, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – The United Nations has made clear that their employees do not enjoy immunity for criminal acts, in response to accusations of assault levelled against one of its staff members.
Head of News and Media at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Shereen Zorba says diplomatic immunity only applies to statements made and/or actions taken in an official capacity.
“United Nations staff members enjoy immunity from legal process only in respect of words spoken or written, and of acts performed by them in their official capacity… it is the duty of all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to respect local laws,” she said.
A statement in consonance with that of Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho who told Capital FM News on Wednesday that diplomatic immunity does not extend to criminal acts.
One Ruth Gakii who is admitted to the Nairobi Women’s Hospital has accused the father of her three-year-old son, a UN employee of Papua New Guinean origin, of having assaulted her to no consequence despite reports filed with the police. “He keeps saying there is nothing I can do to him because he’s exempted from prosecution.”
Gakii who was admitted to the Nairobi Women’s Hospital on Sunday – after what she claims was another beating – lodged an official complaint with the UN, through Okoa Dada Kenya, on Wednesday.
“How can UN Women for example have any moral standing when it has animals such as these in its employ?” Okoa Dada Kenya Founder Diane Okello posed by Gakii’s bedside.
But in its reactionary statement, the UN insisted that it holds its employees to the highest standards.
“UNEP, as part of the larger United Nations system is conscious of its obligation to hold its staff to the highest levels of integrity, and moral standards. Staff members are required to uphold and respect the principles set out in the Charter of the United Nations, including faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women.”
Meanwhile, Kasarani Divisional CID Chief Valerian Obore told Capital FM News that the police were seized of the matter and would be taking the suspected assailant in for questioning.
He however denied that previous complaints had reached his office.