PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The senator from the South-east, Edwin Zenny confirmed on Thursday that customs officials at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport were prevented from doing their work of checking packages by a group armed soldiers from MINUSTAH.
On Sunday, armed soldiers with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) created a panic at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport by firing their weapons during an act that has been deemed illegal by international customs principles and law.
The armed men arrived by war chariot and then proceeded to break through the arrival hall of the airport and to the customs department where two private (non-diplomat, non-military) passengers, with taxable goods beyond allowable limits had been detained for an audit.
The armed men of the MINUSTAH peace-keeping force, cut short the audit by custom officials taking with them the luggage and the two private travelers. The peacekeepers fired rounds of gun fire into the air as they mounted their war chariot to leave.
Senator Zenny says these kinds of incidents show the disrespect of the UN peacekeepers in the country. Zenny called on the Head of State to take on this issue.
The Deputy Spokesman for MINUSTAH, Vincenzo Publiese reported that an internal investigation was underway to take stock in the incident. “The Mission, has been referred to this incident and immediately launched an investigation to establish the precise circumstances,” he said.
Pugliese added that the UN Mission informed the Head of State and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and is regular informing them of the developments on this issue.
“Once the investigation is completed, results will be communicated to the Haitian authorities in the shortest time,” Pugliese promised, who also noted that pursuant to the Agreement between the Government of Haiti and the United Nations concerning the status of United Nations Operation in Haiti, MINUSTAH and its staff must comply with all laws and regulations of the country.
“The Special Representative shall take all appropriate measure to ensure compliance with these obligations,” he concluded.