New Book on Criminal Accountability of UN Police Personnel (09/03/2017)

 Tokyo University Associate Professor Kihara-Hunt Ai examines the effectiveness of the UN’s accountability mechanisms and arrangements with reference to criminal behaviour by United Nations Police personnel.

(Source: UN)

 A new book ‘Holding UNPOL to Account: Individual Accountability of United Nations Police Personnel’ by Ai Kihara-Hunt, Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo and Member of Global Peacebuilding Association, is coming out in March 2017. The book probes into the effectiveness of the UN’s accountability mechanisms and arrangements in relation to criminal behaviour by United Nations Police personnel.

Kihara-Hunt Ai

 UN police are involved in establishing the rule of law, in UN Peace Operations. However, they themselves commit serious crimes, but are not generally prosecuted. This is likely to have an impact on the UN’s effectiveness and legitimacy. Are the UN’s mechanisms for addressing criminal accountability effective? If there is a problem, how can it be mitigated?

 To answer these questions, the qualifications, qualities and functions of UN police were identified. Next, an attempt was made to quantify the problem of their criminal behaviour. Current accountability mechanisms were assessed. Jurisdictional and immunity issues were examined as potential barriers to prosecution. Finally, the obligations of States and the UN to investigate and prosecute criminal acts committed by UN police were examined.

 The book offers a rare analysis of raw data of criminal behaviour by UN Peace Operations personnel, and dissects UN’s internal mechanisms. Its examination into legal and practical barriers for prosecution makes it clear that legal obstacles are not as big as they are often pictured to be. It then argues that States and the UN have obligation under International Human Rights Law to investigate and prosecute serious crimes committed by UN Police Personnel. The research indicated that the issue of criminal accountability of UN Police Personnel is linked to bigger issues of the UN, which need to be addressed at its political organs.

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