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UN WEEK – 4/1/13

April 14, 2013

This blog entry is written by members of our blogging community and expresses those experts’ views alone.

John and Douglas Carey, Editors

Contents of this issue: a new era in UN peacekeeping

          UN press release SC/10964 put it precisely on March 28th when it started off with this: “The Security Council today approved the creation of its first-ever ‘offensive’ combat force, intended to carry out targeted operations to ‘neutralize and disarm’ the notorious 23 March Movement (M23), as well as other Congolese rebels and foreign armed groups in strife-riven eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.”

          In contrast with this excited utterance, the New York Times, the next day, half way down page A-10, headed a story with, “U.N. Approves New Force to Pursue Congo’s Rebels.” The second paragraph ended with, “The intervention brigade will be the first such unit created within a traditional United Nations peacekeeping force.”

          The new resolution, 2098 (2013), harks back to recent resolution 2086 (2013) while “reaffirming the basic principles of peacekeeping including consent of the parties, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate . . . .” Then the unanimous Security Council on March 28, “Acting under Chapter VII of the [UN] Charter, * * *

          “9.  . . decides that MONUSCO shall, for an initial period of one year and within the authorized troop ceiling of 19,815, on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent or any prejudice to the agreed principles of peacekeeping, include an ‘Intervention Brigade’ consisting inter alia of three infantry battalions, one artillery and one Special force and Reconnaissance company with headquarters in Goma, under direct command of the MONUSCO Force Commander, with the responsibility of neutralizing armed groups as set out in paragraph 12(b) below and with the objective of contributing to reducing the threat by armed groups to state authority and civilian security in eastern DRC and to make space for stabilization activities. * * *

          “12. Authorizes MONUSCO, through its military component . . . to take all necessary measures to perform the following tasks, through its regular forces and its Intervention Brigade as appropriate; * * *

(b) Neutralizing armed groups through the Intervention Brigade.

In support of the authorities of the DRC . . , carry out targeted offensive operations through the Intervention Brigade . . . in strict compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and with the human rights due diligence policy on UN-support to non-UN forces (HRDDP), to prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize those groups , and to disarm them . . . .”

          While voting in favor of the resolution, Guatemala questioned involving the UN in “peace-enforcement” activities. And yet, Article 42 of the UN Charter makes clear provision for peace-enforcement, saying that the Security Council “may take such action by air, sea or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

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