Policing Against the State: United Nations Policing as Violative of Sovereignty

San Diego International Law Journal, Forthcoming

45 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2008 Last revised: 14 Mar 2015

See all articles by Alexandra R. Harrington

Alexandra R. Harrington

Lancaster University Law School; Albany Law School; CISDL

Date Written: November 11, 2008


As any moviegoer will tell you, the essence of the tension in a police movie is typically that the police and the person(s) being chased or sought do not share the same values or beliefs as to truth, justice and the application of either. Even within police themed movies, however, there is a dichotomy between the relationship and implications of the police/policed situation where both groups share the same nationality and socio-legal referents and where the police are an outside force which shares no common national and socio-legal referents to create an understanding. These differences in philosophy are important to this article because they serve as microcosms for legal/police systems in general and particularly in situations where conflict has caused outside actors to enter the policing arena.

The cinematic comparisons made above are meant to serve as a basic framework for the topic of this article: the affect of United Nations policing efforts on the concept of state sovereignty. Police movies are used to illustrate the idea that there is necessarily a lacuna of commonality and understanding between those who occupy part or all of a nation and carry out a police function - for whatever reason - and those who are in the occupied area and find themselves policed. This lacuna exists in civilian police settings, the author argues, because there is a different sense of function and place between civilian police and military forces. It is the author's contention that both parties to the policing arrangement - be they individuals, states, or organizations - give up portions of their sovereignty in the creation and maintenance of the police/policed relationship where the police are not serving the state which theoretically guards the policed.

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Harrington, Alexandra R., Policing Against the State: United Nations Policing as Violative of Sovereignty (November 11, 2008). San Diego International Law Journal, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1299990

Alexandra R. Harrington (Contact Author)

Lancaster University Law School ( email )

Bowland North
Lancaster, LA 14 YN
United Kingdom

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

CISDL ( email )

Montreal, Quebec

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics