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The UN’s Weirdest Crimes: 380 Pounds of Weed, Child Porn, and a Chainsaw on a Plane

The international organization issued an annual report that details disciplinary matters and cases of criminal behavior by UN staff.

by Samuel Oakford
Nov 1 2015, 1:20pm

Photo by Matt Campbell/EPA

Staff at the United Nations downloaded and shared child porn, transported roughly 380 pounds of weed in an official vehicle, and repeatedly threatened each other with murder, according to an annual report on disciplinary matters and cases of criminal behavior issued by the international organization.

The report, carried out by the UN Secretariat, covers the period between July 2014 and June of this year. It does not name the staff involved, their nationalities, or where the offenses took place.

Perhaps most alarmingly, four UN employees were dismissed for receiving, storing, and disseminating pornographic images of minors on their official computers and over UN networks. It was unclear if their home countries had filed any charges against the four unnamed individuals. A fifth staff member who stored adult pornographic material on a UN computer was demoted and blocked from being promoted for a period of two years.

Related: Should Manga Be Included in Child Pornography Legislation?

Elsewhere in the report, a staffer was referenced as being fired for using "an official vehicle of the Organization to transport approximately 173 kilograms of marijuana." Another employee inexplicably tried to bring a chainsaw on a UN passenger flight. Yet another UN security official was caught pilfering $2,200 from a passenger while screening their luggage.

Investigators said several UN staff members threatened colleagues with violence, including one who "repeatedly threatened to kill or suggested that the staff member could arrange to kill the Head of Mission."

On another occasion, a staff member drove a tractor into the office of a coworker "with the intent of damaging the office and injuring the staff member's supervisor." UN investigators chalked up the incident to "long-standing workplace-related issues."

Other entries in the report were more mundane: A staff member removed barbed wire from a UN premises without authorization, an employee took fuel belonging to the UN, a staff member stole a ream of paper, another misrepresented his educational record to superiors.

Related: Feds Say Former UN General Assembly President Lived Large Off Chinese Bribes

The UN's Secretariat counts some 41,000 staff from around the world. The UN says that after an employee is dismissed, it's up to member states to investigate and bring charges when appropriate. That dynamic has raised questions among critics who contend that UN staff and peacekeepers that commit sexual violence and other offenses are rarely brought to justice by their home countries — if the incidents are ever reported at all. 

In the report summarizing violations for the previous year — from July 2013 to June 2014 — at least three staff members were referenced as having been dismissed for having sexual intercourse with minors.

Follow Samuel Oakford on Twitter: @samueloakford