NEWPORT- 29 August 2019, eight participants from partner nations graduated from DIILS’s 3-week Legal Aspects of Peacekeeping Operations (LAPKO) resident course. LAPKO offers a comprehensive analysis of the legal aspects of United Nations-sanctioned peacekeeping missions. It details the practical implications of the agreed legal basis for action on the mission, the rules of engagement challenges that derive from the respective UN authorities and the development of international agreements associated with peacekeeping missions.
Exceptionally high quality and well-qualified instructors were invited to instruct. Instructors included, a senior mentor from Nigeria with recent experience as a UN peacekeeping mission Force Legal Advisor and current experience as a mission Prosecution Advisor, and a current UN mission Senior Legal Advisor to the Special Representative of the Secretary General/Chief of Mission with special expertise in detainee operations, protection of civilians, use of force, intelligence operations and investigations in peacekeeping. Also presenting was a DIILS faculty member with recent UN mission field experience as the Rule of Law Advisor.
Presentations in Newport and in NYC were also received from current UNHQs staff from the Department of Peace Operations Office of Military Affairs, Office of Legal Counsel, Rule of Law/Security Institutions, Office in Investigations and Internal Oversight, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees. Topics included conduct and discipline, investigations, claims, SOFA/MOU, transitional justice, security sector assistance/reform, refugees, human rights and other legal issues.
Participants engaged with interactive exercises on the legal aspects of Security Council Resolutions, Misconduct Investigations, Status of Forces Agreements, Memorandum of Understanding, the Law of Armed Conflict, Use of Force and Detention.
DIILS staff instructors with years of experience researching and instructing on legal aspects of peacekeeping provided the overall course design and supported additional presentations and exercises.
During the final days, selected LAPKO participants gave informative presentations about their recent experience as peacekeepers and on their national plans, policies and training regarding peacekeeping.
In accordance with course and IMET objectives, and as part of the DIILS Field Studies Program, cultural familiarization activities/trips in Newport, RI; Boston, MA; and New York City were undertaken. Participants heard from the UN the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Military Legal Advisor and other UN Office of Legal Affairs officials- and toured the 9/11 Memorial.
Some Participant Comments on Highlights of the course:
“The course opened my eyes about UN and about how peace keeping operation works, on what to put my attention, what kind of documents I should seek.”
“ ..to have the opportunity to meet people who have experiences from real peacekeeping operations” and “the practical exercises that enabled us to understand the theoretical courses.”
“Scenarios - this is the best way to learn the complex topic of UN Peace Missions. The course has been divided in two main parts (theory and practice) in a good manner.”
Comments on their experience in the United States:
“I have a great appreciation of the US in general and especially to its military education program. I still regard all this with great respect and gratitude.”