Last month, Uganda sought compensation from the U.N. for three Ugandan helicopters that crashed while in transit to the African Union Mission in Somalia, killing seven crew members. In an email interview, Scott Sheeran, a senior lecturer in international human rights, humanitarian law and U.N. law at the School of Law at University of Essex, explained the rules governing U.N. compensation to states contributing to peacekeeping missions.
WPR: What rules govern responsibility for damage to U.N. equipment and harm to personnel during peacekeeping operations?
Scott Sheeran: The rules for reimbursement to states providing equipment, personnel or support services to a U.N. peacekeeping operation are provided in the 2011 Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) Manual adopted by the U.N. General Assembly. The U.N. will usually compensate a contributing state for loss or damage due to hostile action or forced abandonment, or for a no-fault accident. It will not compensate for damage resulting from willful misconduct or negligence by the contributing state. For equipment in transit to a U.N. peacekeeping operation, unless the transportation is organized by the U.N., the responsibility for loss or damage lies with the transporter. Aircraft and vessels are not covered by the COE Manual, as the precise arrangements and reimbursement for such equipment is subject to negotiations and agreement in a “letter of assist” between the U.N. and the contributing state.