CHAPTER 3: THE ROLE OF THE POLICE IN PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS
In his State-of-the-Nation address in February 2007, former President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki, stated that the greatest achievement of the people of Africa in the previous two-and-a-half years had been the restoration of peace in the Great Lakes region. He expressed his appreciation of the role that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the SAPS played in assisting to achieve this. He further committed South Africa to continue working with the people of the DRC, Burundi, the Comoros and Sudan, to ensure that the condition of peace and stability obtained in these countries thus far, translates into concerted action for economic reconstruction and social development. At the end, he acknowledged that there were challenges that still had to be dealt with in those areas where conflict was still being experienced (South Africa, 2009: 300).
From this statement it became clear that South Africa is expected to play a major role in peacekeeping missions in Africa. Police personnel play a vital and ever-expanding role in the UN peace operations. Their roles and responsibilities have grown from merely monitoring a host nation’s police agencies to reforming, restructuring and rebuilding police forces decimated or discredited by war (United Nations, 2008a: 16). Where no effective local police capacity exists, UNPOL have assumed the primary responsibility for maintaining law and order. Across all missions, they play diverse and critical roles in the effort to (re-)establish the rule of law in states attempting to transition from war to a peace that produces safe and stable societies. According to the United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit (2018), the police are a make-or-break institution. This demands that the police service, which is representative, responsible and accountable to the community it serves, as this is crucial for peacefully managing and transforming conflict and dealing with societal grievances. Therefore, this Chapter, seeks to unravel the roles and responsibilities of the police in peacekeeping missions.
POLICING WITHIN THE PEACEKEEPING AND PEACE-BUILDING CONTEXT
The concept of peacekeeping was introduced by UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammerskjöld, with the objective of: (a) finding political solutions to ensure ceasefires; (b) stabilizing situations on the ground: and (c) providing support for political efforts to resolve conflict by peaceful means (Greener, 2009: 2). Key peacekeeping principles insisted that UN peacekeeping operations must be (Greener, 2009: 3):
(a) UN missions (formed by the UN with a UN-appointed general in the field under the authority of the UN Secretary-General);
(b) deployed with the consent of all parties after political settlement has been reached;
(c) strictly impartial;
(d) assigning personnel on a voluntary basis; and
(e) that the military and other units operate under strict rules of engagement that emphasize the minimum use of force.
In such scenarios there was, theoretically, a peace to keep. However, the events of the early and mid-1990s, saw the UN being drawn into second-generation peacekeeping, peace-building and even the possibility of peace enforcement. Although the UN has shied away from peace enforcement post-Somalia, and although the term second-generation peacekeeping has slipped out of common usage, the term peace-building consensus has since emerged. Here, a normative shift has seen the UN being drawn into complicated and comprehensive post-conflict efforts to rebuild state institutions and to go beyond the peacekeeping principles mentioned above. This had major ramifications for UNPOL personnel. All events of the early and mid-1990s led the UN adding more responsibilities to the tasks of the United Nations Civilian Police. According to the United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit (2018), today the United Nations Police perform various functions throughout the life cycle of a peace operation that span, from providing basic security and protecting civilians in the immediate aftermath of conflict, to developing sustainable host-state capacity to address serious and organized crime.
THE UNITED NATIONS POLICE’S PRINCIPAL FUNCTIONS
United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit (2018), states that, initially the United Nations Police were mostly tasked to monitor ceasefire agreements, but with the passage of time they provided a more robust response. That included the assumption of the host-state functions, by having special powers, such as to investigate, arrest and detain and the maintenance of public order. This does not nullify their initial principal function of monitoring the local police, as decided by the Security Council in the resolution adopted for the mission. In the United Nations Civilian Police, the role of supervision and control of the local police and the protection of human rights should be ensured, as described in the guidelines for United Nations Civilian Police, e.g. the role of the UNPOL monitors, would be to ensure that the local police forces carried out their duties, without discriminating against persons of any nationality or abusing anyone’s human rights (United Nations, 2008a: 69).
Even when the role of monitoring the local police has been the principal function, additional functions may be given to the United Nations Civilian Police. In several missions, an additional function has been the training of local police, or assistance with such training. In missions where an election is scheduled during the mandated period, United Nations Civilian Police will perform tasks related to the election and assist the electoral component (United Nations, 2008a: 49). Another function could be the assistance to humanitarian agencies. Depending on the mandate, the tasks may be as follows (United Nations, 2008a: 49):
To observe the conduct and performance of the local police and judicial investigative authorities in the arrest, detention and interrogation of persons charged with a crime, the general handling of prisoners and the searching of residences.
To accompany local police on patrols. To attend the scenes of crime.
To conduct investigations as required, where the inquiry by the local investigative body is seen to be inadequate, due to bias, indifference or deliberate intent to mislead/pervert the course of justice.
To conduct independent patrols and observe the presence or absence of the local police.
To observe and monitor the movement of refugees and displaced persons. To observe gatherings, rallies and demonstrations.
To visit prisons and observe the treatment of prisoners.
To follow investigations against minorities through the judicial system and monitor the final result.
To assist humanitarian aid agencies and the civil affairs component. To help defuse inter-communal tensions.
To record and report all incidents as directed.
To monitor the tranquillity and the maintenance of law and order in the vicinity of voter registration offices and polling stations.
To monitor that no person is denied entry into the aforementioned centres for the purpose of registration or voting.
To assist in the reorganization and training of the local police. To conduct on-the-job training of the local police.
THE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS POLICE
Traditionally, multidimensional UN peacekeeping members deployed during and in the aftermath of an internal conflict face a particularly challenging environment. The host state’s capacity to provide security to its population and maintain public order is often weak, and violence often takes place in various parts of the country. Basic infrastructure is likely to have been destroyed and large sections of the population may have been displaced. Society may be divided along ethnic, religious and regional lines, and grave human rights abuses are often committed during the conflict, further complicating efforts to achieve national reconciliation (United Nations, 2009a: 47).
The UNPOL peacekeepers are often deployed as one part of a much broader international effort to help countries emerging from conflict make the transition to a sustainable peace. According to the United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit (2018), peacekeeping officers find themselves increasingly as the targets of constant attacks. Mentioning the example of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali that is currently the most dangerous peacekeeping mission due to the proliferation of armed groups with extremist elements. Transition to sustainable peace consists of several phases and may involve an array of actors with separate, albeit overlapping, mandates and areas of expertise. According to the UN Report (2008: 16), within this broader context, the core functions of the UNPOL peacekeeping missions are to:
(a) Create a secure and stable environment while strengthening the host state’s ability to provide security, with full respect for the rule of law and human rights;
(b) Facilitate the political process by promoting dialogue and reconciliation and supporting the establishment of legitimate and effective institutions of governance; and
(c) Provide a framework for ensuring that all United Nations and other international actors pursue their activities at the country-level in a coherent and coordinated manner.
In addition to monitoring and observing cease-fires, UNPOL peacekeepers are frequently mandated to (UN Report, 2008: 17):
provide operational support to national law enforcement agencies;
provide security at key government installations, ports and other vital infrastructure;
establish the necessary security conditions for the free flow of people, goods and humanitarian assistance; and
provide humanitarian assistance and landmine disposal.
By helping to fill the security and public order vacuum that often exists in post-conflict settings, the UNPOL peacekeepers play a critical role in securing the peace process and ensuring that humanitarian and development partners are able to work in a safe environment. According to the United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit (2018), although the United Nations Police have many challenges, peacekeeping remains the most cost-effective and efficient path to sustainable peace and security. They regard this as a shared responsibility for the global community and member states are encouraged to support peacekeeping missions by:
Adequately resourcing the police operations
Shaping mandates that reflect the actual needs on the ground
Recognizing the critical need for qualified female officers, particularly in leadership positions
Providing more officers who speak French, which is the language used in many host countries
In situations of internal armed conflict, civilians account for the vast majority of casualties. Many civilians are forcibly uprooted within their own countries and have specific vulnerabilities arising from their displacement. As a result, most multidimensional UNPOL peacekeepers are now mandated by the Security Council to protect civilians who are under imminent threat of physical violence. United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (2017: 3), states that resolution 2185 of 2014 of the Security Council affirmed the central role of the protection of civilians during the operations of the United Nations Police. The protection of civilians requires concerted and coordinated action among the military, police and civilian components of a UN peacekeeping operation (United Nations, 2008a:19).
CHAPTER 1: GENERAL ORIENTATION
1.2 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.3 DOCUMENTED CHALLENGES IN PEACEKEEPING
1.4 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.5 THE RESEARCH QUESTION
1.6 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
1.7 THE VALUE OF THE STUDY
.8 DEFINITION OF KEY CONCEPTS
1.9 THE ORGANIZATION OF THE THESIS
CHAPTER 2: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
2.2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
2.3 RESEARCH DEMARCATION
2.4 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
2.5 SPECIFIC CHALLENGES EXPERIENCED DURING THE STUDY
CHAPTER 3: THE ROLE OF THE POLICE IN PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS
3.2 POLICING WITHIN THE PEACEKEEPING AND PEACE-BUILDING CONTEXT
3.3 THE UNITED NATIONS POLICE’S PRINCIPAL FUNCTIONS
3.4 THE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS POLICE
3.5 SPECIFIC SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE PROVIDED BY THE UNITED NATIONS POLICE
3.6 UNITED NATIONS POLICE NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR PEACEKEEPING
3.7 CRIMES POLICED BY THE UNITED NATIONS POLICE DIVISION
3.8 INVESTIGATION OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES
3.9 PREVENTION OF EXTRALEGAL, ARBITRARY AND SUMMARY EXECUTIONS
3.10 MANDATES AND THE REPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT CIVILIANS
3.11 PROTECTION SERVICES
CHAPTER 4: PEACEKEEPING BODIES AND THE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK IN PEACEKEEPING
4.2 PRINCIPLES OF PEACEKEEPING
4.3 TYPES OF PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS
4.4 THE LEVELS AT WHICH PEACEKEEPING MANDATES ORIGINATE
CHAPTER 5: RESEARCH FINDINGS
CHAPTER 6: RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
6.3 FURTHER RESEARCH
LIST OF REFERENCES
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