Immunities of United Nations Peacekeepers in the Absence of a Status of Forces Agreement
Revue de Droit Militaire et de Droit de la Guerre, Vol. 47, 2008
100 Pages Posted: 20 May 2009 Last revised: 17 Nov 2013
Date Written: May 20, 2009
Whether due to a need to act quickly or a lack of a functioning government with whom to negotiate, the UN often needs to authorize the deployment of peacekeepers and other peace support personnel without the benefit of a Status-of-Forces Agreement (“SOFA”). Unless or until this initial failure to have a SOFA is later cured by the conclusion of a SOFA, the problem arises what immunities UN-mandated peacekeeping forces may enjoy in the absence of a SOFA. UN-mandated peacekeeping operations have traditionally been present in host States with the consent of the State involved. However, the UN Security Council has taken the dramatic step of authorizing the constitution of peacekeeping forces without the consent of the host State. If there is no consent, then State immunity does not apply and we must look to other sources of immunity or comparable protection. These sources can include international humanitarian law, the UN Charter, the UN Immunities Convention, the UN Safety Convention, and customary international law. This paper attempts to assess all of these potential sources of immunities and determine the protections available for UN peacekeepers in the absence of a SOFA.
Keywords: United Nations, UN, Status-of-Forces, Status, Forces, Agreement, SOFA, immunity, immunities, peacekeeping, peacekeeper, peacekeepers, Security Council, international, law
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K13, K14, K19, K30, K33, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation