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Detention by United Nations Peacekeepers: Searching for Definition and Categorisation

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A key purpose of this article is to contribute to the development of a United Nations detention policy by examining two issues: (1) the definition of detention; and (2) the categorisation of detainees. This article examines the practice of United Nations peacekeepers taking and handling detainees and in that context develops a definition of detention that focuses on the nexus between the deprivation of an individual’s liberty and their consent in relation to that deprivation. The practice of United Nations peacekeepers suggests that there are at least two categories of detainees – those that are detained because they are suspected criminals, and those detained because they are considered a security threat to the operation.


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