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Cooperation of International Organisations in Peacekeeping Operations and Issues of International Responsibility

Can international organisations be held responsible for violations of international law by peacekeepers in a peacekeeping operation?

Moritz Moelle
18 December 2014
Leiden University Repository

The thesis dealt with the question as to whether international organisations could be jointly responsible for violations of international law committed by peacekeepers deployed in a peacekeeping operation. The study started by exploring the development of the concept of peacekeeping operations and the relations between the UN and four specific regional organisations (NATO, EU, AU and ECOWAS) on the basis of the applicable dispositions of the UN Charter. This examination, as well as the following analysis of relations among these organisations illustrated the evolution of a division of labour and an augmentation of cooperation between the UN and these organisations. It justified the formulation of a presumption that international organisations could be jointly responsible and the formulation of a new criterion of attribution of conduct (normative control). The following case-studies of specific peacekeeping operations confirmed that in certain circumstances the UN and regional organisations have to be considered jointly responsible. These findings are of particular relevance as the question of joint responsibility of international organisations for the conduct of peacekeeping forces has been more or less completely neglected in both legal scholarship and jurisprudence. Although external pressure may contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of holding international organisations jointly responsible, any substantial measures and mechanisms can only be implemented with the participation of states and international organisations.

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