International Responsibility in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Command and Control Arrangements and the Attribution of Conduct

By Leck, Christopher | Melbourne Journal of International Law, May 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

International Responsibility in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Command and Control Arrangements and the Attribution of Conduct


Leck, Christopher, Melbourne Journal of International Law


Article 5 of the International Law Commission's Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations prescribes the use of the 'effective control' test to determine the attribution of conduct of United Nations peacekeeping forces. A close examination of UN command and control arrangements, however, suggests that art 5, as it is currently understood, may not allow for the comprehensive attribution of conduct as it does not fully take into account the complex arrangements governing the employment of military contingents contributed by UN member states to UN peacekeeping operations. In this regard, the premise upon which art 5 is based may need to be revisited and a new approach considered, to ensure that the conduct of such forces is accurately imputed and that responsibility is correctly attributed to the actors concerned.

CONTENTS

I    Introduction
II   The Law on Responsibility of International Organisations
     and the Attribution of Conduct of Peacekeepers
III  The UN and International Responsibility
IV   Command and Control in the Current UN Peacekeeping Context
V    Prevailing Thinking and Practice on the Attribution of Conduct
VI   Can the UN Really Have 'Effective Control' of Peacekeepers?
VII  Attributing the Conduct of Peacekeepers--Determining a
     Suitable Approach..
VIII Conclusion

I INTRODUCTION

Article 5 of the International Law Commission's ('ILC') Draft Articles on the Responsibility of International Organizations ('Draft Articles') utilises the 'effective control' test to attribute the conduct of state organs placed at the disposal of international organisations ('IO's). (1) Although only adopted provisionally by the ILC, art 5--or the principle it reflects--has been invoked by a number of international and national tribunals in recent cases pertaining to the conduct of international military forces in peace operations. These have included the European Court of Human Rights in Behrami and Saramati, (2) the House of Lords in Al-Jedda (3) and the District Court in The Hague in HN v The Netherlands, (4) giving art 5 significant importance in terms of its legal application. As peace operations continue to expand in scale, scope and complexity, the issue of the attribution of the conduct of international military forces deployed in such operations is likely to continue to feature before such tribunals. This is particularly due to the corresponding increase in the range of situations in which force will be employed as well as the intensifying attention in recent years on violations of international humanitarian law ('IHL') and international human rights laws ('IHRL') and other misconduct by such forces.

In this regard, this commentary seeks to reflect on the efficacy of art 5 in the attribution of conduct--one of the two constitutive elements of international responsibility--with respect to kiN peacekeeping operations ('PKOs'), focusing in particular on its correlation with UN command and control arrangements. (5) The discussion will focus solely on the attribution of the conduct of formed 'blue-helmet' military contingents in UN PKOs, and not that of UN military observers, civilian police or civilian personnel, which have a different status as experts or officials on mission and are governed by different rules and arrangements, for instance, in terms of privileges and immunities. (6) Non-UN-led peace operations will be addressed only in so far as their command and control arrangements provide relevant insights, although the conclusions suggested in this commentary are also relevant to such peace operations. The commentary begins with a review of the law governing the attribution of the conduct of peacekeepers (Part II) as well as the UN's stance on international responsibility (Part III), before moving on to consider command and control arrangements in the current UN peacekeeping context (Part IV) and prevailing thinking and practice on the attribution of conduct (Part V).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

International Responsibility in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Command and Control Arrangements and the Attribution of Conduct
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?