Complicity and the Law of International Organizations
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Complicity and the Law of International Organizations

Responsibility for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Violations in UN Peace Operations

Magdalena Pacholska

This timely book examines the responsibility of international organizations for complicity in human rights and humanitarian law violations. It comprehensively addresses a lacuna in current scholarship through an analysis of the mandates and modus operandi of UN peace operations, offering workable normative solutions and striking a balance between the UN’s duty not to contribute to international law violations and its need to discharge mandated tasks in a highly volatile environment.
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Chapter 2: From impartiality to complicity? The evolution of UN peace operations

Magdalena Pacholska


UN peace operations, that is multinational forces under the operational command of the UN, have evolved over the years. Contemporary ‘offensive and stabilization’ missions, tasked with the ‘extension of State authority’ in the midst of hostilities are much more complicity-prone than traditional peacekeeping. When the principle of impartiality is stretched, three types of complicit conduct may occur: strategic, operational and tactical. Offensive peace-enforcement UN missions may give rise to strategic complicity in two cases. First, when the UN peacekeepers provide operational and logistical support to the defense and security forces of the Host State. Second, when UN troops fail to use force to discharge their Chapter VII task to ensure ‘protection of civilians’ under threat of violence. UN peacekeepers routinely avoid the use of force because troop contributing countries (TCCs) often impose national caveats and introduce red cards holders with authority to veto on given tasks according to national directives.

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