Peace and Security: The Use of Force to Maintain Law and Order

Simon Chesterman

in You, The People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199263486
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600999 | DOI:
Peace and Security: The Use of Force to Maintain Law and Order

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Unless security is established on the ground, none of the political purposes of a transitional administration can be achieved. Nevertheless, as this chapter shows, the response of military authorities to the security vacuum that follows the collapse or defeat of state institutions has been varied. With respect to forces operating under UN command, this reflects an equivocation over the use of force that has run through the history of UN peace operations, persuading some that the organization is simply unsuited to military operations. At the same time, the armed forces of many countries (and their civilian commanders‐in‐chief) have resisted taking on ‘policing’ functions. The military is rightly reluctant to embrace law and order duties that are outside its expertise, but failure to do so may irreparably damage the credibility of the international presence and thus undermine the political goals that justified the original military engagement.

Keywords: East Timor; Kosovo; martial law; peace and security; peacekeeping; Security Council; use of force

Chapter.  11396 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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