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 5: Due diligence and responsibility for complicity: the quest for clarification

Magdalena Pacholska


While an overlap exists between complicity and due diligence, the existence of one does not cast doubt on the usefulness of the other. Due diligence is neither a primary nor a secondary norm. It is a standard of care used for assessing a State/international organization (IO) compliance with obligations of conduct. In international law the concept of due diligence is not self-standing, it always requires a nexus to a primary obligation with its specific parameters. Due diligence can neither extend the territorial scope of applicability of the primary obligation, nor can a failure to exercise due diligence be ascertained without reference to a specific rule. The ‘should have known’ standard of the aggravated complicity rule is measured by the due diligence standard of care. Properly implemented due diligence policy, including risk assessment, should prevent a State or an IO from being ascribed with the responsibility for complicity in serious human rights abuses.

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