Statement by Gabriel Swiney, Attorney Adviser, U.S. Department of State, on Agenda Item 76: Criminal Accountability of United Nations Officials and Experts on Mission, in the Sixth Committee

Gabriel Swiney, Attorney Adviser, U.S. Department of State
New York, NY
October 8, 2010


Madame Chairperson,

The United States appreciates the General Assembly’s continued interest in this issue. We want to reiterate our firmly held belief that UN officials and experts on mission should be held accountable for the crimes they commit. We look forward to working with Member States and the United Nations on efforts in that regard.

We welcome the Secretary-General’s report on Criminal Accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission, including the information provided by some governments on the extent to which they have domestic jurisdiction over crimes of a serious nature committed by their nationals while serving as UN officials or experts on mission. We also appreciate the information submitted by certain governments concerning their cooperation with the United Nations in the exchange of information and the facilitation of investigations and prosecutions of such individuals, as well as the information provided concerning activities within the Secretariat in relation to General Assembly resolutions on this topic.

We appreciate the UN’s efforts to refer credible allegations against UN officials to the State of the alleged offender’s nationality during the July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 reporting period. We note that there were five referrals during this period, all of them involving United Nations officials and none involving experts on mission. We urge States to take appropriate action with regard to those individuals and report to the United Nations on the disposition of the cases. States are the key to curbing abuses by their nationals serving in a UN peacekeeping capacity. All UN Member States stand to benefit from the Secretariat’s reporting on efforts taken by States to investigate and prosecute referred cases.

We also commend the United Nations on its efforts to take practical measures to strengthen existing training on United Nations standards of conduct, including through pre-deployment and in-mission training.

Finally, with respect to the outstanding issue of the possible negotiation of a multilateral convention on criminal accountability of UN officials and experts on mission, we continue to question whether negotiation of such a convention would present the most efficient or effective means through which to ensure accountability. We urge States to redouble their efforts to develop practical ways to address the underlying causes of such impediments.

Thank you, Madame Chairperson.


PRN: 2010/224