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

Alexandra R. Harrington

Global Institute for Health and Human Rights; Albany Law School

November 11, 2008

San Diego International Law Journal, Forthcoming

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 45

JEL Classification: K33

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Date posted: November 13, 2008 ; Last revised: March 14, 2015

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

Contact Information

Alexandra R. Harrington (Contact Author)
Global Institute for Health and Human Rights ( email )
1400 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12222
United States
Albany Law School ( email )
80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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