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Volume10
MonthNovember
Year2008
TitlePolicing Against the State: United Nations Policing as Violative of Sovereignty
Author(s)Alexandra R. Harrington
First Page155
AbstractIt is the author's contention that both parties to the policing arrangement-be they individuals, states, or organizations-give up portions of their sovereignty in the creation and maintenance of the police and policed relationship where the police are not serving the state which theoretically guards the policed.
Part II of this Article provides a discussion of legal concepts of state sovereignty in international law. Part III examines the role of police in U.N. peacekeeping missions from the first peacekeeping mission entailing policing operations in the 1960s through present day operations. This examination reveals a pattern in the growth and development of policing activities in peacekeeping missions across the world. Some scholars believe this growth towards a robust policing element in U.N. peacekeeping is a new phenomenon which typifies the post-Cold War world's instabilities and the increased inability of the United Nations Security Council's (UNSC) to reach a consensus on conflict-related issues. The author posits that robust policing was both authorized and tacitly used well before the end of the Cold War. It is the author's view that, although the end of the Cold War might have allowed greater latitude in some peacekeeping operations, the current trend of robust policing activities is inherently attached to the concept of U.N. peacekeeping per se. This observation brings with it serious consequences for issues of respect of state sovereignty and the ability of a state to lose its sovereignty to the international system through U.N. police forces in U.N. peacekeeping missions.
Part IV of this Article addresses issues involving U.N. policing. From a lack of training for the specific mission requirements to fundamental differences in accepted police conduct within the sending state to fundamental differences in expectations of police and U.N. missions generally, there are a staggering number of basic and truly important issues which are unaddressed by the U.N. prior to and during police deployment. There are also incredibly few instances of fundamental appreciation for and inclusion of the experiences, expectations, and goals of the people policed by U.N. police in the mission plans and structure used by U.N. police; indeed, the U.N. police are often unable to protect themselves and their fellow mission members from the same conduct which they were deployed to stop.
The issues highlighted in Part IV and the background provided in Parts II and III link together in Part V. Here, the author examines the role of U.N. policing on the sovereignty of: (1) the state to which U.N. police are deployed ("recipient state"), and (2) the sending state of the U.N. police itself. The author concludes that the sovereignty of both the recipient state and the sending state is undermined by the current U.N. policing model in varying ways. It is the author's belief that to further the asserted goals of the U.N. and maintain the system of state sovereignty on which international law is premised, U.N. policing should be done away with in favor of policing activities such as those used by the American government. In this system, police are trained in modern policing tactics and human rights legal concepts and then serve as the police force for the community independent of an international organization for guidance or approval.
Part VI concludes the Article with the idea that, as in international cinema, policing by persons with shared understandings of the system and its legal, moral, and procedural framework is superior to policing by an outside entity in terms of sovereignty protections.