The Continuing Saga of State Responsibility for the Conduct of Peacekeeping Forces: Recent Practice of Dutch and Belgian Courts

Forthcoming in: Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, Volume 50 (2020)

Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2020-34

Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2020-12

T.M.C. Asser Institute for International & European Law 2020-05

33 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020 Last revised: 21 Jul 2020

See all articles by Nataša Nedeski

Nataša Nedeski

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law

Berenice Boutin

T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Date Written: June 25, 2020

Abstract

In this contribution we reflect on two recent high-stakes cases before domestic courts on state responsibility for the actions and omissions of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping forces. Both cases are the result of efforts by surviving relatives of, respectively, victims of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and victims of the Srebrenica genocide in 1995, to obtain reparation from troop-contributing states for the harm caused by UN peacekeeping troops’ failure to protect civilians. While the facts of both cases display some striking similarities, the courts reached opposite conclusions, with the Dutch Court holding the Netherlands responsible, and the Belgium Court rejecting any responsibility of the Belgium state. We critically review the two cases, and analyse in particular the approach of each court regarding attribution of conduct, paying particular attention to the specific factual circumstances of transition and withdrawal in both cases, and to the issue of attribution of legal omissions. We further present observations as to the question of shared responsibility in the context of peacekeeping operations.

Keywords: State responsibility, Attribution of conduct, Peacekeeping operations, United Nations, Genocide, Failure to protect, Shared responsibility

JEL Classification: K4, K14, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Nedeski, Nataša and Boutin, Berenice, The Continuing Saga of State Responsibility for the Conduct of Peacekeeping Forces: Recent Practice of Dutch and Belgian Courts (June 25, 2020). Forthcoming in: Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, Volume 50 (2020), Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2020-34, Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2020-12, T.M.C. Asser Institute for International & European Law 2020-05, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3635408

Nataša Nedeski (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law ( email )

P.O. Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://home.medewerker.uva.nl/n.nedeski/

Berenice Boutin

T.M.C. Asser Instituut ( email )

P.O. Box 30461
2500 GL The Hague, 2517JN
Netherlands

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