Casualty recording as an evaluative capability in Libya

This paper was first published in a new Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Whitehall Report, 'Hitting the Target? How New Capabilities Are Shaping International Intervention', in collaboration with the Centre for International Intervention (CII) at the University of Surrey. The full Whitehall Report is available on RUSI's website.

This original research paper from ECC explores the relationship between UN Security Council Resolution 1973, its implementation in the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector, and the Protection of Civilians in armed conflict agenda at the UN.

Using the conflict in Libya as a case study, Casualty Recording as an Evaluative Capability illustrates the importance of systematically recording civilian casualties. It demonstrates the variety of recording methods available, and argues that casualty recording information is essential for achieving many of the goals of the UN’s Protection of Civilians agenda. Casualty recording, both the process and its outcomes should be explicitly incorporated in all Security Council resolutions mandating protection.

The Libyan case illustrates areas where shortcomings in the mandating resolution undermined broader Protection of Civilians objectives. Peace operations with a PoC mandate require greater clarity on how casualty information should be recorded and who is responsible for ensuring it takes place. Systematic assessment of casualty information can help improve understanding of what makes protection operations effective, and encourage accountability.

This paper was first published in the Whitehall Report, ‘Hitting the Target?’, jointly produced by RUSI and the Centre for International Intervention at the University of Surrey.