Watching the Watchdogs: Holding the UN Accountable for International Humanitarian Law Violations of the ‘Blue Helmets’


The political climate is ripe for the United Nations system to successfully and effectively provide global collective security. Now that relations have improved between the ‘East’ and ‘West’ the United Nations will indeed be able to broaden its role, and perhaps operate to its full capacity - to call into being the ‘New World Order,’ characterised by a Security Council able to respond swiftly and effectively to aggression and massive human rights violations through ‘police action’. However the significant and documented international humanitarian law violations by UN forces in the 1990s has raised the stakes. Thrice in the last decade of the 20th Century, national adjudicative mechanisms failed to uphold justice for the victims of international humanitarian law violations by UN forces. The stakes are high; the credibility of UN sanctioned military operations, the accountability of UN troops to international humanitarian law standards and the adherence to the international rule-of-law regime envisioned in the drive to the permanent International Criminal Court. The UN's distinction in its status as a superior legal and moral entity means that it should be held to an even higher standard than the traditional subjects of the laws of war.


International Law

Date of this Version

May 2006