UN report says troops supplied black market

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The Independent Online
NEW YORK - A United Nations investigation found evidence of black marketeering, theft and other abuses among UN soldiers and civilian personnel in former Yugoslavia but said serious violations had declined in mid-1993, according to sources familiar with the report.

But a summary of a confidential report pointed to a serious diversion of fuel by some UN contingents and said the organisation had difficulties instructing 36 nationalities speaking 19 languages.

The UN sent Major General Guenther Greindl, an Austrian, to Bosnia and Croatia several months ago to investigate press allegations of pilfered supplies, prostitution, sales of UN passes and other alleged offences among the UN Protection Force (Unprofor) in the Balkans.

He completed his report in December and UN officials are considering establishing a force inspector to investigate any further charges of abuses in large UN peace-keeping operations. But no decision has been made yet.

Major Greindl appeared to allege that many local civilians working for UN relief agencies and associated groups were as much involved in illegal activities as troops. But his report said a large amount of fuel in southern and eastern Serb-controlled parts of Croatia monitored by UN troops had been sold on the black market as well as some fuel issued to UN vehicles in Bosnia.

Sources said previous UN reports had accused members of one Kenyan contingent of purloining more than 100,000l (25,000 gallons) of fuel worth more than dollars 100,000 (pounds 68,000). But the nationalities of other contingents involved were not immediately available.

The report alleges that Unprofor and civilian relief agencies personnel conducted a black market trade in coffee, cigarettes and liquor; troops were associated with prostitutes in Sarajevo and other areas but there was no evidence they ran brothels; and there were widespread abuses of UN identification cards and press passes.

The UN does not have the power to punish offenders from troop- contributing countries but can report abuses to governments.