 2007, a group of orphaned Haitian children identified 134 Sri Lankans who gave them food for sex in a child sex ring that went on for three years, an Associated Press investigation found.
In that case, which was corroborated by U.N. investigators, the Sri Lankan military repatriated 114 of the peacekeepers, but none was ever jailed.
In fact, Sri Lanka has never prosecuted a single soldier for sexual misconduct while serving in a peacekeeping mission abroad, the AP found.
A culture of impunity that arose during Sri Lanka’s civil war has seeped into its peacekeeping missions. The government has consistently…