Keywords: Peacekeeping; Rome Statute; Maintenance of Peace; South Ossetia; United Nations; Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
The paper deals with the crime of attacking peacekeepers enshrined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It puts forward the argument that such a crime can be read in the light of the function of international criminal justice to contribute to the maintenance of peace. Against this background, it is argued that international criminal justice - in general - and the Statute of the International Criminal Court - in particular - offer protection not only to peacekeeping operations established by the competent organs of the United Nations, but to every peacekeeping operation that respect the three constitutive elements of the model: consent, impartiality and limited use of force. The requirement that a peacekeeping operations must be «in accordance with the UN Charter» should be interpreted accordingly. This argument has recently been proposed by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, in the request to investigate the crimes committed in the 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia. The peculiar nature of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces deployed in South Ossetia and made object of attacks from both parties of the conflict represents an interesting case study for testing the argument advanced by the Prosecutor.