VOLUME 12, ISSUE 3, SPRING 2010131 | P a g e
a choice: Either it could provide the UN with the legal space and the material resourcesit needed to impose peace on conflict ridden societies, or a different actor would have toassume this responsibility.Regrettably, world events precluded a carefully calculated decision on thismatter. In 1999, just four years after UN peacekeepers stood idly by during the massacrein Srebrenica, Bosnia‑Herzegovina, the international community once again called uponthe UN to oversee yet other fragile political and military situations, this time in Kosovo,East Timor, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Recognizingthat these missions would likely fail if UN forces operated with the same poorly definedobjectives and limited means common to missions in the early 1990s, the UN created aPanel on United Nations Peace Operations to outline the proper strategic direction forthe Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)
. The Panel’s report, known as the“Brahimi Report” for Panel
Chairman Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, put forth acomprehensive list of recommendations. Although member‑states were reluctant tocontribute the requisite personnel and resources, the UN bureaucracy implementedthese recommendations as best they could.
Thus, by the time six new missions hadmore than doubled the total number of UN personnel devoted to armed UN missions in2005,
the UN had taken tentative but nevertheless real steps towards acquiring thecapacity to accomplish the new tasks the international community was asking it toperform.The problem was that demand for UN missions of greater scope and scale waskeeping pace with, if not outstripping, efforts to improve UN peacekeeping practices.The sheer size of operations like the 19,000‑man UN mission in the Democratic Republic
of Congo (MONUC) was straining the DPKO’s ability to keep all missions adequately
Equally challenging to the forces on the ground were novel mission objectiveslike improving the rule of law in countries with weak or non‑existent institutions ofgovernment and politico‑military leaders with loose command over their followers.
Beginning with MONUC in 1999 and continuing with greater frequency in 2003, the
William J. Durch et al.,
The Brahimi Report and the Future of Peace Operations
(The Henry L. StimsonCenter, 2003), p. xv.
United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations,
Year in Review 2005
, p. 29.
Ibid., p. 28.
Jeremy Farrall, “The Future of UN Peacekeeping and the Rule of Law” (remarks made at the American
Society of International Law Proceedings, Washington, D.C., 2007).