Debate: How does the involvement of a multinational peacekeeping force affect the classification of a situation?

31-12-2013 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 891/892, by Eric David and Ola Engdahl

In this issue of the Review, we invited two experts in international humanitarian law (IHL) and multinational peace operations – Professor Eric David and Professor Ola Engdahl – to debate on the way in which the involvement of a multinational force may affect the classification of a situation. This question is particularly relevant to establishing whether the situation amounts to an armed conflict or not and, if so, whether the conflict is international or non-international in nature. This in turn will determine the rights and obligations of each party, especially in a context in which multinational forces are increasingly likely to participate in the hostilities.


Eric David is a Professor Emeritus in international law at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Dr Ola Engdahl is Associate Professor of International Law at the Swedish National Defence College. He has served as Legal Adviser in the SFOR operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and as an adviser on international law at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is currently a Legal Adviser on the Army Tactical Staff.