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International Peacekeeping, Reviewed by J. Bollmann in Revue de Droit Militaire et de Droit de la Guerre, 2008


International Peacekeeping edited by Boris Kondoch. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. 578pp. Published in Human Rights & Human Welfare, 2009

International Peacekeeping , edited by Boris Kondoch, is a welcome addition to the literature on peacekeeping. As the editor notes in his introduction to this edited volume, there is no recent textbook on the legal aspects of peacekeeping. The latest such textbook is Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel White's The Blue Helmets: Legal Regulation of United Nations Military Operations, which dates back to 1996. This book goes a long way toward filling that gap, even if it cannot offer the complete overview a textbook can.

The book is part of the "Library of Essays in International Law" series published by Ashgate, which features some of the leading experts in their respective fields. International Peacekeeping is no exception. Kondoch has written extensively on peacekeeping, and is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Peacekeeping .

This work brings together a number of previously published articles on various legal aspects of peacekeeping. It is divided into five parts, each covering one or more of these aspects. Part I is concerned with "the role and the rule of law in international peacekeeping." Part II is entitled "the constitutional basis of peacekeeping," and deals with the legal basis, in the United Nations Charter or outside of it, of peacekeeping operations. Part III focuses on the "principles of international peacekeeping," which refer to the three fundamental principles of peacekeeping, namely consent, impartiality, and the non-use of force. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, that this part does not contain an article on impartiality in peacekeeping. Part IV of the book contains articles on the "law applicable to peacekeeping operations." It is further subdivided into sections dealing with International Humanitarian Law (including one by the author of this book note), human rights, international criminal law, responsibility, and the protection of peacekeepers. Part V is dedicated to international administrations. It focuses in particular on questions of accountability, or rather lack thereof, in international administrations in general, and the United Nations Missions in Kosovo (UNMIK) and East Timor (UNTAET) in particular.

It is interesting to note that the first article in the book, written by Oscar Schachter, goes out of its way to demonstrate that there is "law" involved in peacekeeping. The same is done by Kondoch in his introduction, who concludes that "peacekeeping operations do not exist in a legal vacuum and they never did." This book note author wonders whether this is a typical reaction by international lawyers when confronted with the phenomenon of peacekeeping that was created first and foremost as a political solution to a political problem and that has no explicit legal basis in the United Nations Charter.

It is inevitable that in an edited volume such as this one there is room for criticism of some of the choices made by the editor in selecting articles. The article by Amrallah on international responsibility for U.N. peacekeeping, for example, is a classic piece, but was written in 1976 and now seems somewhat outdated. It could easily have been replaced by a number of other articles that reflect more recent practice in the field of responsibility and liability for peacekeeping operations. The article by Siekmann on the fall of Srebrenica, and the attitude of Dutchbat from an international legal perspective, also seem out of place, focusing as they do on one very specific episode in United Nations peacekeeping.

This book will be very useful for those who are interested in an overview of the most salient legal aspects of peacekeeping. It provides a good starting point for further exploring one or more of these aspects, inter alia because the editor provides some recommendations for further reading. It could also be used instead of a textbook as reading material for courses in the law of peacekeeping.


Marten Zwanenburg
Leiden University, the Netherlands




International Peacekeeping.Edited by Boris Kondoch. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. 610 pp. ISBN CODE: 978-0-7546-2395-3. £ 140.00. Published in JOIP, 2009, Vol. 1-2.
“Finally, an entire book looking at peacekeeping operations from a legal viewpoint!” was my first reaction. And I was certainly not disappointed. This book unquestionably fills a gap and this is the stated aim of the editor (p. xiii). Indeed, while there is a plethora of books examining peacekeeping operations from social, political and anthropological perspectives there remains a dearth of books espousing a legal approach.
The book, which is composed of a series of articles published in reputed journals and two edited books, is arranged in five parts. From the outset it must be acknowledged that Boris Kondoch, the editor, wisely selected and regrouped the academic contributions. It is a daunting task to plough through books and journals, looking for the “best” articles that examine such a fundamental topic as that relating to peacekeeping operations. Articles may be broad such as the one written by Orakhelashvili on the legal basis of UN peacekeeping operations or specific such as the one penned by Siekmann on the fall of Srebrenica. Yet, they all share a common feature: they are discussing issues that are essential to any legal debate of peacekeeping operations. In this regard one must laud Boris Kondoch’s excellent ability to select pertinent essays. It goes without saying that his extensive knowledge in the field of peacekeeping operations and his position as one of the editors of the Journal of International Peacekeeping (previously known as Yearbook of International Peace Operations) helped him in his search for the most appropriate and significant essays. Arranging the essays according to focus is even more complicated because many articles do not deal with single issues but rather embrace a wider spectrum of topics.[1]
The reader gains from the outstanding mixture of authors, some of whom are known better than others. Compiling an edited book on international peacekeeping without featuring contributors such as Nigel White, Bruce Oswald, Ray Murphy, Marten Zwanenburg, Christine Gray, Carsten Stahn, etc. would have been nearly impossible. A couple of eminent writers such as Michael Bothe, Hilaire McCoubrey, etc are missing but almost certainly because they are more known for writing monographs than articles. What is particularly refreshing is to read outstanding pieces from less well-known authors such as Ola Engdahl and Frederick Rawski. As already mentioned the scarcity of legal articles on peacekeeping operations inexorably compels the editor to focus on a couple of journals that offer a legal analysis of peacekeeping missions, e.g. the Yearbook of International Peace Operations and the Journal of Conflict and Security Law, or that publish articles considering general international law issues, e.g. the European Journal of International Law and the American Journal of International Law.
The book slowly introduces the reader by way of two contributions examining the use of law in international peacekeeping and the rule of law, thereby setting the tone for the next chapters. In view of the book’s stated aim to examine various issues relating to peacekeeping operations from a legal viewpoint, it is remarkable that the editor unearthed Schachter’s seminal article on the role of law in peacekeeping operations. Few academics, even those working in domains related to peacekeeping operations, know of its existence but it indubitably deserves to feature in this edited collection as the foundation of any discussion on peacekeeping operations.
The next part reviews the constitutional basis of such operations, an issue at the heart of any enquiry into the legality of peacekeeping operations. Although one may surmise that issues of legality/constitutionality emerge in the inception of the creation of an institution such as peacekeeping operations, the 2003 contribution by Orakhelashvili demonstrates that many issues remain unsolved. Kondoch also underlines in the general introduction that the dispute as to which provision(s) of the UN Charter allow(s) for peacekeeping missions is still ongoing (p. xvi).
At this stage of the book, before delving straight into the principles of international peacekeeping, the reader yearns for an article that defines the concept of “peacekeeping,” i.e. an essay that reviews the various words used in contemporary academic writing to describe peacekeeping operations, e.g. “peace support operations”,[2] “peacemaking”,[3] “peacekeeping”, “peacebuilding”,[4] and “peace operations”.[5] There is no doubt that this terminology is mentioned and examined in the great majority of the articles reproduced in the book; yet, none of them focus on definitional issues that pervade most of the debates surrounding peacekeeping operations. Nonetheless, I have to be honest and acknowledge that the only one that springs to my mind was written by Ramsbotham in 2000.[6] Sadly enough even essential books, which can be viewed as textbooks, do not contain chapters discussing the differences in the usage of the terminology.[7]
A tentative definition is provided by Boris Kondoch in his introduction by reference to the principles of international peacekeeping (p. xiii). These principles are the focus of Part III, which is divided into three sections and examines in turn the issues of the consent of the parties, the use of force, and the legal principles of peacekeeping. However, the fourth principle enounced by Boris Kondoch in the introduction, the principle of impartiality (pp. xiii; xviii), is not the subject of a specific essay. This may, however, be explained by the fact that it is inherently linked to the other principles[8] and that, moreover, it has, as correctly noted by Kondoch, evolved to the level where the pertinence of the principle has been questioned (p. xx). The current situation in Darfur points at the utmost relevance of agreeing upon key principles. Again, the editor wisely chose the articles though one may criticise that all of them were published in or before 2000. Nonetheless, the choice is excellent inasmuch as these articles offer an in-depth and yet general analysis of the aforementioned themes. Any academic writing on and examining these issues is bound to refer to at least one of the four essays featuring in Part III.
             The next part is the central piece of the book as it gathers essays on the law applicable to peacekeeping operations. Divided in five sections it includes essays dealing with international humanitarian law, human rights, international criminal law, responsibilities and liabilities of peacekeepers, and protection of peacekeeping forces. The disproportionate amount of articles on international humanitarian law can be explained by the fact that after the United Nations issued in the Secretary-General’s Bulletin a document exhorting peacekeepers to abide by the principles and the spirit of international humanitarian law many academics examined the legal value and the content of the said document. The four essays on IHL clearly deserve to feature in this edited book. In particular, one must commend the article by Ray Murphy as it offers a first-rate and up-to-date review of the current state of the law.
In contrast, the UN has not yet published official documents on human rights, international criminal law and responsibilities/liabilities of peacekeepers; this explains why fewer articles were selected for publication in this edited collection. Nevertheless, one may question why only one article is devoted to the protection of peacekeepers, an issue that is covered by the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, and which has been considered by a wide range of authors most of whom having shared their thoughts and criticisms straight after the adoption of the treaty.[9] My guess is that the featured article is the most up-to-date and competently covers many of the past and present debates on the issue.
One article that sits unwell in this Part is that of Bruce Oswald as it tends to be too specific, i.e. it only examines the work carried out by peacekeepers in safe areas/zones, and is not balanced by a broader essay on the responsibility to protect. But again the editor cannot be blamed for this as only recently have good articles (in contradistinction to books) been published on the issue.[10] The introduction clearly shows that the editor wishes to include an article examining the role of peacekeepers in promoting and protecting human rights (p. xxiii). As commendable as this choice may be, I would have enjoyed reading in this section an essay on the general human rights obligations of peacekeepers, a topic that is currently debated in numerous books and journals,[11] and about which the editor himself has published.[12]
The next section on international criminal law is missing one important theme, the criminal liability of peacekeepers but, again, the editor must be excused as, by the time of printing, no essays had yet been published on the draft Convention on the Criminal Accountability of United Nations Officials and Experts on Mission.[13] In a revised version, this will need to be included all the more as Boris Kondoch notes in his introduction that there is much dispute as to the rights and duties of personnel involved in peacekeeping missions (p. xx).
Further, the title of the section “responsibilities and liabilities of peacekeeper” is misleading, for the two essays investigate the responsibility of States and the United Nations in the context of UN peacekeeping operations rather than the individual responsibility of peacekeepers. Also, the concept of accountability is not explored despite of the fact that recent literature discusses this at length.[14]
This leads me to the last part which is probably the one that will attract most readers’ attention since it deals with international administrations and examines the fashionable new “jus post bellum”. The very fact that Part V exists as such and that its articles would easily fit within previous sections, e.g. the article by Rawski could be included either in the international criminal law or the responsibility and liabilities of peacekeeper sections, the editor has opted for a separate part, thereby showing that he believes such operations to be distinct from “classic” peacekeeping operations. As he explains in the introduction, the “creation” of administered territories has revived old debates and shed new light on the purpose of peacekeeping missions (pp. xxvi). Following the UN peacekeeping missions in Kosovo and East Timor most academics have focused on this new kind of operations. Countless articles have been published and it is an enormous task to select a few of them. Starting with an excellent general article on the issue penned by Ralph Wilde, the part includes more specific essays focusing on specific administered territories, e.g. East Timor or themes, e.g. property rights, all of them of great academic value.
In conclusion, I must say that this is an invaluable book for anyone writing on issues relating to peacekeeping operations and who wishes to include a legal perspective. As Boris Kondoch stresses “[p]eacekeeping operations do not exist in a legal vacuum and they never did” (p. xxix). What is more, since the book includes so many known contributors and deals with a wide range of pertinent issues, it is undeniably a book that can be readily used by academics who teach courses relating to peacekeeping operations as well as by those who are at the beginning of their career as academics working in the field of international law relating to peacekeeping operations. 
Noëlle Quénivet
Bristol Law School, the University of the West of England, UK

[1] For example, Murphy’s article entitled “United Nations Military Operations and International Humanitarian Law: What Rules Apply to Peacekeepers” discusses the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.
[2] Geert-Jan Alexander Knoops and Roberta Arnold (eds.), Practice and Policies of Modern Peace Support Operations under International Law, Ardsley: Transnational Publishers, 2006; Marten Zwanenburg, Accountability of Peace Support Operations, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2005.
[3] T. Woodhouse et al. (eds.), Peacekeeping and Peacemaking: Towards Effective Intervention in Post-Cold War Conflicts, Houndsmills: Macmillan, 1998.
[4] Sorpong Peou, International Democracy Assistance for Peacebuilding: Cambodia and Beyond, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007.
[5] Ola Engdahl, Protection of Personnel in Peace Operations: The Role of the 'Safety Convention' Against the Background of General International Law, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2007.
[6] Oliver Ramsbotham, “Reflections on UN Post-settlement Peacebuilding”, International Peacekeeping, vol. 7, no. 1, 2000, pp. 169-189.
[7] Nigel White, Keeping the Peace: The United Nations and the Maintenance of International Peace and Security, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997. Further, as correctly noted by the editor, there are no up-to-date textbooks on peacekeeping operations (p. xiii).                                                                                 
[8] See e.g. Nicholas Tsagourias, “Consent, Neutrality/Impartiality and the Use of Force in Peacekeeping: Their Constitutional Dimension”, Journal of Conflict and Security Law, vol. 13, no. 3, 2006, pp. 465-482.
[9] See e.g. Evan Bloom, “Protecting Peacekeepers: The Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel”, American Journal of International Law, vol. 89, 1995, pp. 621-631; Philippe Kirsch, “The Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel”, International Peacekeeping, August-September 1995, pp. 102-106.
[10] Susan Breau, “The Impact of the Responsibility to Protect on Peacekeeping”, Journal of Conflict and Security Law, vol. 11, no. 3, 2006, pp. 429-464.
[11] See e.g. Marten Zwanenburg, “Compromise or Commitment: Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Obligations for UN Peace Forces”, Leiden Journal of International Law, vol. 11,  1998, pp. 229-245; Guglielmo Verdirame, “Compliance with Human Rights in UN Operations”, Human Rights Law Review, vol. 2, no. 2, 2002, pp. 265-286; Rachel Opie, “Human Rights Violations by Peacekeepers: Finding a Framework for Attribution of International Responsibility”, New Zealand Law Review, 2006, pp. 1-33.
[12] Boris Kondoch, “Human Rights Law and UN Peace Operations in Post-Conflict Situations”, in Dirk Klaasen and Nigel White (eds.), The UN, Human Rights and Post-Conflict Situations, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005, at pp. 19-41.
[13] Surprisingly, there are few articles on this subject, e.g. Noëlle Quénivet, “The Dissonance between the United Nations Zero-Tolerance Policy and the Criminalisation of Sexual Offences on the International Level”, International Criminal Law Review, vol. 7, no.4, 2007, pp.657-676.
[14] E.g. Florian Hoffmann and Frédéric Megret, “The UN as a Human Rights Violator? Some Reflections on the United Nations Changing Human Rights Responsibilities”, Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 25, no. 2, 2003, pp. 314-342; Florian Hoffmann and Frédéric Megret, “Fostering Human Rights Accountability: An Ombudsperson for the United Nations?”, Global Governance, vol. 11,  2005, pp. 45-63.

Harvey Langholtz, Boris Kondoch, & Alan Wells (eds.) International Peacekeeping: the Yearbook of International Peace Operations, Vol. 11 (Martinus Nijohff: 2007) [471] 90-04-15678-X. Price: EUR 295. American Society of International Law Newsletter August 2007,
Much has been written about international peacekeeping operations. This handy account freshly presents and audits non-theoretical peacekeeping parameters and applications. This volume emphasizes not only the expected legal and policy issues, but also ethical and practical ones as well. It combines an array of invaluable articles, chronicles, and primary documents.
The range of topics includes individually-authored articles on keeping the peace, conflict resolution, organizational diplomacy, international security, humanitarian relief/law, and terrorism. Its attached CD ROM augments this already valuable resource with core documents, including Security Council Resolutions and Reports of the UN Secretary-General.
One may thus appreciate the various descriptive assessments, which shed light upon key organizational entities, developments, and ongoing conference proceedings–e.g., the work of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres; the Challenges Project; the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War; and the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. Its bibliography and chronicle of events add further zest to a topic that motivates so many to consider related careers. Including this book as an available resource will enhance any library and the ability to point to practical resources in the filed.

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