Children’s Participation in Holding International Peacekeepers Accountable 37
A temporary, special, fully international, (or alternatively hybrid) criminal court outside
the national system, in some situations, perhaps could better ensure that the children’s interests are
properly considered and represented, and that the adjudication process is truly fair, impartial, and
independent. Such a court could also allow for child victims to participate and depending on the
rules of procedure of the special criminal court, allow for “child victim participants” as parties to
the proceedings.168 The latter would require safeguards for the children and their families, to ensure
that they do not suffer retaliation because of the child’s participation in the prosecution as witness
or “child victim participant.” Various forms of support are required for the child victims at every
stage from investigation, to prosecution of the accused and, even in some instances, after the court
proceedings are concluded (as reflected for instance in ICC process in handling child victims
cooperating with the ICC).169
The child and other victims of international peacekeeper sexual exploitation and abuse
should no longer be treated as if they are, in effect, expected and tolerated “collateral damage”
pursuant to UN peacekeeping missions. The “operational necessity” alleged justification for UN
immunity of international peacekeepers who are UN staff or UN-designated Experts and Officials
on-mission should not be considered applicable in relation to SEA of civilians and others. Rather,
the UN’s own personnel who engage in SEA of children and others, while on a UN peacekeeping
mission, should be precluded from immunity under the UN Convention on Immunities and
Privileges.170 Neither should the nationals of troop contributing countries, whether civilian or
military, in practice enjoy freedom from criminal liability for SEA of civilians and others
perpetrated while participating in UN peacekeeping operations. Host country immunity should be
null and void where the State (the TCC) concerned is unable or unwilling to hold its international
peacekeeper nationals to account for such SEA related grave human rights violations. Further, it
is here suggested that the international peacekeeper nationals of TCCs who perpetrate SEA of
children and others while participating in UN peacekeeping operations should be subject to the
risk of universal jurisdiction for prosecution of their crimes when their home State is unwilling or
unable to properly investigate and, where warranted, prosecute.
Holding international peacekeeper SEA perpetrators accountable through various
international law mechanisms would not undermine the UN’s objectives as set out in the UN
Charter Purposes.171 The purpose of the UN is, in large part, to secure peace and security based on
a foundation of respect for every human person, including children. In fact, it would strengthen
significantly the rule of international law, and thus contribute to stability, were the UN truly a
shield against atrocity, no matter the vulnerability and lack of political power of the potential
victims, a good proportion of whom are children. As has been discussed in this paper, that is
168 "Child victim participants” as parties before the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) can make representations to
the court through their own counsel separately from the prosecution or defence, and their counsel are permitted to
cross-examine witnesses. RULES OF PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE, supra note 165.
169 See generally Policy on Children, ICC 1 (Nov. 2016).
170 33 U.N. T.S. 261, supra note 9, at IV-VI.
171 U.N. Charter art. 1, ¶ 1-3.