The United Nations Charter outlawed the use of force and envisaged the setting up of a collective security system under the Security Council to counter any breach or threats to peace. This scheme was never implemented as the onset of the Cold War quickly demonstrated that the permanent members were not prepared to commit their soldiers and equipment to such an international force. On a case by case basis, the concept of peacekeeping was introduced and over time has become the principal tool of the United Nations for controlling conflict and for maintaining peace and security. Peacekeeping missions rely usually on civilian or military personnel contributed voluntarily from Member States under the operational command of the Secretary-General.
Peacekeeping missions have performed many different functions, including supervising truce, monitoring ceasefires, demobilizing former combatants and reintegrating them into normal life, upholding human rights, carrying out disarmament, providing humanitarian assistance, assisting elections, training and policing local police, clearing mines and cooperating with regional organizations.
This Seminar will discuss and analyze legal, policy and institutional issues arising from peacekeeping missions. Concrete cases will be used to illustrate the issues, the decision-making process and the interaction between law, politics and diplomacy. Experts will be invited to speak on specific topics. Students will participate in simulation exercise to argue issues involved in peacekeeping. Arrangements will also be made to observe meetings at the United Nations.