Conventional peacekeeping operations are designed as stop-gap measures, either for a brief period of time or with a limited brief in a frozen conflict. This can be functional if the peacekeepers are dealing with institutionalized belligerents, with functioning hierarchies. In so-called ‘fragile states’, there is a risk that peacekeeping missions will turn into open-ended commitments. Fragile states are typically defined by what they are not–they are not Weberian states in which autonomous state institutions administer the rule of law and regulate political conflicts, and not states in which governments deliver services on an efficient and impartial basis. International policies for dealing with such states, from Afghanistan to Congo, assume that these states can build ‘normal’ institutions in a brief historical span. Kofi Annan’s 2001 report, ‘No Exit Without Strategy,’ defined the criteria for success for peacekeeping operations in an identical way: ‘domestic peace becomes sustainable, when the natural conflicts of society can be resolved through the exercise of State sovereignty and, generally, participatory governance.’ This is, I fear, a formula for peacekeeping missions without end. In this month’s International Affairs I have an article, “Mission without End” which outlines my analysis of why this is so. I argue that our […]
Conventional peacekeeping operations are designed as stop-gap measures, either for a brief period of time or with a limited brief in a frozen conflict. This can be functional if the peacekeepers are dealing with institutionalized belligerents, with functioning hierarchies. It worked in the Ethio-Eritrean conflict, as for example in Cyprus. But in so-called ‘fragile states’, there is a risk that peacekeeping missions will turn into open-ended commitments. Fragile states are typically defined by what they are not–they are not Weberian states in which autonomous state institutions administer the rule of law and regulate political conflicts, and not states in which governments deliver services on an efficient and impartial basis. International policies for dealing with such states, from Afghanistan to Congo, assume that these states can build ‘normal’ institutions in a brief historical span. Kofi Annan’s 2001 report, ‘No Exit Without Strategy,’ defined the criteria for success for peacekeeping operations in an identical way: ‘domestic peace becomes sustainable, when the natural conflicts of society can be resolved through the exercise of State sovereignty and, generally, participatory governance.’ This is, I fear, a formula for peacekeeping missions without end. In this month’s International Affairs I have an article, “Mission without End” which […]
Livelihoods, Power and Choice: the Vulnerability of the Northern Rizaygat, Darfur, Sudan, is the latest report on Darfur from the Feinstein International Famine Center. Livelihoods in Darfur are intimately linked to the conflict, none more so than the livelihoods of the camel herding nomads known as the Northern Rizaygat. Their notoriety as part of the Janjaweed militia has obscured from view how their lives and livelihoods have been affected by conflict. Based on fieldwork in rural Darfur, this report uses a livelihoods lens to illustrate the processes that have contributed to the vulnerability of the Darfuri nomads who have much in common with pastoralists globally. Severe pressures on pastoralist livelihoods have contributed to ‘maladaptive’ livelihood strategies that are often linked to violence and conflict, and undermine the livelihoods of both victims and perpetrators. They have suffered relative exclusion and vilification by the international community, including by humanitarians, international peace processes and international advocacy. Apart from their politicized image, other reasons for their exclusion are because they are widely perceived by the international community as less vulnerable, and also because they are hard-to-reach, living in scattered rural communities and alienated by their treatment internationally. This report challenges the widely held misperceptions […]
On the face of it, Africa has been relatively unharmed by the world financial crisis. The fact is that it remains the continent that has been the least penetrated by formal institutions of investment and credit – mortgages, bank loans, share dealings, that sort of thing. Much low-level business in Africa is done with cash or even barter. In South Africa, the continent’s leading economic power, the banks are still regulated in a way that was regarded as orthodox in North America and Europe before the doctrines of free-market globalization became fashionable, so South African bankers are actually forbidden by their government to deal in the dubious financial instruments that have brought down so many famous names in the banking world. Good news so far, then. Yet the world is not just dealing with a financial crisis, but with a recession as well. Here, Africans are affected like everyone else. The continent still depends largely on exporting primary products. Because of a fall in demand, the prices of most commodities have fallen sharply, with exceptions only for a couple of items, including gold and cocoa. The consequence is a decline in foreign exchange earnings for most African countries, compounded by […]
Khalid Omer sent in this comment on my critique, with 13 points, each of which deserves a response. Khalid’s questions are numbered, my replies are in italics.
With all the attention to the ICC Prosecutor’s application for an arrest warrant against President Omar al Bashir, it is remarkable how little scrutiny has been given to the contents of the Public Application itself. Frankly, it’s a mess. A few years ago I asked the undergraduate students in my class to prepare the arguments for a debate on the question of whether what was going on in Darfur was genocide or war crimes and crimes against humanity. If one of my students had presented the 14 July Public Application against Bashir, I would have sent it back for revision before I would give it a pass grade. Perhaps that is what the Pre-Trial Chamber is considering now. I hope so. It is astonishing that, confronted with a government which during its nineteen years in power has presided over a wide range of unspeakable violations including some of the most heinous crimes under international law, the Prosecutor of the ICC should set out a prosecution case which is so riddled with flaws. If the Public Application represents the approach that the Prosecutor would take in a future trial, we face the prospect that Pres. Bashir might well be acquitted of […]
The trial of the Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo finally opened in The Hague yesterday. He is charged on six counts of recruiting and using child soldiers in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Those listening to the opening statement of the ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, might have been forgiven for thinking that Lubanga was also being charged with the crimes of “kill, pillage and rape,” which numerous witnesses describe as having been committed by his forces (both the child soldiers and others). In fact, he is not. The words are simply colouring on the case for public consumption. Perhaps the reason why the Prosecutor chose to emphasize these crimes against humanity alongside the crimes for which Lubanga is actually standing trial is that when Lubanga was spirited away from the Congolese prison where he was incarcerated, he was actually facing charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. During the campaigns conducted by Lubanga’s Union of Congolese Patriots from 1999-2003, many hundreds of people were reportedly massacred, and among Congolese at least, these mass killings are considered graver crimes than the recruitment of child soldiers. In an article in the current issue of the Journal […]
Suddenly Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army is back in the international news. Predictably, it is not because they have surrendered or the commanders captured and taken to The Hague to face trial, but because they are killing people again. The LRA is now abducting and terrorising in eastern Congo and the Mundri area of southern Sudan. Once again this raises the issues discussed in my book, Trial Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Lord’s Resistance Army. What is the role of the Ugandan army? What do the LRA commanders hope to achieve?, should there be an obligation on states parties to the ICC statute to execute the warrants? These issues are discussed in this one hour BBC World Service phone-in. At the time of its first launch, Trial Justice was also debated online by experts on the topic.
It will be difficult to discuss anything this week but the inauguration of the first black man to be elected President of the United States of America. It is an election that is resonating with historical symbolisms and promises of new beginnings and great expectations. A nation whose wealth was built on genocide of the indigenous peoples and slavery of Africans has elected, not a direct descendant of these slaves, but a descendant of the enslaved peoples as its president. America does not disguise its white hegemony which it proclaims more symbolically in the name given to its seat of power: The White House. Now that house, built by slave labour and proceeds of slavery, is to have a black man calling the shots. Talk of poetic justice and the empire striking back. But beyond the symbolism and the historical proportions of Obama’s remarkable ascendancy to the Presidency of the USA, there are many challenges. One’s disappointments are usually directly proportional to one’s expectations. Obama is not a messiah, even though that is what many expect him to be. He cannot solve all the problems of the world. He cannot even solve all the problems of America. However, potentially his […]
Sudan is in a state of high tension at the moment, and we face a dangerous month ahead. Darfur is witnessing its worst fighting for a year. The immediate cause of the tension is the expected arrest warrant to be issued by the ICC, the immediate cause of the fighting is JEM’s offensive. The Sudan Government sees the ICC as the gravest threat to its survival it has ever faced and a matter of life and death. It is a national issue, not one confined to Darfur. Up to now, the Sudan Government has responded coolly to the threat, but it is clear that no option is off the table should an arrest warrant be issued. Key to how the Khartoum leadership responds will be the reactions of others, international and domestic. If the reaction all round were to be that the arrest warrant changes nothing and business as usual should continue, then the NCP and security leadership is likely to remain cool. But if the reactions are otherwise, then the response could be very adverse. President Omar al Bashir has made it clear that he considers the UN responsible for allowing the ICC Prosecutor to proceed with his application […]