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In: Peace Operation Success

This article applies Diehl & Druckman’s peace operation evaluation framework to the activities of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) during the Liberian transitional peace process (2003-2006). It finds that in general UNMIL performed strongly during the transitional period, particularly in relation to the core mission goals of violence abatement, conflict containment, conflict settlement and organizational effectiveness. UNMIL’s achievements were less clear and less pronounced in relation to the more complex areas of non-traditional and peacebuilding mission goals. The article also provides critical reflections on the framework for evaluating peace operations, arguing that it is difficult to escape the politics that influence the activities of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

In: Journal of International Peacekeeping


This article examines the UN Security Council’s response to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which has been criticised as hesitant and half-hearted. It argues that the Council’s inability to respond more assertively to the COVID threat was more predictable than surprising. Indeed, the Council’s approach to the COVID threat tended to follow, rather than diverge from, its past practice, exhibiting three increasingly entrenched features of Council decision-making in a crisis. First, the Council is hesitant and ill-equipped to respond to non-traditional or unorthodox threats to international peace and security, even where relevant precedents exist to support such a response. Second, the Council struggles to act when there is friction between permanent members. Third, when all else fails, the Council can still do reliably well on process.

In: The Australian Year Book of International Law Online
In: Elected Members of the Security Council: Lame Ducks or Key Players?

In this article, we examine how the tension between justice and force informs the efforts of the United Nations (un) to promote the rule of law through its peace operations. We begin by showing how the un’s discourse of ‘securing peace’ has three antagonistic propositions holding it together in a combustible way. The propositions are: first, peace contains the force of war; second, law contains the force of peace; and third, justice contains the force of law. With the antagonistic arrangement of these propositions in mind, we then show how the un has developed two contrasting approaches to promoting the rule of law through its peace operations, which we describe as its ‘aspirational’ and ‘operational’ visions of the rule of law. The aspirational vision combines the need for an effective and accountable security sector with a focus on the substantive requirements of justice, thus aspiring to bring all three propositions together in the rule of law. By contrast, the un’s operational vision prioritizes security, stability and order, thus losing sight of the importance of justice. We demonstrate this divergence between the un’s aspirational and operational visions through a study of the un’s peace operations in Liberia between 1993 and 2014, with a focus on the rule of law promotion activities of the un Mission in Liberia (unmil). We argue that the un’s efforts to promote the rule of law through its peace operations risk establishing the conditions for a state of tyranny if they lose sight of the antagonistic but co-dependent relationship between justice and force. The challenge is to prioritize the requirements of force and justice at the same time. While this will not resolve their antagonistic relationship, it has the virtue of acknowledging their co-dependency as an uncomfortable yet unavoidable condition of a state based on the rule of law.

In: Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law Online
In: Journal of International Peacekeeping
Genocide, Civil War, and the Transformation of International Law
Listen to the podcast with Philip Drew and Bruce Oswald

In Rwanda Revisited: Genocide, Civil War, and the Transformation of International Law, the contributing authors seek to recount, explore, and explain the tragedy that was the Rwanda genocide and the nature of the international community’s entanglement with it. Written by people selected for their personalized knowledge of Rwanda, be it as peacekeepers, aid workers, or members of the ICTR, and/or scholarship that has been clearly influenced by the genocide, this book provides a level of insight, detail and first-hand knowledge about the genocide and its aftermath that is clearly unique. Included amongst the writers are a number of scholars whose research and writings on Rwanda, the United Nations, and genocide are internationally recognized.

Contributors are: Major (ret’d) Brent Beardsley, Professor Jean Bou, Professor Jane Boulden, Dr. Emily Crawford, Lieutenant-General the Honourable Romeo Dallaire, Professor Phillip Drew, Professor Mark Drumbl , Professor Jeremy Farrall, Lieutenant-General John Frewen, Dr. Stacey Henderson, Professor Adam Jones, Ambassador Colin Keating, Professor Robert McLaughlin, Linda Melvern, Dr. Melanie O’Brien, Professor Bruce Oswald, Dr. Tamsin Phillipa Paige, Professor David J. Simon, and Professor Andrew Wallis.

This book was previously published as Special Issue of the Journal of International Peacekeeping, Volume 22 (2018), Issue 1-4 (published April 2020); with updated Introduction.