Criminalizing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers

USIP Special Report 335

16 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2013

See all articles by Carla Ferstman

Carla Ferstman

University of Essex - School of Law

Date Written: September 7, 2013


Summary: • Sexual exploitation and abuse continue to pervade peacekeeping missions, and peacekeepers benefit from near-total impunity. • Several seminal United Nations (UN) studies and expert reports provide a useful blueprint of where the gaps lie, what must be done to address them, and how to do so. • Zero-tolerance UN policies have focused on preventing new abuse and strengthening codes of conduct. These goals are laudable but undermined when not accompanied by consistent discipline and criminal accountability. • Despite eight years of annual resolutions that underscore the need to address the problems, there is no evidence of greater accountability. • More work is needed to finish the job. States are responsible for disciplining and punishing their troops, but the UN must do more to ensure that this happens. • The UN needs to work actively with states to bridge the gaps in domestic legislation by issuing written advice and publishing model legislation. • The UN should publicly name and shame those states that fail to investigate and prosecute credible cases. • The UN should refrain from accepting troop contingents from countries that repeatedly fail to live up to their written assurances to investigate and prosecute. • The memorandum of understanding governing the relationship between the UN and troop-contributing countries should be further revised to introduce greater conditionality into the acceptance and removal of troop contingents.

Suggested Citation

Ferstman, Carla, Criminalizing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers (September 7, 2013). USIP Special Report 335. Available at SSRN: or

Carla Ferstman (Contact Author)

University of Essex - School of Law ( email )

Colchester, Essex CO43SQ
United Kingdom

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