Applying Additional Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions to the United Nations Forces

Legal Insights on a Growing Responsibility

in Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
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Following the widespread participation of United Nations (UN) forces in hostile environments, this article aims to expand the obligations of the UN under International Humanitarian Law. The article argues that Additional Protocol II (AP II) to the Geneva Conventions can bind UN forces, even though the UN is not formally a party thereto. The argument is built on three distinct legal issues: the first issue is whether the UN’s involvement in a conflict internationalizes a non-international armed conflict; the second issue is the legal nature of the UN’s obligations under AP II, which will be explained through two legal theories of indirect consent; and the third issue is the conformity of UN forces to the criteria of an armed group outlined in AP II. The article concludes that if UN forces meet certain conditions, as will be outlined herein, they should be bound by the provisions contained in AP II.

Applying Additional Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions to the United Nations Forces

Legal Insights on a Growing Responsibility

in Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies