Democratic Accountability and the Use of Force in International Law

By Charlotte Ku; Harold K. Jacobson | Go to book overview

5 The legal responsibility of military
personnel
Robert C. R. Siekmann
Introduction
States have worked for many years to develop systems to ensure that military personnel act responsibly and in accordance with humanitarian principles. This can be seen as an aspect of democratic accountability within national systems. Now that military forces are increasingly used under the auspices of international institutions, the international community must ensure that modalities are in place to ensure that such personnel meet the same standards.This chapter will deal with the responsibility of armed personnel in peace support operations conducted under the auspices of the UNand NATO. In recent years, the criminal responsibility of military (armed) personnel has arisen, particularly in connection with internal, intra-state operations, during which hostilities continue. Violations of international humanitarian law may occur between the parties concerned. There may also be cases of serious violations of the law committed by members of the peace support operations themselves. This contribution will deal with the rules that are applicable to the military in such situations. Some practical cases and situations will also be presented.The broader framework of criminal responsibility involves the following definitions:(1) Legal status is derived from the law that is applicable to personnel in military operations under international auspices, of which four aspects must be stressed.
(i) First, the law that military personnel have to respect, in principle, is the local law of the area of operations–namely, the national law of the receiving or host state.
(ii) Secondly, the law of the intergovernmental organization under the auspices of which the personnel operate is relevant. In the context of this contribution, UNlaw is of particular relevance. UNlaw can then be differentiated into general law, relevant for all operations or categories of operations, and law specifically laid down for the operation

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