Complicity by UN military peacekeepers in sexual abuse and sexual exploitation (‘SEA’) has been in the lime light in academic, practice and policy circles for many years now. Recent scandals involving sexual violence and abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic and failures to respond are proving the catalyst for major reforms being discussed and implemented currently at UN level. There are numerous legal complexities, difficulties and flaws with the legal framework, policies and systems presently in place. Less considered are the parallel regulatory frameworks operative, or not operative, in the context of peacekeeping done beyond the remit of the United Nations or by those not deployed under its command and control. The fact remains that SEA is also prevalent across these peace operations but very little focus has been placed on these by academics or practitioners alike. Increasingly the UN is likely to rely on regional bodies in conducting peace operations falling outside its SEA regulatory framework. This may leave local populations vulnerable to unregulated or poorly regulated acts of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers. This paper seeks to address a gap in the literature in examining this regulatory space, focusing on the African Union’s (‘AU’s’) policy and regulatory frameworks governing its personnel deployed to peace operation environments in so far as they appear to exist. In doing so, it will reflect on the relationship this has to the UN’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy on United Nations Support to Non-United Nations Security Forces, and the increasing reliance on AU regional peace operations, and re-hatting of forces.
Territorial disputes historically have been commonplace in the Transcaucasian region. Nagorno-Karabakh is a region legally recognised as a part of Azerbaijan, but has historically been disputed by Armenia and Azerbaijan. It was an autonomous region during Soviet times, but fell within the administrative boundaries of the then Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh has operated de facto independently since 1992, when it declared independence. Azerbaijanis from regions bordering Nagorno-Karabakh were displaced from their homes in the 1990s. This created what some refer to a security buffer, but which constitute occupied territory. Azerbaijan seeks the return of all territories. For Karabakh Armenians any dispute settlement that would leave Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan is untenable, given security threats. The conflict is coloured by history, past injustices, and ideologies around identity. Despite decades of mediation attempts by the osce and others, the territory remains fervently disputed. Border skirmishes have been frequent since the 1990s. However, since September 2020 serious escalations in hostilities and violence in region risk a broader regional conflict and drawing in Turkey, Russia and Iran. The paper provides a historical exposition of factors underpinning the dispute, which are critical to understanding its context and ultimate resolution. It examines the claim to self-determination by the people of Nagorno-Karabakh from the perspective of international law. It addresses the interplay between conflicting norms of territorial integrity and self-determination. The paper reflects on questions of statehood, and on the emerging concept of remedial secession in cases of egregious human rights violations and where internal self-determination is denied, and their possible relevance to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.