Online Guest Lectures by members of the SCID Panel of Experts will be uploaded here every two months, on a range of subjects related to security, conflict and international development. Each lecture will be followed by a period of up to two weeks in which the Expert who delivered the lecture will respond to questions and discuss issues raised – along with other SCID Panel members, students and staff.
Conor Foley presents the first Online Guest Lecture. He discusses the legal aspects of Peace Support Operations (PSOs) by considering the relevant bodies of law in peacekeeping, principally: the UN Charter and UN Security Council Resolutions; International Humanitarian Law (IHL); International Human Rights Law; Refugee Law; Host state law; and the State of Forces Agreements (SOPAs). Conor’s Lecture concludes by reflecting upon the issues of peacekeeper accountability and the principle of immunity, before reflecting upon the UN Human Rights Due Diligence policy.
Click on the link below to access Conor’s Lecture (it is large so it will take a while to download). Please submit any questions or comments within the next two weeks for Conor’s attention and/or discussion by other SCID Panel members, students and staff.
Thank you very much, Conor, for an excellent discussion of the legal framework of peace support operations. I found the lecture exceptionally informative and engaging. You also shed significant light on a subject in which there are many grey areas, particularly as PSOs are increasingly involved in the protection of civilians and the protection of human rights, as you have highlighted.
I was especially interested in the section addressing the tension between holding UN missions and their personnel to account and the principle of immunity (for operational purposes). Aside from the developments in the legal framework outlined by Conor, it would be very interesting to hear from others of ways in which this tension might have been addressed in practice.
Your consideration of the authorisation of the use of military force was also very enlightening: whether there are certain circumstances under which the UN Security Council is obliged to authorise the use of force and whether there are certain circumstances under which other bodies can legally use force in the absence of SC authorisation. I’m sure this will be a hotly debated topic for a long while and would welcome any further comments on this debate. I’m particularly interested in the relationship between the protection of civilians and international peace and security, and the extent to which violations of the rights of civilians could be seen to constitute a threat to international peace and security and the responsibility to protect those rights whether or not such a broader threat exists. Some of these issues return to the excellent discussion Conor and others participated in on the JISC email discussion list a few weeks ago on the subject of Syria.
Thanks again, Conor, for this excellent start to the SCID Online Guest Lecture Series.