[January 7, 2007. This talk is an abridgement of a draft of a longer paper. It is not to be cited or redistributed without written permission from the author. Copyright 2007 John W. Lango.]
UN PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS AND JUST WAR PRINCIPLES:
THE CASES OF
John W. Lango
Department of Philosophy
Just War Principles
Traditionally, just war principles have been applied to wars between states. Since the end of the Cold War, they have also been applied to armed humanitarian interventions. In this talk, I shall presuppose that they can be generalized, so that they are applicable to all forms of armed conflict. In particular, I shall discuss how they can be applied to military operations by a robust UN peacekeeping mission with a Chapter VII mandate authorizing the use of military force against peace agreement spoilers. I shall term such a mission an armed UN peacekeeping mission.
My understanding of just war theory is somewhat revisionary, and so I shall begin by summarizing some core tenets. Ideally, just war theory should be a politically (or ideologically) neutral framework within which the justice or injustice of particular cases of armed conflict may be debated rationally. Just war principles morally constrain agents from using military force unjustly. When agents deliberate about whether to use military force, they ought to make the moral presumption that they must not. To override this moral presumption, they have the burden of proving that relevant just war principles are satisfied. A metaethical basis for imposing such a burden of proof is that, because armed conflict regularly involves acts of killing human beings and other very harmful acts, the decision to use military force must be rigorously justified.
In the just war tradition, some just
war principles govern the resort to war (i.e., jus ad bellum principles) and others govern the conduct of war
(i.e., jus in
Armed UN Peacekeeping Missions
interceding in an armed conflict, a UN peacekeeping mission was regulated by
three cardinal principles. First, it must
have the consent of the parties to the conflict. Second, it must be impartial
between them. Third, it must use military force only in its own self-defense.
Consider, for example, the case of
In contrast, a large-scale UN peace
enforcement operation involves the military invasion of a target state (or
states) -- for example, the Korean War and the Gulf War. Additionally, a more
limited military operation of armed humanitarian intervention, when authorized
or endorsed by a Security Council resolution, is a UN peace enforcement
operation -- for instance, Operation Restore Hope in
It might be thought that UN peace enforcement operations ought to be conceptualized in terms of a war model, whereas UN peacekeeping missions ought to be conceptualized in terms of a police model. However, I think that both ought to be conceptualized in terms of a limited war model, with the recognition that there should be a gamut of options between the extremes of old-fashioned UN peacekeeping missions and large-scale UN peace enforcement operations. Some examples of these options are naval blockades, the use of air power to impose no-fly zones, and small-scale missions by rapid-reaction forces. Integral to a limited war model is the idea of limited uses of military force, or threats of limited uses of military force, to achieve otherwise unobtainable diplomatic or political goals.
In accordance with a limited war model, my view is that there should be a gamut of options for armed UN peacekeeping missions. For instance, there is the option of such a mission authorized to use military force to prevent crimes against humanity but not to intervene in a civil war. Additionally, there is the option of such a mission authorized to use military force both to prevent crimes against humanity and to intervene in a civil war.
To serve as cardinal principles for armed UN peacekeeping missions, let me suggest that the above three principles for old-fashioned UN peacekeeping missions should be revised roughly as follows. First, an armed UN peacekeeping mission must have the consent of the parties to the conflict, but their consent may be coerced – for example, by the threat of armed humanitarian intervention if they withhold consent. This principle is termed the coerced consent principle. Second, so long as the parties do not resume their conflict, an armed UN peacekeeping mission must be impartial between them, but it may use military force to compel them to adhere to the provisions of their peace agreement. This principle is termed the bounded impartiality principle. Third, an armed UN peacekeeping mission may use military force against peace agreement spoilers not only in its own self-defense but also to prevent crimes against humanity and to attain other legitimate objectives. Such uses of military force may be both reactive and proactive. This principle is termed the robust force principle.
The Just Cause Principle
How, then, are
just war principles applicable to armed UN peacekeeping missions? Obviously, jus in
Traditionally, a just cause for resorting to war is the attack of an aggressor. However, the just cause here is not the occurrence of the attack. Instead, the just cause is the just goal of repelling the attack. The just cause principle morally constrains states from resorting to wars that have unjust goals. To generalize, it morally constrains agents from resorting to uses of military force that have unjust goals. For instance, it morally constrains coalitions of the willing from resorting to armed humanitarian interventions that have unjust goals. And it morally constrains armed UN peacekeeping missions from resorting to military operations that have unjust goals.
What goals are just? I shall propose a comprehensive answer to this question. The just causes for uses of military force are the just goals of countering sufficiently clear and serious harms to the security of states or human beings. For example, the attack of an aggressor is a sufficiently clear and serious harm to the security of a state, and genocide is a sufficiently clear and serious harm to the security of human beings.
But how can a principle of such generality be applied to cases? In answering this question, I shall presuppose a distinction between a moral principle and its specifications. To specify a moral principle is to particularize it in terms of morally relevant circumstances. If just war principles are to be applied to a case correctly, they have to be specified appropriately for that case – that is, they have to be particularized in terms of morally relevant circumstances. To apply the just cause principle to a case correctly, there is a requirement of goal specificity -- namely, that the agent's goal in using military force has to be particularized in terms of morally relevant circumstances. The moral judgment that the specific goal is just derives from the moral judgment that the particular harms to be countered by the use of military force are sufficiently clear and serious.
The Last Resort Principle
Even when there
is a just cause, it is not just to resort to the use of military force unless
the other jus ad bellum principles
are satisfied. Consider, for instance, the armed conflict within the Darfur
region of the
The last resort principle requires
that, before resorting to the use of military force, every reasonable
alternative measure must be attempted -- for example, negotiating and implementing
a peace agreement. In May 2006,
negotiations between rebel groups in
Crucial to such an implementation is the
deployment of a sufficiently robust armed UN peacekeeping mission. Let me
illustrate how the last resort principle can be applied. Suppose that, after an
armed UN peacekeeping mission is deployed in
The Competent Authority Principle
There is another question that should be answered, one that is more fundamental. Is stopping the renewed armed conflict a just goal for the military operation? Presumably, stopping genocide is a just goal for armed humanitarian intervention, because the harm wreaked is so vast. In contrast, it might be unclear whether stopping the renewed armed conflict is a just goal for the military operation, if the harm wrought by the peace agreement spoilers is not very large. It should be evident, then, that there is a further question that should be answered, one of competent authority. Which agents have the authority to decide whether there is a just goal?
The competent authority principle requires that the decision to resort to the use of military force must be made by properly authorized agents. In signing the UN Charter, the 192 Members of the United Nations have bestowed on the Security Council the primary (legal) responsibility for maintaining peace and security among states and stopping extreme violations of fundamental human rights within states. Therefore, in partial answer to the question, my view is that the Security Council has the primary (moral) authority to decide whether there is a just goal for the use of military force. In particular, it has the primary authority to decide whether there is a just goal for a military operation by an armed UN peacekeeping mission.
What, then, are
just goals for military operations by armed UN peacekeeping missions? In
answering this question, I shall relate the moral requirement of goal
specificity to the practical requisite of "clear and achievable
mandates." Let us consider
again the case of
The mandate formulated in this resolution is multifaceted, but the two most relevant facets are these: "The Security Council [ . . . ] "Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations [ . . . ] Decides that UNMIS is authorized to use all necessary means [ . . . ] to prevent disruption of the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement by armed groups [and] to prevent attacks and threats against civilians."
These two facets of the mandate are
rather unspecific. Indeed, the following broad moral judgments can be made
provisionally. A just goal for military operations by UNMIS is to prevent
disruptions of the implementation of the peace agreement by armed groups. And
another just goal for military operations by UNMIS is to prevent attacks and
threats against civilians. Recalling the other two cardinal principles for armed
UN peacekeeping missions, the former goal accords with the bounded impartiality
principle, and the latter goal accords with the robust force principle.
However, it is important to recognize that, if the just cause principle is to
be applied to the case of
Within the framework of the UN Charter, the Security Council may delegate to the Secretary-General the responsibility for both establishing UN peacekeeping missions and exercising command and control of them. In so doing, it may delegate to the Secretary-General the responsibility for making their mandates more specific. Just war principles morally constrain agents in organizations with hierarchies of subordination from using military force unjustly. In the proper authority principle, the term "properly authorized agents" includes not only the leaders of a hierarchical organization but also subordinate agents who are properly authorized by delegations of responsibility. According to the proper authority principle, the Security Council has the primary authority to decide whether there is a just cause for the use of military force, but the Secretary-General can have the mediate authority to decide whether there is a just cause. In general, although the Security Council has the primary authority to decide whether just war principles are satisfied in a particular case, the Secretary-General can have the mediate authority to decide whether they are satisfied. Just war principles morally constrain the Secretary-General from using military force unjustly.
Let me interpolate a qualification.
Through an earlier peace agreement (i.e., the N'djamena Ceasefire Agreement of
8 April 2004), an ineffective African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission (AMIS)
was deployed in
The Force Commander
Also, within the framework of the UN Charter, the Secretary-General may delegate command-and-control responsibility to the Force Commander of an armed UN peacekeeping mission. In so doing, the Secretary-General may delegate to the Force Commander the responsibility for making the goals contained in the mandate even more specific. Whereas the Security Council has the primary authority to decide how they should govern a particular military operation, and the Secretary-General can have the mediate authority to decide how they should govern it, the Force Commander can have the proximate authority to decide how they should govern it. Just war principles also morally constrain the Force Commander from using military force unjustly.
Most fundamentally, the Force
Commander can have the proximate authority to decide whether there is a just
goal for a military operation. Especially in the face of an imminent threat of
harm to the security of human beings, the Force Commander can immediately have
the proximate authority to decide whether that harm is sufficiently clear and
serious. If the proactive use of military force is to be effective, it has to
be timely. For example, suppose that the (future) Force Commander of UNMIS in
In answering these questions, the Force Commander is morally constrained by the just cause principle. In accordance with a limited war model, it is essential that the goal of the military operation should remain limited by UNMIS's mandate. The goal is not annihilation of all of the Janjaweed, or their unconditional surrender. Instead, the goal is to coerce this band of Janjaweed to cease their attack. Such uses of military force are a form of coercion, which ought to be coordinate with other forms of coercion -- for example, targeted economic sanctions and diplomatic "pressure."
Additionally, the Force Commander must answer a question of last resort. Under the particular circumstances of this attack, has every reasonable nonmilitary measure been attempted? Note that these alternative nonmilitary measures also have to be specified sufficiently -- for instance, particular targeted economic sanctions against particular Sudanese leaders. The Force Commander is also morally constrained by the principle of last resort.
In a recent UN report, there is the following statement: "The biggest failures of the United Nations in civil violence have been in halting ethnic cleansing and genocide". My view is that one main source of such failures has been the reluctance of the Security Council to effectively coerce parties engaged in ethnic cleansing and genocide to consent to the intercession of a sufficiently robust armed UN peacekeeping mission. In particular, to ensure that the intercession of an armed UN peacekeeping mission is sufficiently robust, a sufficiently robust mandate must be made acceptable to the conflicting parties, even if by coercion.
According to Basil Liddell Hart, the purpose of military strategy is "to diminish the possibility of resistance." Fittingly, one of the maxims of his strategy of the indirect approach is: "Exploit the line of least resistance." Let me indicate one way in which his maxim may be applied to cases of extreme violations of fundamental human rights within states. Instead of the frontal assault of an armed humanitarian intervention, sometimes the line of least resistance is the indirect approach of a coerced but consensual intercession by an armed UN peacekeeping mission.
. For a recent
introduction to just war theory, see Brian Orend, The Morality of War (
. I defend this presupposition in "Generalizing and Temporalizing Just War Principles: Illustrated by the Principle of Just Cause," forthcoming in Rethinking the Just War Tradition, ed. Michael Brough, John W. Lango, and Harry van der Linden (Albany, State University of New York Press, 2007).
. For a discussion of the role of the ideas of moral presumption and burden of proof in just war theory, see James F. Childress, "Just-War Criteria," in his Moral Responsibility in Conflicts: Essays on Nonviolence, War, and Conscience (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982), pp. 64-73.
. Michael V. Bhatia,
War and Intervention: Issues for
Contemporary Peace Operations (
. For an account
of the case of
. Ibid., p. 133.
. Such a claim is made in Use of Force in UN Peacekeeping Operations, Report of the IPA-UNDPKO [International Peace Academy-United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations] Workshop, Rapporteur: Kirsti Samuels (6 February 2004), pp. 7-8. Available at http://www.ipacademy.org/Events/February_4_2004.htm.
. The phrase
"sufficiently clear and serious" occurs in a recent UN report, in
which it is proposed that, whenever the Security Council deliberates about
"whether to authorize or endorse the use of military force", it
should utilize "five basic criteria of legitimacy." The first
criterion, entitled "Seriousness of threat," resembles the just cause
principle: "Is the threatened harm to State or human security of a kind,
and sufficiently clear and serious, to justify prima facie the use of military force?" See A More Secure World: Our Shared
Responsibility, Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and
. Concerning the
idea of specification, see Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 5th ed.
. For details about this case, see the following reports by the International Crisis Group: "A New Sudan Action Plan", Africa Briefing No. 24 (Nairobi/Brussels, 26 April 2005); "To Save Darfur", Africa Report No. 105 (Nairobi/Brussels, 17 March 2006); "Darfur's Fragile Peace Agreement", Africa Briefing No. 32 (Nairobi/Brussels, 20 June 2006); and "Getting the UN into Darfur", Africa Briefing No. 43 (Nairobi/Brussels, 12 October 2006). Available at www.crisisgroup.org.
. I discuss the
last resort principle in "The Just War Principle of Last Resort: The
Question of Reasonableness Standards," Asteriskos:
Journal of International and Peace Studies 1:1-2 (2006): 7-23. Portions of
earlier drafts of that article were presented at JSCOPE 2006 and at the "Ethics and Africa" Conference,
. For an argument that a last resort criterion has not yet been satisfied in the case of Darfur, including a discussion of various alternative measures, see International Crisis Group, "Getting the UN into Darfur", Africa Briefing No. 43 (Nairobi/Brussels, 12 October 2006), pp. 7-15.
. For an argument that, in catastrophic cases where the Security Council fails to exercise this primary authority, it could be justifiable, even if illegal, for other agents to use military force, see Thomas M. Franck, Recourse to Force: State Action Against Threats and Armed Attacks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), ch. 10. Such an argument might extend to armed peacekeeping missions by other agents.
. John Terence
O'Neill and Nicholas Rees, United Nations
Peacekeeping in the Post-Cold War Era (
Council Resolution 1706 (2006). More precisely, in Security Council Resolution
1590 (2005), the Security Council authorized the establishment of UNMIS in
. Security Council Resolution 1706 (2006).
. See Danesh Sarooshi, The United Nations and the Development of Collective Security: The Delegation by the UN Security Council of its Chapter VII Powers (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999).
. Ibid., p. 70.
Crisis Group, "Darfur's Fragile Peace Agreement",
. I discuss the relevance of intelligence work for UN peacekeeping missions in "Collective Security and the Goals of Intelligence", Defense Intelligence Journal 15:3 (Winter, 2006).
. A More Secure World: Our Shared
Responsibility, Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and
. B. H. Liddell Hart, Strategy, Second Revised Edition (New York: Praeger, 1967), p. 337 (italics removed).
. Ibid., p. 348 (italics removed).