Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel

Annie Rubin of the International Peace Institute writes here on the state of play regarding sexual exploitation and abuse by members of UN peacekeeping contingents. She notes:
But because the UN has no criminal jurisdiction over perpetrators, the national governments of individual member states still have the responsibility to uphold the zero-tolerance policy within their own contingents. Among TCCs, there is significant discrepancy in how different national legislatures handle cases of misconduct. To improve both accountability and transparency of the TCCs’ legal policy, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations made public a list of legal frameworks for deployed contingents, as well as a list of countries that have not submitted frameworks.
Here is what the UN's 2015 conduct and discipline accountability policy says:
11.6 The conduct and discipline of members of military contingents and Military Staff Officers is governed by the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concluded between the Troop Contributing Country and the United Nations for the deployment of military contingents and Military Staff Officers. Through this MOU, Member States agree that, while their military personnel remain subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of respective Troop Contributing Countries, they will comply with United Nations standards of conduct and such other documents adopted by the United Nations that regulate the conduct of this category of personnel, including the exemplification provided in Annex H of this MOU.
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12.6 Acts of misconduct may also constitute crimes under the laws of the host or contributing States. In such instances, in addition to taking any disciplinary action against personnel it employs, the United Nations may further request that relevant Member States prosecute United Nations staff members and experts on mission for the commission of such crimes. The responsibility for criminal accountability rests with Member States in ensuring that any misconduct which constitutes a crime shall be investigated and possibly prosecuted with the necessary penalties. Members of military contingents and Military Staff Officers remain under the exclusive jurisdiction of their
contributing States, for the purpose of criminal prosecutions.
The Editor's own view is that more radical measures than those that have been proposed thus far are required. The starting point that "the UN has no criminal jurisdiction over perpetrators" is the problem, and experience has taught that although progress can be made by peripheral reforms such as training and reporting, these have not gotten to the heart of the matter.

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