Journal Article

UN Peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Protection of Civilians

Ray Murphy

in Journal of Conflict and Security Law

Volume 21, issue 2, pages 209-246
Published in print June 2016 | ISSN: 1467-7954
Published online February 2016 | e-ISSN: 1467-7962 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jcsl/krv030
UN Peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Protection of Civilians

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UN peacekeeping has had a long and controversial involvement in the affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The current operation there constitutes one of the UN’s most challenging missions to date. MONUC’s (Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies en République Démocratique du Congo) mandate evolved over time and the force adopted an increasingly robust posture. MONUC needed the military capacity to take action to support the transitional process and to deter spoilers, while at the same time ensuring the protection of civilians who were at risk. As the situation deteriorated, the response of the UN was to modify the mission to meet what were seen as the main challenges to stability. In 2010 MONUC became United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO). This led to a reconfiguration and change in role to that of a stabilisation mission. Subsequently in 2013, the Security Council approved the establishment of the Force Intervention Brigade. This reflected an acknowledgement of the scale of the crisis and that it was necessary to take the initiative militarily to neutralise spoilers. The combat nature of the Brigade mission distinguishes it from other UN operations under Chapter VII and has important implications for the status of the military personnel comprising the whole MONUSCO mission. MONUSCO continues to be subject to criticism for its failure to protect civilians. While the situation would almost certainly have been worse without UN involvement, MONUSCO cannot continue to try and manage the conflict indefinitely while failing to protect civilians at risk.

Journal Article.  18421 words. 

Subjects: Military and Defence Law ; Police and Security Services ; Terrorism and National Security Law ; Use of Force, War, Peace and Neutrality

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