Peacekeepers as enforcers? A legal analysis of the attribution of enforcement powers to UN peacekeeping operations in the new millennium

Sloan, James (2008) Peacekeepers as enforcers? A legal analysis of the attribution of enforcement powers to UN peacekeeping operations in the new millennium. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information:


This thesis argues that the distinction between UN peacekeeping operations and UN enforcement actions must be preserved so that the efficacy of peacekeeping will not be imperilled. It is submitted that the primary strength of peacekeeping has long been that it was not in the nature of enforcement. Whereas an enforcement operation is forceful, partial and imposed on a state against its wishes, peacekeeping adhered to three “fundamental principles,” whereby it used force only in self-defence, it remained impartial and it was only to be called into existence where the host-state(s) supported the idea. Because of the non-intrusive nature of peacekeeping operations, the political impediments preventing the establishment of enforcement action by the Security Council did not arise.
The thesis begins by outlining the nature of peacekeeping, with a focus on the Cold War period. It considers how peacekeeping has been defined and how it differs from enforcement. It outlines how, despite the attribution by the Security Council of certain enforcement characteristics to the ONUC operation in the Congo, the two endeavours remained distinct during the Cold War. The thesis then sets out the law relating to peacekeeping and enforcement, including the impact that the characterisation may have on the Security Council’s power to act and on the rights and obligations of the peacekeepers. Next, it turns to the UN’s practice, during a brief period from 1992 to 1995, of bestowing peacekeeping operations with certain enforcement-type powers and considers whether any of the peacekeeping operations during this period were authorised under Article 42 of the Charter. It concludes that such operations were generally not successful and were decidedly rejected by the international community at the time.
The balance of the thesis considers the current peacekeeping practice of the Security Council whereby the lines between peacekeeping and enforcement are, once again, being blurred. These peacekeeping operations—described herein as “New Millennium peacekeeping”—are established under Chapter VII and frequently authorised to use “all necessary means” to achieve their mandates. The operations have taken place with the consent of the host-state (at least where there was a government in existence to give such consent). In order to assess whether these operations represent an exercise by the Security Council of its enforcement power under Article 42, the thesis will consider not only the Security Council mandates for such operations, but also the actual functioning of the operations. In the process, the long list of problems associated with such operations will be considered. I will conclude that, despite the relatively entrenched nature of the Security Council’s practice as regards New Millennium peacekeeping, due to these problems, it is only a matter of time before the Security Council, and the international community more generally, decides to return to an approach whereby peacekeeping and enforcement operations are kept distinct.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available once any embargo periods have expired.
Keywords: Peacekeeping, enforcement, united nations
Subjects: K Law > KZ Law of Nations
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Mullen, Prof. Tom
Date of Award: 2008
Depositing User: Mr. James Sloan
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-121
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2008
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2013 14:56

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