Ever since the onset of peacekeeping operations (PKOs) under the United Nations’ umbrella, several incidents have risen. During these incidents, several humanitarian missions have failed to act in accordance with their aim. For instance, in 1994, the Rwandan genocide occurred despite the presence of an active UN peacekeeping operation. Likewise, in 1995, UNPROFOR/UNPF failed to prevent the massacre of up to 6,000 persons in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war. In 2010, poor sanitation facilities at the UN’s MINUSTAH base in Meye caused the cholera epidemic1 that killed almost 8,000 people in Haiti. Moreover, as the number of PKOs has grown over the years, so have widespread accounts of inappropriate behavior and sexual exploitation by peacekeepers around the world2, notably in Haiti, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Cambodia, East Timor and the DRC.
Such failures undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as a whole. It is also a violation of the peacekeeping mandate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ principle, which provides the legal basis for peacekeeping operations. In this light, there is a need for accountability under two circumstances: (1) Failure to protect i.e. institutional accountability; and (2) Sexual exploitation and abuse i.e. criminal accountability. Read the rest of this entry »