Most UN peacekeeping missions are mandated under Chapter VII. Many are mandated to undertake law enforcement operations unconnected to activity by parties to an armed conflict www.un.org/en/sc/inc/pages/pdf/mandate.xls. The presentation will draw on testimonies of ‘collateral damage’ survivors of law enforcement operations conducted by the UN’s first Chapter VII stabilization mission – the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti – to discuss issues this raises and implications for current and future missions.
MINUSTAH deployed from 2004-2017, a period in which there was no armed conflict in Haiti. UN reports state that on one occasion troops fired 22,700 bullets and on another 10,000, in a densely populated neighbourhood of Cité Soleil. Residents, and an MSF doctor, said that MINUSTAH fired from helicopters and that the UN never returned to investigate the number of casualties even though Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Guehenno, mission-head Valdés, and the US Embassy, all acknowledged that UN fire had resulted in unintended casualties.
The presentation will discuss the legal frameworks governing peacekeepers’ use of force outside of a ‘hostilities-in-armed-conflict’ context and the scope of permissible ‘collateral damage’; and UN responsibilities with regard to ensuring that those with ‘collateral damage’ injuries as a consequence of UN operations receive appropriate medical care.