International Order & Conflict
Issue Brief

Ending Impunity: New Tools for Criminal Accountability in UN Peace Operations

One of the most challenging problems for building the rule of law in post-conflict states has been establishing effective criminal accountability for personnel serving in UN peace operations. While military personnel are covered by national military codes of justice and memoranda of understanding between the UN and troop contributing countries, non-military personnel (UN civilian staff and police) accused of serious crimes in the field may face a penalty no more severe than repatriation. Such lack of criminal accountability poses a problem—of equity, morality, hypocrisy, injustice, or just bad example—but disagreement remains regarding whose responsibility it should be to remedy the situation.

On 29 June 2009, the Future of Peace Operations Program at the Stimson Center launched a new publication, Improving Criminal Accountability in United Nations Peace Operations, by William J. Durch, Katherine N. Andrews, and Madeline L. England, with Matthew C. Weed. This issue brief presents the report’s findings and recommendations, summarizes the proceedings and recommendations of the workshop, and suggests next steps for moving forward to improve criminal accountability.

This issue brief is one of four produced as part of Stimson’s series on rule of law, made possible by a generous grant from the United States Institute of Peace. The series examined progress, challenges, and potential steps forward in expanding national and international capacity to lead and participate in peace operations. The four issue briefs produced in conjunction with this project document the dialogue and recommendations made the rule of law workshop series.


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