A Legal Framework for UN Peacekeeping

This article was part of the Briefing Book prepared for the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations by IPI and CIC. A main weakness of UN peacekeeping operations is the lack of an overarching legal framework. As a result, there are systemic weaknesses and gaps in the laws particularly relating to accountability. Peacekeeping operations are undermined by the different immunities and jurisdictional gaps that exist when peacekeeping personnel (troops and civilians) commit criminal acts. The current legal position is that (i) troops are immune from host state jurisdiction, and (ii) civilian personnel are immune from the jurisdiction of any national court. The counterbalance for troops is that TCCs are under a duty to prosecute troops who commit crimes. The counterbalance for civilian personnel is the existence of a waiver. In practice those counterbalances are deployed only very rarely. That (a) undermines peacekeeping operations and (b) is in violation of victims’ fundamental rights to access a court and a remedy. The current laws have resulted in a culture of impunity. Personnel use the cloak of immunity to commit crimes knowing that they will not be held to account. Although the Zeid Report identified key reforms to address the culture of impunity surrounding sexual abuse, little has been done to implement those reforms. In order to strengthen peacekeeping operations’ legitimacy and activities it is vital to revisit and address the issue of immunity and jurisdictional gaps. Rather than tinkering around the edges of existing laws, it is time to explore a more concrete and viable alternative. To counterbalance immunities, the UN must consider creating courts to prosecute individuals who commit criminal...

Strengthening Human Rights in Peacekeeping

This article was part of the Briefing Book prepared for the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations by IPI and CIC.   1. Make human rights a more prominent focus of policy, operations, and advocacy. Since most conflicts arise from severe and systematic human rights violations, preventing further violations while supporting efforts to rectify past violations is central to the work undertaken by the UN. This has several ramifications. 2. Senior mission leadership must be highly familiar and comfortable with human rights issues. Leadership must not shy away from raising these issues in the right way at the right time. Public vs. private interventions, proposing solutions while simultaneously not backing down from raising negative assessments should be part of peace operations’ strategy. 3. Mission leaders should not identify “human rights” only with civil and political freedoms or only with adversarial  confrontations – so-called “naming and shaming.” Rather, human rights analyses, programs, and public statements should include economic, social, and cultural rights and programs addressing the state’s performance. 4. The rights to food, shelter, education, health care, and clean water are frequently violated in most countries where the UN sends peace operations. These violations often target ethnic, religious, racial or other minorities. These excluded groups unsurprisingly resent this discrimination and the resulting marginalization. 5. UN peace operations, working closely with UN Country Team agencies, should focus on development projects that will respond to these violations. UN agencies have the budget and the country knowledge but often lack the political clout to implement such programming which must include state accountability for achieving measurable improvements. 6. So Mission leaders should support efforts...

LIVE from the UN Security Council: Future of Peace Operations

The Security Council was briefed this morning by the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon on the maintenance of international peace and security, following a letter dated 5 November 2015 from the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (S/2015/846). Follow live tweeting at #futurepeaceops and @IPI_CPO Watch live here  Learn more View Event-page Security Council Report Analysis – ‘What’s in Blue’ Analysis of experts The High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) report The implementation report of the Secretary-General The Peacebuilding Architecture Review report The Global Study on UNSC resolution 1325 – Women, Peace and Security Managing Change at the United Nations – Lessons from Recent Initiatives...

The Practical is the Political: The UN’s Global Study on Women, Peace and Security

The author reviews the 417-page Global Study on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which was released earlier this month. While criticized for being too long and unclear, the author helps to understand the significance of the report, as well as the current and potential success of its recommendations. The article further analyzes the synergies between the Global Study and the other two reviews this year – Uniting our Strengths for Peace, the Report of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO), and The Challenge of Sustaining Peace, the Report of the Advisory Group of Experts for the 2015 Review of the UN’s Peacebuilding Architecture, arguing that the thinking and recommendations of the three reports align closely. Read full article...

Missed Opportunities: Gender and the UN’s Peacebuilding and Peace Operations Report

Global Peace Operations Review, Center on International Cooperation (CIC) Missed Opportunities: Gender and the UN’s Peacebuilding and Peace Operations Report By Anne Marie Goetz and Rob Jenkins July 30, 2015 While both the review reports on peace operations and peacebuilding stress the need to see women as agents of conflict prevention and resolution, neither reports succeeds in overcoming the familiar “add women and stir” curse. The reports highlight gender-issues in a vague manner, providing no concrete proposals of how to approach them, and no specific mechanisms for promoting accountability. The weak implementation instructions given continue an unfortunate UN practice, with the absence of details and timelines, leaving no recommendations that help to influence decision-making, especially at senior levels. Nevertheless, there is still hope that the upcoming report on UNSC res. 1325 will help to fill the gaps missed by the two reports. Read...
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