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General Assembly passes resolution aimed at boosting accountability for UN staff

General Assembly passes resolution aimed at boosting accountability for UN staff

The General Assembly today urged States to ensure that crimes committed by personnel taking part in United Nations operations do not go unpunished and that perpetrators are brought to justice.

This should be done “without prejudice to the privileges and immunities of such persons and the United Nations under international law,” the Assembly said in a resolution on criminal accountability of UN officials and experts on mission – one of 20 texts acted on today by the 192-member body at the recommendation of its Legal (Sixth) Committee.

In October, UN Legal Counsel Nicolas Michel expressed support for a possible international convention to address current jurisdictional gaps and hold perpetrators accountable.

By the resolution adopted today, the Assembly strongly urged all States to consider establishing jurisdiction over serious crimes committed by their nationals on missions, and to cooperate with each other and with the world body in their investigations and prosecutions.

In addition, the Assembly requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “to bring credible allegations that reveal that a crime may have been committed… to the attention of the States against whose nationals such allegations are made.” He is also urged to strengthen training on UN standards of conduct.

By another text adopted today, the Assembly decided to establish an ad hoc committee to continue working on a new system of administration of justice at the UN by January 2009, as part of ongoing efforts to reform the world body.

The Assembly also took action relating to diplomatic protection, the International Law Commission, UN activities in the area of the rule of law, and the Committee on Relations with the Host Country, among others.