A failure to protect in peacekeeping operations: a commander’s responsibility? Obligations and responsibilities of military commanders in UN peacekeeping operations

Sprik, Lenneke H.M. (2017) A failure to protect in peacekeeping operations: a commander’s responsibility? Obligations and responsibilities of military commanders in UN peacekeeping operations. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Inaction by UN peacekeeping troops in the face of the commission of genocide in Srebrenica and Kigali raised significant questions regarding the duty owed by UN peacekeeping forces to those under their protection. Recent court judgments have recognised that the Netherlands and Belgium were to a certain extent legally responsible to protect those under the care of each state’s peacekeeping troops, and that also the role of individual peacekeeping commanders may be questioned. While peacekeeping commanders may have a moral responsibility to act, it is not realistic to argue that peacekeeping commanders have a legal duty to do so. As a result, the use of the existing options to establish criminal liability for a failure to act under domestic and international law would not be justified in relation to the conduct committed.

This thesis argues that alternative options to the existing forms of criminal responsibility for military commanders should be considered, possibly focusing more clearly on failing to fulfil a norm of protection that is specific to peacekeeping and distinct from protective obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Establishing law tailored to the context of peacekeeping would be an important step towards clarification of the obligations and responsibilities held by military commanders in UN peacekeeping missions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Peacekeeping, military commanders, responsibility, failure to act, criminal law, international criminal law, omission, bystander, Srebrenica, Rwanda.
Subjects: J Political Science > JX International law
J Political Science > JZ International relations
K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Sloan, Prof. James and Tams, Prof. Christian
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Ms Lenneke (HM) Sprik
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8613
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2017 11:55
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2017 16:22
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8613

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