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India seeks zero tolerance for crimes by UN personnel at General Assembly

Says such crimes are highly damaging for the image and credibility of the world body

Press Trust of India  |  United Nations 

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

today sought against committed by personnel serving on missions globally, saying such crimes are highly damaging for the image and credibility of the world body.

Addressing a committee meeting of the General Assembly, Yedla Umasankar, First Secretary at Permanent Mission of to the UN, said that at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases because of the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction of member states.

It may be also because of the "legal personality" of the that may bestow some immunity or privileges that may be necessary for operations in a country, and the functional capacity or the willingness of member states to investigate and prosecute the accused, he said.

The issue of accountability of personnel for any crimes committed by them during their work for the is an important one, he said.

"Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the system and its work around the world," said the

Noting that the itself can take some disciplinary measures only and does not exercise any criminal jurisdiction, Umasankar said it is unclear whether investigations conducted by the may be accepted as evidence in criminal law proceedings in the courts of a member state.

It appears that the system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments, he said.

As such has asked for data from the world body, including total number of registered cases of serious misconduct committed by personnel, total number of cases where the host government asked for waiver of immunity for personnel, and total number of cases where the refused to waive the immunity of their personnel.

Participating in the Sixth Committee debate, member countries stressed that nations must ensure accountability for crimes committed by their nationals when deployed as officials and experts on mission.

But countries remained divided on elaborating an international convention addressing the matter.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, October 07 2017. 14:47 IST