Informal Justice and United Nations Peace Operations
International Organizations Law Review, Vol. 10, 2013
28 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 23, 2015
This paper seeks to address how UN military members undertaking UN peacekeeping operations should engage with customary or informal justice systems that they encounter. The relevant guidance that exists suggests that, as a policy matter, informal justice systems should not be allowed to deal with matters of serious crime because of the danger they may violate basic rights, and because dealing with serious crime is a key prerogative of the state. However, there is a growing movement away from adopting a unitary, state-centric rule of law orthodoxy approach, towards viewing the rule of law from the perspective of legal pluralism. Using that perspective, and in acknowledging that military members of UN peace operations are highly likely to be confronted by informal justice systems during peace operations, this paper maps three principles that UN military members should apply when dealing with informal justice systems in the context of UN peace operations: giving due regard to applicable informal justice systems, maintaining oversight of the application of informal justice norms and practices, and avoiding corrupting informal justice systems.
Keywords: peacekeeping, informal justice
JEL Classification: K00, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation