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The Question of Applicability of the European Convention on Human Rights to the Peace Keeping Security Forces in Kosovo: The Cases of Behrami and Saramati
The joined cases of Behrami and Behrami v. France and Saramati v. France, Germany and Norway arose out of events relating to the international civil and security administration of Kosovo under UN control and it was the first case to be decided by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concerning the conduct of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) deployed by NATO following the end of its air campaign against the FRY in 1999. The main focus of the ECtHR in examining this case was the question of whether it was competent to scrutinise under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) the participation of States party to the ECHR in the international civil and security presences in Kosovo. The ECtHR held that it was incompetent ratione personae to review the conduct of these international presences and therefore declared the case inadmissible.
This article will firstly illustrate the background of the cases, the submission of the parties and the decision of the ECtHR. In addition to provide comments on the content of the decision, the author will ponder the decision’s significant potential consequences in UN-lead peace operations. Therefore, the second part of the article will review arguments, already presented by other commentators, both for and against the theory that this decision sets a negative precedent for the protection of human rights in peace support operations as well as for the effective application of human rights protection mechanisms in Kosovo.