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UN Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement (6 ECTS)

Lecturer(s): dr. A.G. Hallo de Wolfdr. mr. A.J.J. de Hoogh (coordinator)

When: Block 2

Brief course description:
The Charter of the United Nations imposes a general prohibition to use armed force in international relations, with self-defence and collective security action by the UN Security Council as the main exceptions. Frequent use of the veto by permanent members of the Security Council during the Cold War led to the development of peacekeeping missions based on the consent of the parties to the conflict and voluntary contributions of (military) personnel by other UN members. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a more activist Security Council started intervening in crises situations in an unprecedented manner through authorizing interventions by ‘coalitions of the able and the willing’ under Chapter VII of the Charter, by expanding the number of peacekeeping missions and widening the scope of their mandates, by creating international criminal tribunals, imposing targeted sanctions against individuals or non-state actors and by adopting decisions with legislative design. However, the (threat of) veto remains an obstacle to effective intervention in many situations.
This course will deal with the international law side of the complex and highly political objectives of maintaining or restoring international peace and security. After introducing the basic rules on the use of armed force between States, the course will concentrate on UN peacekeeping and peace enforcement. As regards peacekeeping, the history, legal basis, main principles, the developing scope of mandates, and the functioning and responsibilities of peacekeeping operations will be discussed in light of the fact that current threats to or disturbances of peace and security are often of an internal character and involve non-state actors. This also affects peace enforcement: what is for instance the impact of atrocities committed within states on the interpretation of what constitutes ‘peace’ or a ‘threat to the peace’ and consequently on the implementation of the enforcement powers of the Security Council as instituted by the Charter. Humanitarian concerns and humanitarian intervention take a much more prominent role than the traditional focus on maintaining and restoring peace between States. The primary responsibilities of the Security Council will be investigated and its enforcement competence and powers under Chapter VII of the Charter will be extensively analysed. The responsibilities and functions of especially the General Assembly, and its relation with the Security Council, will be explored.
A critical discussion of past and current crisis situations will be a central feature of this course, as (developments in) international law cannot be understood in ‘clinical isolation’ from the day-to-day realities in international relations.

Teaching method: This course will be mainly taught by way of lectures, but students will be expected to actively discuss specific cases or situations or to engage in role playing in class.

Assessment: Written exam (essay questions) (digital if possible) 

*Official course information and schedules during the academic year can be found in Ocasys.

Last modified:13 August 2018 12.14 p.m.