This article explores the tension between autonomy and accountability of international organizations with a focus on the role of the United Nations in the context of peacekeeping operations. What triggered the interest in this particular matter was the recent failure by the UN in the Central African Republic to prevent and respond to allegations of sexual exploitation and/or abuse crimes committed by UN peacekeepers.
A more theoretical analysis of the meaning of autonomy in the law of international organizations will be followed by a practical examination of issues of accountability and existing mechanisms to address them. The assessment of the current legal and judicial framework is followed by a further exploration of the main challenges and possible alternative solutions to bridge the gap between two mutually constitutive concepts. The primary (and modest) purpose of this analysis is to attempt to plant legal seeds that can not only grow into an ethical and accountable culture within the un but also be instrumental in preventing abuses and be strong enough to remain in place when the public spotlight on crimes has been turned off.