Responsibility for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Violations in UN Peace Operations
Chapter 5: Due diligence and responsibility for complicity: the quest for clarification
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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