United Nations forces and international humanitarian law
Etudes et essais sur le droit international humanitaire et sur les principes de la Croix-Rouge : en l'honneur de Jean Pictet = Studies and essays on international humanitarian law and Red Cross principles : in honour of Jean Pictet
Genève : CICR ; La Haye : Nijhoff, 1984
The author argues that it is essential for United Nations peacekeeping forces to be bound by IHL, namely the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The question of whether the Conventions apply to UN forces is unresolved because the UN is not a party to the Conventions and does not consider it to be possible to accede to them. Although the vast majority of UN forces are peacekeeping forces with no combat mission, they may use armed force in self-defence and IHL would have to be applied. In past instances, provisions on IHL were inserted into regulations enacted for UN forces and into agreements with States furnishing contingents. The author outlines past proposals and arguments in favor of the Geneva Conventions applying in their entirety to UN forces. There are two ways that the UN could formally engage in respecting all conventions on IHL: accession or adoption of a declaration. Accession raises three questions: whether the UN has the legal capacity to accede to the Conventions; whether the Conventions are open for accession by the UN; whether all provisions of the Conventions can be implemented by the UN. Alternatively, adoption of a declaration accepting the provisions of the Conventions is a feasible alternative to accession. [Summary by students at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law (IHRP)].