This study explores the normative dimension of the evolving role of the United Nations in peace and security and, ultimately, in governance. What is dealt with here is both the UN's changing raison d'être and the wider normative context within which the organisation is located. The study looks at the UN through the window of one of its most contentious, yet least understood, practices: active involvement in intra-state conflicts as epitomised by UN peacekeeping. Drawing on the conceptual tools provided by the ‘historical structural’ approach, it seeks to understand how and why the international community continuously reinterprets or redefines the UN's role with regard to such conflicts. The study concentrates on intra-state ‘peacekeeping environments’, and examines what changes, if any, have occurred to the normative basis of UN peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. One of the original aspects of the study is its analytical framework, where the conceptualisation of ‘normative basis’ revolves around objectives, functions and authority, and is closely connected with the institutionalised values in the UN Charter such as state sovereignty, human rights and socio-economic development.
Westphalia was signed by approximately 150 European ‘territorial
authorities’, but at that time there were only six or seven modern states. After the
Napoleonic Wars, at the beginning of the ‘imperialist age’ (1840–1914), this
number increased due to the independence of American states, and at the end of the Second World
War the UNCharter was signed by 50 independent states.
It was in the second half of the twentieth century that the inter-state system expanded more
rapidly. Today there are almost 200 sovereign states with a seat at the UN
normative basis of UN
peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts has evolved unevenly but
appreciably in terms of both objectives and authority, with the shift in
the pattern of prescribed functions emerging as one important indicator
of this change.
Objectives were conceptualised here with reference to
four key principles enshrined in the UNCharter, namely peace and
discussion of the UNCharter below. Secondly, the idea that there are
multiple historical structures 15 which succeed each other by a
process of structural transformation provides useful insight for the
comparison envisaged between the early 1960s and the early 1990s.
Thirdly, the notion that cohesion and contradiction are both inherent in
historical structures sheds light on the
are inherent in the UNCharter – for instance, that between peace
and justice. 1
Perhaps more immediately noticeable are the perceived tensions between
what might be labelled ‘state-centric’ 2 and
‘human-centric’ 3 principles embedded in the
Roberts and Kingsbury observe that the principles of territorial
integrity and self-determination may
settlement of all disputes by the means and in accordance with the principles set
out in the CSCE documents’.7 The signatories committed themselves to
resisting aggression, violence, terrorism and lawlessness in order to restore
peace and justice while relying, as a basis of their common understanding,
on the general principles of the UNCharter and Conference on Security and
Cooperation in Europe.
The BSEC defines security in a comprehensive way, referring not only to
its military dimension, but also to political, economic and social factors.
Consequently, in order to
all it can against an extremely adverse context.
This section examines these two functions of authority claims and the justification of failure found in two main actors: the MONUC/MONUSCO and the
MONUC was set up with the legalistic wording of the UNCharter for the maintenance of international peace and security, but this was in the spirit of
addressing the ‘well-being and security of the population’ as well as the
‘adverse impact of the conflict on the human rights situation’ (UN Security
Council 1999: 2). Similarly, Resolution 1925
functional, were almost as new and inexperienced as the UN itself, with
many of them established between the late 1940s and the early
Non-governmental organisations had been present at the San Fransisco
Conference as consultants of national delegations, with American NGOs,
in particular, instrumental in defining Article 71 of the UNCharter. 42
, which they interpreted as ensuring the
political independence and territorial integrity of the Congo, by whatever
means necessary. In an unambiguous case of aggression, which was clearly
within the purview of the UNCharter, the UN had only one course of
action open to it – to impose international peace and security. To
insist that ONUC should remain neutral and not intervene, the Soviet