The Effect of immunity on the accountability of UN peacekeeping military personnel: a case study of MONUSCO and MINUSCA.
Mumanya, Rose Nginiza
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This paper attempts to dissect the effect of the immunity granted to MINUSCA and MONUSCO peacekeeping military personnel on their accountability (or lack thereof) for the abuse of civilians contrary to their duty to protect the said civilians. It is argued that accountability, because of its deterrent effect, is necessary to prevent the abuse of civilians by peacekeeping military personnel and thus is a necessary condition for the achievement of the mandate of the peacekeeping missions in light of the human security concept. As such, this paper analyses the extent to which the lack of accountability for the abuse of civilians by peacekeeping soldiers is as a result of the immunity granted to them and in light of this, interrogates this immunity. It does so by analyzing the cases of abuse of civilians by the peacekeeping soldiers and the relationship between the accountability (and lack thereof) for such acts and the immunity granted to the peacekeeping military personnel. In light of this, it is concluded that the immunity granted to peacekeeping soldiers negatively affects their accountability for the abuse of civilians to the extent that (i) it subjects the investigation to the legal systems of the troop contributing countries, which are often inadequate, (ii) it compromises the collection of evidence, and (iii) it compromises the impartiality of the process. It is also established that this immunity is indispensable to the UN peacekeeping model and thus it cannot be waived. Therefore, it is recommended that any measures taken to foster accountability of the soldiers for abuse of civilians cannot include the waiver of the immunity. Instead, any such measure must examine and address the 3 factors that make immunity problematic in holding peacekeeping soldiers accountable for abuse of civilians.