Accountability and Multinational Military Operations

31 Pages Posted: 23 May 2018 Last revised: 16 Jun 2019

See all articles by Prof. Dr. Paulina Starski

Prof. Dr. Paulina Starski

University of Graz; Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

Date Written: May 16, 2018


Multinational military operations [MNMO] occur in different emanations: They might involve the concerted action of states – (ad hoc) ‘coalitions of the willing’ – participating in a joint military operation in which every state retains command over its troops (‘national command model’) or a ‘multinational integrated command’ is established or – in another variant – national contingents are subjected to the lead or domination of a specific state (‘framework nation’ or ‘lead nation’ model). Furthermore such coalitions may act with the authorization of an international organization [IO] or within its institutional setting under its lead or under the lead of one IO which might be in turn authorized by another IO. The plurality of actors involved and the intricate web of different spheres of authority and control characterizing MNMO pose considerable challenges in terms of ‘accountability’. This contribution is dedicated to their illustration and shall simultaneously critically reflect on the specific schemes international law offers to address the ‘pluriverse’ of ‘accountability problems’ arising when states and IO act together militarily.

After sketching the conceptual contours of ‘accountability’ [I.] as well as the specific features of MNMO that account for the difficulties to hold relevant actors accountable [II.], this contribution will in its main part turn to rules on the ‘international legal responsibility’ of states and IO – a genuinely legal scheme which realizes – ‘accountability’ [III.] before closing with final observations [IV.].

Suggested Citation

Starski, Paulina, Accountability and Multinational Military Operations (May 16, 2018). Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2018-09 (to be published in: Heike Krieger and Robin Geiss (eds.), The Legal Pluriverse Surrounding Extraterritorial Military Operations (Oxford University Press, 2018)), Available at SSRN: or

Paulina Starski (Contact Author)

University of Graz ( email )

Universitaetsstrasse 15 / FE
A-8010 Graz, 8010

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law ( email )

Im Neuenheimer Feld 535
69120 Heidelberg, 69120


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics