chapter  5
23 Pages

A legal obligation to act for the peacekeeping commander?

WithLenneke Sprik

This chapter discusses how mission-specific rules and regulations, such as the mandate and the rules of engagement (ROE), could be a potential source for a legal obligation to exercise specific tasks or fulfil an overall mission objective. It argues that using international human rights law (IHRL) as a potential legal basis for an obligation to act for peacekeeping commanders comes with certain risks for the peacekeeping operation. The chapter assesses which specific provisions of international humanitarian law (IHL) create such an obligation, mainly to argue that a positive obligation under IHL would only apply to the Battalion Commanders in cases similar to occupation. The chapter also provides a critical review of the argument that protective norms under IHL and IHRL may apply in PKOs, but that this requires a contextual interpretation of the law. Turning protective IHL and IHRL norms into positive obligations for peacekeeping commanders may further the fragmentation of international law by expanding the original scope of these laws.