UN 'whistleblower' on C. Africa child sex scandal reinstated

Anders Kompass, seen in Guatemala City on February 13, 2006 (AFP Photo/Orlando Sierra)

Geneva (AFP) - A UN tribunal has ordered the reinstatement of Swedish official Anders Kompass who was suspended for leaking a report to France about child abuse by French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.

The ruling of the internal tribunal was delivered on Tuesday and Kompass "has thus resumed his service," a spokesman for the UN human rights office told AFP.

Kompass will however continue to face an internal United Nations probe following accusations that he passed on confidential information, including the names of the alleged victims, without getting the go-ahead of his superiors.

"We remain extremely concerned that copies are circulating of the confidential unredacted preliminary notes of the interviews with the children," the spokesman said.

The UN tribunal said the fact that Kompass had resumed his job would not affect the investigation under way.

Kompass, a director of operations at the UN human rights office, was put on administrative leave with full pay on April 17 for having passed on the confidential report to France in July last year.

According to the French defence ministry, soldiers dispatched to the chaos-ridden nation to restore order after a 2013 coup are implicated in a probe into the alleged sexual abuse of several children there who had begged for food.

The abuse reportedly took place at a centre for displaced people near the airport of the Central African capital Bangui between December 2013 and June 2014.

The accusations were serious enough for a secret French investigation to be launched in July last year but British newspaper The Guardian reported on the affair at the end of April.

According to a copy of the UN tribunal's ruling, Kompass said he had received a copy of the report in mid-July and spoke to a French diplomat about it on July 23.

He said he had spoken to one of his bosses about this shortly afterwards and then passed on a copy of the report to French authorities on August 7.

The UN however rejects his version of events. The UN human rights office says it was only made aware of the leak on March 6 this year.

Only one thing is clear so far -- that Kompass was asked on March 12 to resign, something that he refused to do. He was suspended on April 17 and then Kompass sought an annulation of the order.