ad info
   middle east

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards





World - Europe

Annan issues rules of conduct for U.N. peacekeepers


August 10, 1999
Web posted at: 7:28 p.m. EDT (2328 GMT)

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a bulletin Tuesday instructing U.N. peacekeepers to adhere to humanitarian rules spelled out in the Geneva Conventions.

The unprecedented move covers a wide range of areas, including general treatment of civilians and detainees and protection of the sick and wounded. Examples of more specific rules include restrictions on the types of weapons that can be used by U.N. troops and the protection of women against rape and enforced prostitution.

The Geneva Conventions apply to combatants, and the U.N. troops traditionally have served as peacekeepers interposed between opposing forces. But in recent years, the "blue helmets" as the peacekeepers are called, have been drawn into actual combat situations in places such as Bosnia and Somalia.

"Military operations shall be directed only against combatants and military objectives," one section of the new U.N. document says. "Attacks on civilians or civilian objects are prohibited,"

Peacekeepers are also prohibited from certain methods of combat, including asphyxiation and the use of poison gas and biological weapons. Sites of religious, historical or archeological value are prohibited from attack.

The bulletin also addresses increased reports of serious misconduct by the peacekeepers, including murder, rape, torture and black marketeering.

Women are to be guarded from rape and forced prostitution and "children shall be protected against any form of indecent attack," the U.N. bulletin says.

50th anniversary of Geneva Conventions

The bulletin takes effect on Thursday, when Annan will visit Geneva for ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the four Geneva Conventions on August 12, 1949.

The new rules are based on the principles of those four conventions, although the U.N. does not have the authority to prosecute peacekeepers.

In accordance with existing practice, U.N. peacekeepers who violate the directives will be subject to punishment by courts in their own countries.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Blast kills 2 British peacekeepers in Kosovo
June 21, 1999
Cohen visits U.S. peacekeepers in Kosovo
June 19, 1999
NATO peacekeepers move toward Kosovo
June 11, 1999
Peacekeepers wait for go-ahead
June 11, 1999
Spy cameras in the sky aid peacekeepers
May 30, 1998
Building an army of peacekeepers in Africa
November 6, 1997

United Nations
      • Preventive Action and Peacemaking
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.