A French civilian member of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been accused of child molestation and is being held by French justice officials, according to a joint United Nations and French statement.
The individual in question has been handed over to his country's authorities after he was transferred Friday night to Kinshasa by the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) for security reasons, said the statement, issued yesterday by MONUC and the French Embassy.
"From Sunday morning, 31 October 2004, he has been in the hands of the French justice system," which, under national and international law, has jurisdiction over all violations of the laws protecting minors committed by French citizens living overseas, it said.
Last Wednesday, MONUC spokesman Mamadou Bah said two UN peacekeeping soldiers from Tunisia had been repatriated for sexual abuse against women in Kinshasa.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's adviser on the matter, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan, had visited the eastern DRC province of Ituri to follow a multidisciplinary UN investigation of allegations of sexual abuse against MONUC's civilian and military peacekeeping personnel, Mr. Bah said.