International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Allegations of UN Peacekeeping Forces Killing Seven Civilians in Darfur

Tensions continue to rise in Sudan as a force of peacekeepers in Darfur is accused of killing seven civilians in three separate incidents just last week. This recent peacekeeping development only threatens the strained relationship between the government and international forces. In response to these allegations, the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has claimed that the attacks were self-defense. The two attacks on April 23 and 24 left four Sudanese dead and six peacekeepers wounded. The UNAMID has been in Darfur since 2007. Their mandate is to stem the violence against civilians, and recently their mission has stirred up controversy with attempts to investigate an alleged mass rape by Sudanese soldiers in the town of Tabit. UNAMID has said that 61 peacekeepers have been killed in Darfur since deployment in 2007.

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Previous blog posts have commented on the controversy that surrounds peacekeeping. The most famous example is the Dutch peacekeeping mission in Srebrenica that has been called partially responsible for the deaths that occurred during the 1995 massacre. Problems and controversies with peacekeeping are serious threats to justice—if the people trying to find and restore justice are committing crimes and not being held accountable, then is progress really happening? A lack of accountability for crimes committed by peacekeepers is a serious problem that threatens peace in the threatened area and brings up questions of impunity. In the case of Sudan, as Bashir continues to hold onto power, these strained relationships are only going to act as a spark plug to the conflict.

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One response to “Allegations of UN Peacekeeping Forces Killing Seven Civilians in Darfur

  1. claregeyer May 2, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Peacekeeping missions reflect a unique aspect of international relations in their convoluted association with power. Monetarily, they are made possible by every member of the United Nations. Judicially, they are made possible by the United Nations itself, and more specifically the Security Council. Physically, they are made possible by whichever states contribute troops to the mission at hand. This odd power structure makes accountability for the peacekeepers’ actions very difficult–after all, who should answer for these deaths in Darfur? It is rarely considered enough for the individuals responsible to be held accountable for their actions (if they can even be singled out and identified after armed clashes). In reality, the international community usually calls for some higher power to apologize, or take responsibility as well. But who takes responsibility when the power structure behind a perpetrator is as convoluted as that of a peacekeeper?

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