'Exclusive' Criminal Jurisdiction over UN Peacekeepers and the UN Project(s) on Criminal Accountability: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?
Forthcoming in Issues 1-2 of The Military Law and the Law of War Review (2014)
Grotius Centre Working Paper 2014/029-PSL
24 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2014
Date Written: August 22, 2014
Responding to allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by its personnel, the UN adopted a two-tier solution. In relation to military members of national peacekeeping contingents. It sought to enhance deterrence and accountability through amendments to the UN Model Memorandum of Understanding. A separate project was to address the criminal accountability of UN officials and experts on mission. In the latter context, the General Assembly adopted a number of resolutions and consideration of a draft convention is pending.
In the view of the author, the criminal accountability of military members of national contingents could be further improved by extending the work on the draft convention to them. The present study assesses the legal feasibility of this option, focusing on the main reason behind their separate treatment: the “exclusive jurisdiction” of troop contributing States over military contingents. Following consideration of the legal position and immunities of members of national contingents, the author concludes that – conventional or customary – international law does not justify a strict differentiation. She thus proposes the extension of the relevant project to military personnel, subject to certain distinctions and safeguards required by international law or considered useful for motivating troop contributors to join a broader accountability regime.
Keywords: criminal accountability, criminal jurisdiction, military members of national contingents, peacekeeping, UN personnel
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