Practice Relating to Rule 33. Personnel and Objects Involved in a Peacekeeping Mission
New Zealand’s Military Manual (1992) states:
1.United Nations Forces are usually engaged in peacekeeping operations. On such occasions they have no combat function, although they may defend themselves if attacked. Their duty is to supervise or observe a situation between contestants, even combatants, and report back. Sometimes, their duty is to seek to interpose themselves between such forces with the intention that their presence under authority of a United Nations resolution and wearing United Nations insignia will protect them from attack, and thus create a cordon sanitaire between the antagonists.
2.When participating in peacekeeping operations, United Nations Forces are not present in State territory in any hostile capacity and are not engaged in any sort of armed conflict. In fact, their principal purpose is to prevent any such conflict not only as it would affect themselves but also as it affects the parties they are seeking to separate and keep apart. As a result, since their activities do not amount to participation in an armed conflict, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 concerning the wounded, sick and shipwrecked, or prisoners of war do not govern their activities or protect them.
3.Since the IV GC operates to protect any non-combatant in the hands of a Party to a conflict, members of a United Nations Peacekeeping Force falling into the hands of a Party to a conflict would be covered by this Convention. It is difficult, however, to consider such personnel, who are members of the armed forces of the States providing contingents to the Force and who are wearing uniform and United Nations insignia, as civilians as that term is normally understood.
New Zealand’s Crimes (Internationally Protected Persons and Hostages) Amendment Act (1998) implementing the 1994 Convention on the Safety of UN Personnel gives the courts of New Zealand extraterritorial jurisdiction over attacks against such personnel, their property and vehicles, which are criminalized by the Act.
Under New Zealand’s International Crimes and ICC Act (2000), war crimes include the crimes defined in Article 8(2)(b)(iii) and (e)(iii) of the 1998 ICC Statute.