Children’s Participation in Holding International Peacekeepers Accountable 15
Guterres’ special measures66 have unfortunately, in the view of many human rights experts and
advocates, failed to sufficiently ensure accountability for SEA crimes perpetrated by UN personnel
or by troops and affiliated civilians. 67
We turn next to a discussion of the grant by the host country to the TCC of immunity in
the country of deployment as a barrier to accountability for UN military and allied civilian
international peacekeeper sexual victimization of children and the matter of whether such
immunity necessarily implies impunity in all legal forums.
2. 1 Status of Force Agreements and the Issue of Immunity versus Impunity
One major barrier to international peacekeeper perpetrator accountability for the SEA of
civilians and other persons while participating in UN peacekeeping operations is the immunity of
TCC peacekeepers from criminal liability both while in the host country to which the troops and
integrated civilian personnel were deployed and while in any third-party State. Under Status of
Forces Agreements (SOFAs), such personnel remain under the home State’s sovereign jurisdiction
in all matters regarding misconduct while deployed:
Express consent to the presence of troops and waiver of jurisdiction [by the host
country] over them is usually expressed through a SOFA [Status of Forces
U.N. personnel enjoy functional immunity from prosecution by the host state
which can only be waived by the Secretary-General, while members of military
are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of their respective TCC. 69
The TCCs, furthermore, have generally been reluctant to prosecute their peacekeeper force
perpetrators for SEA committed extra-territorially creating the risk, in practice, of impunity:
The sending States’ claim to adjudicate alleged criminal conduct committed
by nationals acting as PKs [peacekeepers] may result in a sort of impunity of
66 U.N. Secretary-General, Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach, U.N.
Doc. A/71/818A/71/818818, GAOR (Feb. 28, 2017).
67 AIDS-Free World, The UN’s fatally flawed “new approach” to sex abuse, CODE BLUE (Mar. 10, 2017),
68 William Thomas Worster, Immunities of United Nations Peacekeepers in the Absence of a Status of Forces
Agreement, 47 MIL. L. & THE L. OF WAR REV. 277, 302 (2008).
69 Defeis, supra note 48, at 192.