UNaccountable: A Reply to Rosa Freedman
13 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2018 Last revised: 30 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 27, 2018
In the literature responding to the problem of sexual violence by UN peacekeepers, scholars have focused on ‘shame’, ‘danger’ and even ‘hope’ as values around which to frame accountability processes. The premise of this article is that the UN’s failure to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers is primarily a betrayal of trust, such that one of the central roles of accountability processes should be to work to repair and restore trust. Of course, the concept of trust is context specific and can have interpersonal, financial and political manifestations and implications. It also has legal relevance. I argue that trust is foundational to our understanding of the legal authority exercised by UN peacekeepers. In legal terms, we can classify the relationship between UN peacekeepers and the foreign populations over which they exercise authority in the nature of a fiduciary relationship. Because the fiduciary relationship is legal in nature, it generates legal duties, including the duty to account to those over whom it exercises control.
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