Warner (1995) explains that the UN peacekeeping operations have been placed under increased scrutiny over the past few years. This has come against the introduction of relatively new players in peace keeping efforts such as Germany and Japan. Additionally, continuous scrutiny has been propagated by heightened religious, ethnic and local conflicts among several nations of the world. Consequently, in an analysis of the basis of legal peacekeeping operations by the United Nations, it is essential to acknowledge that the UN has failed in some areas and succeeded in others.
This means that there must be a revision of the role that this international body is willing to take in dealing with international peace. The paper shall examine specific case studies, outstanding themes and contradictions in both judicial and non judicial opinions of peacekeeping by the UN. Prevention of Armed conflict In the UN secretary general’s report (1998) concerning the preventive role of the UN in the African continent a number of legal issues emanate in the need for peacekeeping interventions in this region.
First of all, the United Nations is given the mandate to engage in peacekeeping in the process of preventing armed conflicts in certain parts of the world. This is usually seen when the organization mediates agreements between nations with regard to non aggression. While the latter body acknowledges the need for possession of arms among nations to protect themselves, it may be required to engage in peace keeping when a certain country seems to be operating in a non transparent manner. Additionally, prevention of armed conflicts can be seen through the following peace keeping efforts; • Joint military training
• Harmonisation of joint arms policies • Security cooperation agreements • Registration of arms An example of how the United Nations has demonstrated one of the latter roles is through the 1997 UN Register of conventional Arms. Here, countries were required to give information about the amount of weapons within their borders in order to enhance transparency. Additionally, the UN has prevented armed conflicts by tracing some of the origins of small arms in order to deal with the problem directly; this is further supported by some confidence building efforts with regard to the purchase of ammunition among member states.
In other words, countries have been restricted on the number of ammunitions which they can purchase thus preventing intense effects that may arise within particular armed conflicts. (UN, 1998) Prevention of armed conflict also takes the form of deployment of resources to resolve conflicts. This may take the form of diplomacy where negotiations are made between different parties in order to come up with a comprehensive solution. In other circumstances, peacemaking operations may occur in instances where there is a need to do some fact finding or when judicial resolutions are necessary.
In such circumstances, the UN is normally expected to foster dialogue between countries or to promote reconciliation between affected parties. Usually, this is also coupled with the restoration of the respect for human rights among the affected stakeholders. Additionally, the UN is charged with the responsibility of identifying obstacles and tackling them. Prevention of armed conflicts is normally done by first handling short term goals and then paving the way for greater long term aspirations. This is necessitated by the provision of small incentives that may include water projects, local infrastructure, business loans and many more.
It should be noted that prior to conducting such mediation negotiations, it is imperative for the organisation to familiarise itself fully with the goings on within a particular country and then be willing to change their stance because each situation may present its own complexities. (UN, 1998) In order to prevent armed conflict, it is imperative for this organisation to look into some of the signs that could necessitate full blown disagreement. Usually, this is legal ground for engaging in peaceful negotiation.
Usually, the organisation considers factors that will indicate time bombs for those respective countries. One such example is the issue of scarce resources. When a country is constantly faced by rising tensions about the scarce resources such as land, oil etc, then chances are that this may grow into a bigger issue if left unattended. The United Nations may be very effective in identifying these warning signs but records show that a follow up of the same may not necessarily be the reality. This is why the organisation has failed to promote peace in a number of African nations.
For example, when one looks at the case of North African states, a number of conflicts have spiralled out of control because the United Nations has been ineffective at following up these green lights. In that region, many groups have differing opinions on what should constitute their societies and their vision thereof. Consequently, the United Nations has identified some of these potential areas and looked for ways in which it can deal with them. (UN, 1998) It is also interesting to note that the United Nations has engaged in peaceful deployment of its military personnel in certain areas of the world.
The first country in which such an approach worked was in Yugoslavia where the organisation was highly interested in the restoration of peace through the provision of a reassuring presence and also through the use of certain political channels. Consequently, miscalculations often associated with certain political tensions were gravely prevented. UN secretary general (2005) also summarised some of the cases in which the UN can engage in peace negotiations and these include; -Translational organised crime -Terrorism -Possession of chemical and biological weapons -Environmental degradation -Infectious disease
-Poverty -Genocide -Human rights abuses -Interstate conflicts It should be noted that not all the latter issues apply to peace keeping negotiations but most of them do. The United Nations has a legal basis for preventing civil wars in the event that a particular country possesses or has shown signs of possessing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of destruction. In such scenarios, the UN may step in to ensure that this does not become an actual threat to other nations surrounding it. Additionally, the United Nations may also engage in negotiations by persuading such countries to deal with disarmament.
In other words, this means that agreements need to be made between likely parties that are affected and the UN has engaged in such measures. (UN, 2005) Besides that, the United Nations has the responsibility of preventing certain countries from expanding or constructing uranium enrichment programs. This is especially necessary given the fact that some countries have used their nuclear program to negotiate political and economic benefits to other groups. A case in point was the nuclear weapons program in North Korea which was used as a barging tool by the country against the US.
The UN participated in peace negotiations between these parties but is yet to resolve the issue as the matter is still under discussion. The issue of international terrorism also forms a strong reason for taking part in international peace keeping missions for the United Nations. This is especially the case when such a country is found to possess evidence that draws towards its possession of weapons that could be destructive in nature. Usually, this is done by the endorsements of certain agreements between these groups and an encouragement by the international body to adhere to the issues laid out in agreements.
(UN, 2005) In certain scenarios, it may be prevalent that civil societies may be in need of protection from internal aggressors. In such cases, the United Nations will have to show evidence that this has the actual likelihood of occurrence. In other words, there must be certain institution within the country under consideration to indicate that this can actually happen. However, it should be noted that these kinds of responsibilities may require collective responsibility amongst member states mentioning from wealthy areas and also from poor ones.
The latter assertions were made by the UN secretary general during the dispensation of high panel findings on the matters of collective security facing different parts of the world. In other words, these responsibilities are a global challenge and therefore require global efforts from organisations such as the United Nations in order to deal with them adequately. Because of the levels of interconnectedness and vulnerability of different nations when dealing with these global challenges, then prevention would definitely be the best bet to handle some of these problems rather than waiting for them to fall out of hand. (UN, 2005)