The International Society and Peacekeeping

1 ‘The conceptual roots of . . . peacekeeping lie in the Cold War and the UN’s attempt to develop a role for itself in the pursuit of international peace and security . . . Superpower rivalry soured the working relations and created a lack of consensus in the Security Council. This meant that the organization was unable to fulfil the collective security function that was initially envisaged for it . . . Within this context the UN was forced to adopt alternative techniques, initially through observer missions but later in the form of traditional peacekeeping’: A Bellamy, P Williams and S Griffin, Understanding Peacekeeping (Oxford, Polity Press, 2003) 97.

2 Quoted in B Urquhart, Hammarskjöld (New York, WW Norton, 1994) 175.

3 G Abi-Saab, ‘United Nations Peacekeeping Old and New: An Overview of the Issues’ in D Warner (ed), New Dimensions of Peacekeeping (Dordrecht, Martinus Nijhoff, 1995) 2. ‘When the Security Council proved unable to take action in response to breaches of the peace, threats to the peace, and acts of aggression, because its decision-making was obstructed by the divisions between the Western and Eastern blocs, peace-keeping was developed as a partial substitute’: C Gray, ‘The Use of Force and the International Legal Order’ in M Evans (ed), International Law (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010) 638.

4 In the Certain Expenses case the International Court of Justice (ICJ) confirmed the legality of UN peacekeeping operations. In doing so, however, the ICJ refused to identify any particular article within the UN Charter as providing the legal basis for the deployment of peacekeeping forces. This notwithstanding, after reviewing the aims and purposes of the UN the ICJ held that UN organs had an implied power to deploy peacekeeping forces: Certain Expenses of the United Nations, Advisory Opinion (1962) ICJ Rep 151 at 159.

5 A Sens, ‘From Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding: The United Nations and the Challenge of Intrastate War’ in R Price and M Zacher (eds), The United Nations and Global Security (New York, Palgrave, 2004) 142.

6 ‘Traditional peacekeeping activities typically vary from simple observation and fact-finding, to monitoring compliance with the conditions of ceasefires and physical imposition between former belligerents. Peacekeepers monitor borders, patrol buffer zones separating opposing forces, verify the various aspects of demilitarization, including weapons decommissioning and troop withdrawals, and attempt to create a political space that will facilitate a political resolution of the conflict. They do not devise political solutions themselves or enforce agreements between the competing parties’: Bellamy et al, Understanding Peacekeeping (n 1) at 94.

7 W Durch, ‘Introduction’ in W Durch (ed), The Evolution of Peacekeeping (New York, St Martin’s Press, 1993) 1.

8 ‘Originally peacekeeping forces were confined to inter-state conflicts, where there are clear cease-fire lines to supervise, and a buffer of blue helmets can become the reality’: H McCoubrey and ND White, The Blue Helmets: Legal Regulation of United Nations Military Operations (Aldershot, Dartmouth, 1998) 26.

9 As Aksu notes, even within intra-state peacekeeping ‘the UN’s main objective remained unchanged. Maintenance of international peace and security was the dominant preoccupation’: E Aksu, The United Nations, Intra-State Peacekeeping and Normative Change (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2003) 81.

10 T Franck, Nation against Nation (New York, Oxford University Press, 1985) 168.

11 ND White, ‘UN Peacekeeping–Development or Destruction?’ (1994) 12 International Relations 129, 133.

12 1944–1956 is therefore called the ‘nascent period’ in the UN’s history of peacekeeping: I Rikhye, ‘Peacekeeping and Peacemaking’ in H Wiseman (ed), Peacekeeping: Appraisals and Proposals (London, C Hurst & Co, 1983) 1.

13 GA Res 377 (3 November 1950). It is both important and interesting to note that it was the General Assembly that created and deployed UNEF I. With the Security Council deadlocked by Cold War politics other UN members were unable to tolerate continual violations of state sovereignty. In order to protect the UN’s values the General Assembly acted and deployed UNEF I (under the Uniting for Peace Resolution), with the explicit objective of ending the inter-state conflict, restoring state sovereignty and ultimately maintaining international peace and security. This illustrates the determination of the UN to respond to violations of state sovereignty in the event that two of its members (Britain and France), who happened to possess permanent seats on the Security Council, prevented a collective response.

14 See GA Res 1000 (ES-I) (5 November 1956).

15 McCoubrey and White, The Blue Helmets (n 8) at 24.

16 ibid. ‘The UN was involved because it was viewed as an impartial actor that could serve as a neutral buffer between parties to a conflict’: C Stahn, The Law and Practice of International Territorial Administration: Versailles to Iraq and Beyond (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008) 148.

17 For a comprehensive overview of UNEF I, see R Higgins, United Nations Peacekeeping, 1946-1967: Documents and Commentary (London, Oxford University Press, 1969) 355 ff.

18 SC Res 338 (22 October 1973).

19 SC Res 340 (25 October 1973).

20 Report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping, UN Doc A/56/767 (28 March 2003) para 46.


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