The Department of Field Support (DFS) and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) are responsible for enforcing United Nations policies on conduct in peacekeeping operations. DFS and the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) have the corresponding role for political missions. The conduct and discipline function for all field missions is overseen by the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support.
Conduct and Discipline Unit
The Conduct and Discipline Unit (CDU) was formally established in DFS in 2007 following the initial formation of a Conduct and Discipline Team in DPKO in 2005. CDU is based at the UN Headquarters in New York.
CDU provides overall direction for conduct and discipline issues in peacekeeping operations and special political missions, including on combatting sexual exploitation and abuse. The scope of CDU’s work includes formulating policies, developing training and awareness raising activities and ensuring oversight of the handling of allegations of misconduct. CDU liaises with Member States on allegations of misconduct involving their uniformed personnel. CDU also advises the Under-Secretary-General (USG) and the Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Field Support on all aspects of the implementation of the three-pronged strategy of prevention, enforcement and remedial action to address misconduct.
Conduct and Discipline Teams (CDTs)
Conduct and Discipline Teams (CDTs) are based in many peacekeeping missions and special political missions around the world. Some field missions have a conduct and discipline focal point. CDTs and focal points in field missions advise heads of mission on conduct and discipline issues involving all categories of personnel and address all forms of misconduct by United Nations personnel in field missions, including acts of sexual exploitation and abuse.
CDTs provide training for peacekeeping personnel on UN rules and conduct, and draft and implement strategies designed to deter violations of local laws and UN rules and regulations. CDTs are also responsible for developing and implementing outreach and awareness raising activities for the host country’s population.
CDTs receive and assess misconduct allegations and, upon determination by the Head of Mission that an investigation is warranted, refer them to appropriate investigative authorities. CDTs also record, track and follow-up on all cases of misconduct relating to their mission. Furthermore, CDTs coordinate victim assistance for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, together with other UN partners in the mission as well as with civil society partners.
Other UN offices and partners
In addition to various offices within the Departments of Field Support and Peacekeeping Operations and other mission entities, several other UN offices may be involved at different stages of addressing misconduct by UN personnel in field missions, including:
- The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) is the internal, independent oversight body of the UN. The OIOS Investigations Division investigates reports of violations of United Nations regulations, rules and administrative issuances, including those occurring in field missions. CDTs are required to notify OIOS when they receive complaints involving Category 1 matters, as identified by OIOS.
- The Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) may become engaged when allegations of misconduct also raise issues of criminal accountability or privileges and immunities.
- The Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM) becomes involved when an allegation of misconduct against an international or national staff member has been substantiated by an investigation and disciplinary action has been recommended to the USG/DFS by the mission, and then by the USG/DFS to OHRM. OHRM will then review the matter and may proceed with a disciplinary process which may lead to a decision of administrative or disciplinary measures being taken. Other UN components may become involved in the disciplinary process under particular circumstances. For example, when allegations involve United Nations Volunteers, the United Nations Development Programme provides legal services in support of the disciplinary process.
- Member States: When allegations of misconduct involve military or police personnel, the UN and the Member States must together ensure that all credible allegations are investigated and that appropriate action is taken when allegations are substantiated. Troop- and police-contributing countries are responsible for ensuring that all uniformed personnel receive pre-deployment training before their arrival in the field mission, based on core pre-deployment training materials provided by the UN. Member States must also certify that uniformed personnel that are deploying have not previously been involved in any violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law, or previously repatriated on disciplinary grounds or otherwise barred from participation in current or future UN missions in connection with an act of serious misconduct.