Status of forces agreement
Each peacekeeping operation has a status of forces agreement (SOFA) that sets out the legal agreement between the host government and the United Nations, including on the application of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. Before the conclusion of a SOFA, the Security Council may specify that the model SOFA, contained in A/45/594, shall apply.
The SOFA states, inter alia, that:
- Members of the UN peacekeeping mission shall be immune from legal process in respect of words spoken or written and all acts performed by them in their official capacity.
- Military members of the military component of the UN peacekeeping operation shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of their participating States in respect of any criminal offences which may be committed by them in (the host country/territory). Specific responsibilities with regard to exercise of jurisdiction are specified in the memorandum of understanding signed by a troop-contributing country with the United Nations for each unit deployed to a peacekeeping mission.
- The standard practice of the Security Council is to request the conclusion of a SOFA within 30 days of the adoption of the resolution establishing a mission and to decide that "pending the conclusion of such an agreement, the model SOFA agreement of 9 October 1990 (A/45/594) shall apply provisionally". See, for example, resolutions 2149 (2014) (MINUSCA), 2100 (2013) (MINUSMA), 2043 (2012) (UNSMIS) and 1996 (2011) (UNMISS)