Gendarmeries in Multinational Operations

In: Journal of International Peacekeeping

It has been argued that the deployment of gendarmerie forces can help establish public order and security in international interventions. However, little is known empirically about gendarmeries in multinational operations. This article examines the Italian Carabinieri in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina, post-war Kosovo, and war-time Afghanistan. It shows that in these missions, the Carabinieri were able and willing to carry out a variety of activities, including crowd management, arrests, and the training of host state police, and that the gendarmeries flexibly adapted to the respective mission context. However, the article also points at limitations of gendarmerie operations and identifies knowledge gaps relating to the activities and the effects of such operations. The debate on, and practice of, militarized police intervention in war-torn countries would benefit from the systematic collection of data and information. Unfortunately, such collection faces significant challenges.