Canada's respected role in international peacekeeping has been marred by events arising from the deployment of Canadian Forces (CF) to Somalia.
Many issues arise from our review of the events leading up to the deployment of Canadian Forces in 1992 as part of the United Nations-authorized operation. Some of these concern not only the Canadian and United Nations organizations for the operation in Somalia, but also the changing nature of peacekeeping generally. For example, understanding the impact of the change in mandate -- from what was first understood to be a traditional peacekeeping operation to a peace enforcement operation -- requires an understanding of the history of peacekeeping, its evolution since the Cold War, and the evolution of Canada's role in such operations. Hence, the following background information on peacekeeping is fundamental to an understanding of our findings and recommendations.
In this chapter we provide an overview of Canada's role in UN
peacekeeping operations. We review Canada's early involvement
before and during the Cold War era and more recent efforts since
then. We explain the terminology and concepts involved in peacekeeping
and provide an overview of the origins of peacekeeping. We also
examine the changing nature of peacekeeping since the Cold War
and discuss the international context in which peacekeeping operations
have taken place. We describe the range of characteristics of
contemporary operations and review the key issues arising from
the new order that must be addressed in considering the future
of peacekeeping. Finally, we consider, from foreign and defence
policy perspectives, Canada's role in United Nations peacekeeping
Throughout our hearings, it became evident that the terminology used to describe multi-national operations has become confused, largely because an increased number of operations with varied mandates and objectives have been conducted since the end of the Cold War under the general term 'peacekeeping'. Frequently, the limitations involved in a peacekeeping or Chapter VI mission, such as Operation Cordon, are discussed in contrast to a 'peacemaking' or Chapter VII mission, such as Operation Deliverance.1 Such distinctions are not entirely accurate, and their legal authority is unclear. Clarification of terms and definitions used throughout the report is provided below.
The term 'peacekeeping' has been used to describe all types of operations from the first UN peacekeeping mission monitoring the cease-fire among the British, French, Israelis and Egyptians in the Sinai (the first United Nations Emergency Force -- UNEF 1, 1956), to the UN-authorized operation expelling Iraq from Kuwait, to the operations protecting the delivery of humanitarian relief during the civil war in Somalia. When used in this generalized fashion, the term "refers to any international effort involving an operational component to promote the termination of armed conflict or the resolution of longstanding disputes".2 The UN continues to use the term 'peacekeeping' to refer generally to such international efforts. In this report, we use the term 'peace support operations' instead, to avoid confusion with traditional 'peacekeeping', which has a more limited meaning.
The term 'peace support operations' covers a broad range of mechanisms for conflict resolution and management, from dialogue, i.e., preventive diplomacy, to intervention, i.e., peace enforcement, and is also the term used in current Canadian Forces doctrine.3
Because it is necessary to distinguish among the types of operations, we use the term 'traditional peacekeeping' to describe only those operations based on the following principles: consent of the parties, impartiality, and use of force only in self-defence.4 Traditional peacekeeping, therefore, refers to UN operations under the command and control of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, conducted by military troops provided by member states on a voluntary basis,5 with the costs met collectively by member states. Because such missions are authorized and carried out by the UN, troops enjoy the appearance of impartiality, which they require.
Until recently, the term 'peacemaking' has referred to diplomatic activities to resolve outstanding issues such as demobilization, disarmament, or reparations, once the parties to a conflict have agreed to stop fighting.6 However, the term is not mentioned in the UN Charter, nor is it exclusively the purview of the United Nations,7 even though it is often said that peacemaking is provided for in the mechanisms included in Chapter VI on the Pacific Settlement of Disputes. 8
The meaning of peacemaking became further muddled when Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali used the term in his 1992 report, An Agenda for Peace.9 The Secretary-General suggested that force (e.g., sanctions, peace enforcement units authorized under article 40)10 should be used to increase diplomatic leverage in bringing about a peaceful settlement, and he called this activity peacemaking. However, these kinds of operations are more properly called peace enforcement operations.11
Because it is confusing to use peacemaking to describe military operations that use force to bring about peace12 (as was the case in Operation Deliverance), in this report, we use the term 'peace enforcement'.
'Preventive diplomacy' is a more precise term than 'peacemaking' to describe diplomatic or other peaceful activity taken "to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into armed conflict and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur".13 Preventive diplomacy involves the peaceful resolution of disputes before they develop into armed conflict, whereas 'peacemaking' involves the peaceful resolution of disputes persisting after armed conflict stops.
Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali used the term 'preventive deployment' for military actions that are in support of preventive diplomacy to ease tensions before a conflict erupts.14 Such operations may take place either at the request or with the consent of all parties in internal state crises, or with the consent of both countries or the host country in inter-state disputes. For example, the deployment of forces in Macedonia along the Macedonia-Serbia border in an effort to contain the Balkan conflict was a form of preventive deployment.15
Like peacekeeping, the term 'enforcement' has been used to describe a broad range of operations using force authorized under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. It has been applied to missions that impose economic sanctions or arms embargoes (in Haiti and the former Yugoslavia). The aims have been varied, for instance, to create secure conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance (Croatia, Somalia); to enforce a no-fly zone or create a buffer zone between belligerent forces (Croatia); to protect civilian populations in safe areas (Bosnia-Herzogovina); and to defend a member state against armed attack by another state (defence of Kuwait after invasion by Iraq).16
The term 'peace enforcement' is sometimes used interchangeably with the term 'enforcement';17 however, it is helpful to distinguish between them. In keeping with a growing consensus on terminology, this report uses enforcement to describe operations in which the United Nations authorizes collective action in response to aggression by one state against another, such as the operation in Korea (1950-53) and the action in Kuwait and Iraq (1990-91).18
By contrast, peace enforcement refers to the use of force directed at achieving specific objectives (e.g., protecting safe areas, securing delivery of humanitarian aid) designed to support non-military efforts to bring about a peace. Peace enforcement is sometimes referred to as "third generation peacekeeping,"19 or "muscular peacekeeping".20 These are missions in which
...the use of force is authorized under Chapter VII of the Charter, but the United Nations remains neutral and impartial between the warring parties, without a mandate to stop the aggressor (if one can be identified) or impose a cessation of hostilities.21
Consent of the parties is desirable but not necessary. Examples of peace enforcement missions include the Unified Task Force Somalia (UNITAF), the United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II), and the Implementation Force in the former Yugoslavia (IFOR).
The term 'second generation peacekeeping' also has different meanings. John MacKinlay and Jarat Chopra coined the term to describe their vision of a new approach to peacekeeping.22 They suggest that between traditional peacekeeping and enforcement actions, the military is likely to be involved in second generation tasks such as supervising cease-fires between irregular forces, assisting in the maintenance of law and order, protecting the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and guaranteeing rights of passage.
In all these cases of second generation peacekeeping, the consent of the parties is likely to be elusive and dynamic. Consequently, these missions require a "humane, but more proactive, concept of operations", and forces must be able to choose from a range of military responses as situations escalate and de-escalate. In other words, they must be ready to respond with force when necessary, using only the minimum force necessary to control the situation.23
Others use the term second generation peacekeeping to describe missions based on the fundamental principles of traditional peacekeeping -- consent, impartiality, and absence of force except in self-defence -- but with greatly expanded tasks.24 Typically, these are multifunctional missions designed to implement comprehensive peace agreements that address the roots of a conflict. The functions of peacekeepers in these operations may include monitoring cease-fires; cantonment and demobilization of troops; destruction of weapons; formation and training of new armed forces; monitoring existing police forces and forming new ones; supervising or even controlling existing administrations; verifying respect for human rights; observing, supervising, or even conducting elections; repatriating refugees; or undertaking information campaigns to explain the peace settlement.25
Second generation peacekeeping -- sometimes referred to as 'wider peacekeeping'26 -- involves tasks beyond those associated with traditional peacekeeping, but is still based on the consent of the parties. Examples include United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG), UN Angola Verification Mission II (UNAVEM II), UN Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL), UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), UN Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ), and UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
'Post-conflict peacebuilding' is another term that originates in An Agenda for Peace. It describes activities undertaken to consolidate peace, address the core sources of conflict, and prevent conflict from recurring. These activities may include disarmament and restoration of order; custody and possible destruction of weapons; repatriating refugees; advisory and training support for security personnel; monitoring elections; advancing efforts to protect human rights; reforming or strengthening governmental institutions; and promoting formal and informal processes of political participation.27
Confusion in terminology reflects the fact that new methods of resolving conflicts are still developing and lessons are still being learned. While there is a more or less accepted understanding of the concepts involved in traditional peacekeeping and peace enforcement, there is little consensus on the meaning and variety of missions that fall between them. The changing nature of these operations is discussed in more detail later in this chapter.
The United Nations was created as an instrument for maintaining international peace and security in the post-war world. The first article of Chapter I of the Charter of the United Nations provides that the UN is to
maintain international peace and security and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace... 28
While it was not intended to exclude other functions and roles, the security dimension of the role of the UN was clearly paramount.29
The UN Charter establishes a system of collective security designed to resolve disputes between sovereign states, in which the five permanent members of the Security Council (originally, the United Kingdom, France, the Soviet Union, the United States of America, and China)30 were to play a leading and co-operative role. As an initial step in the resolution of disputes, Chapter VI sets out methods for the pacific settlement of disputes through mechanisms such as negotiation and mediation. If peaceful resolution proves futile, Chapter VII can be invoked. It provides for collective action (in the form of sanctions or action by land, sea, or air forces) to deal with threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression.
The Charter authorizes the Security Council to take action to maintain or restore international peace and security.31 However, the Security Council's ability to use this power is expressly limited by the veto that effectively demands unanimity among the five permanent members (P5)32 This limitation nullified the collective security function of the UN from the onset of the Cold War. The Security Council was limited to collective action only on issues on which the P5 could agree. One notable exception was the UN action in Korea in June 1950, authorized in the absence of the Russian delegation.33
One result of the UN's impaired security function was the unexpected growth of defensive alliances based on the concept of collective self-defence authorized in the Charter.34 The most significant were the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact. Another important outcome was the emergence of peacekeeping as the Security Council's tool for maintaining peace and security.
When the United Nations was founded in 1945, its Charter did not explicitly provide a peacekeeping mandate. Peacekeeping developed from the geopolitical conditions of the Cold War era, and "represented the functional adaptation of the [UN] organization to the particular character of the Cold War international system".35 As the collective security powers (now known as enforcement powers) under Chapter VII of the Charter were neutralized by the veto in the Security Council, military operations for the management of conflict developed along different lines. The new operations, characterized by consensus and non-enforcement, were acceptable to the superpowers. Though peacekeeping operations were primarily a mechanism for small-scale conflict management, they were also essential to arrest the escalation of hostilities between opposing parties supported by either the Soviet Union or the United States.36
The development of UN peacekeeping operations without an explicit legal basis or mandate in the UN Charter led to ambiguity.37 UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold referred to their basis as "the elusive Chapter VI and a half'".38 When compelled to identify an article authorizing peacekeeping, commentators focus either on article 36 in Chapter VI or article 40 in Chapter VII.39 Article 36 provides that the Security Council may recommend, at any stage of a dispute that is likely to endanger international peace, "appropriate procedures or methods of adjustment"; while article 40 provides that the Security Council, to prevent aggravation of a situation that constitutes a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, may call upon the parties to comply with provisional measures. With respect to peace enforcement missions, it appears to be generally accepted that article 40 provides the authority.40
The principle of all-party consent, first established during UNEF 1, is crucial to traditional peacekeeping. Respect for state sovereignty, explicitly stated in the UN Charter, requires the UN to obtain prior approval of the parties involved in a conflict before deploying a peacekeeping force and during its employment. In May 1967, Egypt demanded the withdrawal of UNEF 1, and the Secretary-General complied on the grounds that it could not continue without Egypt's consent.41 Consent remains a cornerstone for all traditional peacekeeping operations.
Traditional peacekeeping missions limit the use of force to self-defence.42 Peacekeepers are ordinarily only lightly armed. This principle ensures that UN peacekeepers cannot be perceived as a coercive force, which might diminish their ability to mediate and facilitate. This principle of traditional peacekeeping was temporarily abrogated in the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC) when, in 1961, a year after the commencement of the operation, the Security Council amended the mandate to authorize the use of force to restore order and to apprehend and deport mercenaries and all non-UN foreign military and para-military personnel.43
UN forces are meant to be impartial. No party to the dispute should be seen as favoured by the UN force, or identified as an aggressor. Nor should any part of the UN force be seen to have any stake or interest in the outcome of the dispute. The rationale for this principle is that impartial troops are more likely to be accepted by the parties involved in the conflict.
Impartiality is part of the rationale for having the United Nations as the sponsoring institution, as opposed to a member state. It implies drawing troops only from states that do not have an interest in the dispute, which would exclude neighbouring states or superpowers.44 Most traditional peacekeeping operations have generally used troops from non-aligned countries, with the exception of the Congo operation where troops were supplied by neighbouring countries, in that case to give credibility to the force.45
Consent, non-use of force, and impartiality are interrelated and mutually reinforcing principles. All three are usually present in traditional peacekeeping operations, in conjunction with three less critical features. First, traditional operations are usually established only after the parties have agreed to a cease-fire or truce.46 Such operations do not create the conditions for their own success, i.e., the peace agreement must be in place before the operation begins. Peacekeeping operations are thus largely reactive. Second, peacekeepers are primarily military personnel,47 disciplined and trained as combat-ready soldiers first. Third, UN forces must be dispatched by the appropriate authorizing agency, usually the Security Council, whose mission mandate sets the legal foundation for the mission.
Strict adherence to the principles of traditional peacekeeping is paramount. While they do not necessarily determine mission success, missions are more likely to succeed if all conditions are present.48
The first peacekeeping forces were deployed in 1946, to observe and report on conflict in Greece, and in 1947, to supervise a truce and help Indonesia achieve independence from the Netherlands. However, the first official UN observer mission was the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to supervise and observe the truce in Palestine following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. This mission, which continues in operation today, serves as the archetype for UN observer forces.49 In 1949, the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was established to supervise the cease-fires in the conflict over Kashmir.
In 1956, UNTSO could not meet the challenges of the Suez crisis, and there was no consensus in the Security Council for a collective security action.50 The Hon. Lester Pearson, at the time Secretary of State for External Affairs, proposed "that the UN send an international force to the area, position itself between the warring parties and bring an end to the hostilities".51 The first United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF 1) was deployed to the Middle East under the command of a Canadian, LGen E.L.M. Burns.52 Pearson, as the architect of the first UN peacekeeping force, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1957.
UNEF 1 was the first UN operation to use military personnel to create a buffer zone between belligerents and to supervise the withdrawal of forces. Before UNEF 1, observation forces had been limited to observing and reporting on cease-fires after an agreement had been reached.53 UNEF 1 also established the precedent for peacekeeping operations authorized by the General Assembly.54 However, the Security Council wrested the peacekeeping function from the General Assembly.55 Most significant to note, UNEF 1 established the basic principles of traditional peacekeeping.
From 1947 to 1986, the United Nations undertook 15 operations of varying scope and duration. Canada participated in all of them.57 Most were observer missions involving unarmed military personnel who would observe and report on a cease-fire but, unlike peacekeeping forces, would not interpose themselves between antagonists.58 Although they would patrol and resolve cease-fire disputes, they did not have the mandate to perform weapons checks or to guard borders.
Peacekeeping forces primarily act as a buffer between the belligerents. They detect violations of cease-fires, supervise troop withdrawals, help maintain law and order, and administer quasi-governmental functions, usually within the area where the force is deployed. Peacekeeping forces may also perform non-controversial humanitarian functions that enhance their impartiality -- such as helping to fix water and electricity problems or providing transportation; these are not part of their mandate, but are consistent with it. 59
After UNEF 1, traditional peacekeeping developed under uncompromising and limiting conditions. First, it was generally limited to areas that were beyond superpower zones of influence such as the Middle East, Cyprus, Kashmir, and the Congo. Second, it was limited by the mandates typically given. Often, a peacekeeping force was placed between two hostile states primarily to "freeze the situation" and avoid destabilizing regional peace. The United Nations Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP), established in 1964, in the Golan Heights (UNDOF), established in 1974, and in Lebanon (UNIFIL), established in 1978, have all had the effect of impeding movement toward peaceful settlement of the underlying conflict. Nonetheless, all three areas might have seen more fighting had the forces not been there.60
After UNIFIL and the UN Transition Assistance Group (in Namibia) (UNTAG) in 1978,61 there were no new peacekeeping missions until the end of the Cold War, when the UN faced unprecedented demands for help in de-escalating long-existing conflicts in areas where it had previously been unable to become involved.
There have been almost twice as many United Nations missions established since 1988 as there were in the previous 40 years.62 The most important catalyst leading to this dramatic increase was the end of the Cold War and a new-found resolve in the Security Council to play a more positive, proactive role in resolving international disputes. Toward the end of the Cold War, the former Soviet Union softened its posture on peacekeeping and began to view it as a potentially useful instrument for solving regional conflicts. At the same time, the United States began to show a greater willingness to use the United Nations for conflict management.63 This broke the deadlock in the Security Council, which until then had prevented collective action in spheres controlled by the superpowers.
The Gulf War was also an important event in the development of peacekeeping after the end of the Cold War. This UN-authorized action to force Iraq out of Kuwait after its invasion of that country increased expectations, principally among Western powers, about the role the Security Council could play in international security.64 At the same time, the elevation of human rights as an issue of global concern gave the Security Council a legitimate interest in intervening in countries where there were gross violations of human rights.65
These factors led the Security Council to establish successively more ambitious operations, on occasion even in conflict areas where peace had not yet been reached and where the consent of the parties to the UN presence was tenuous. As consent declined, greater force was authorized to accomplish mission goals. The Somalia operations (in particular UNOSOM II) and operations in the former Yugoslavia are examples of more ambitious operations undertaken by the UN.
Whereas traditional peacekeeping forces were usually deployed to monitor a cease-fire line between states, the vast majority of missions since 1988, including the one in Somalia, were established to deal with internal conflicts.66 These kinds of missions typically pose a number of challenges not encountered in traditional peacekeeping, including the presence of irregular forces, the absence of front lines or cease-fire lines, the dynamic nature of conflict, major impact on civilians, and the collapse of state institutions.
Internal conflicts may involve not only regular armies but militias and armed civilians. Unlike regular armies, which are usually trained, disciplined, and respectful of a chain of command, irregular forces typically receive little training, are poorly disciplined, and do not necessarily respect what may be an ill-defined chain of command. Perhaps most important, irregular forces are not usually constrained in their actions by the need to uphold an international reputation67 or to conform to international conventions. This form of accountability, which might otherwise prevent a regular army from attacking UN troops, is not always present for irregular forces. Their action are thus less predictable and therefore potentially dangerous. Political control is more difficult to define.
In traditional peacekeeping, forces are usually deployed as interposition forces along a clearly demarcated cease-fire line between two conflicting parties (usually states). They maintain the peace agreed to by the parties by keeping them apart and preventing small incidents from escalating into wide-scale conflict. But internal conflicts are different. They may involve wars without clearly defined front lines; combatants and civilians on different sides may be intermingled; and forces may be asked to maintain a peace (if agreed upon) across a whole area and not only along a recognized line. These factors make such conflicts difficult to monitor and control and, at the same time, increase the risk to the intervening forces.
Internal conflicts are much more complex and dynamic than conflict between states.68 There are often many parties involved, and their standing or influence in a conflict may change over time. It may be difficult to identify the parties whose consent must be gained for a UN presence in the country and for the UN to gain the confidence of all the parties. The UN must then be concerned with the quality of the consent necessary to allow the operation to go forward. Even if consent is forthcoming from all the leaders of the various parties, those leaders may not be able to guarantee co-operation from irregular forces that support them. As in inter-state conflicts, parties may consent to a UN presence when it is expedient and withdraw consent whet it is not. However, in internal conflicts the lack of political control may allow these decisions to be made with reference only to the short-term advantages to be gained in the internal struggle. This means that UN troops face a volatile situation.
In internal conflicts, civilians are often the principal victims and the main targets. The UN has reported that the number of refugees doubled between 1987 and 1994, from 13 million to 26 million. The number of internally displaced people has grown even more.69 Humanitarian emergencies are therefore common. However, humanitarian assistance offered to alleviate these emergencies is not usually perceived as neutral assistance. Rather, it is seen and often used as an instrument of war. Without the consent of the majority of the parties, UN troops guarding relief supplies are likely to be viewed as assisting in the war effort of one or more of the parties.
The collapse of state institutions, including the police and the judiciary, often accompanies internal conflict. With the breakdown of law and order, UN missions are often called upon to promote national reconciliation and the re-establishment of effective peace building (referred to in this chapter as post-conflict peace building).70 Carrying out these tasks in the context of deep societal divisions is very difficult and often requires involvement in political issues.
Traditional peacekeeping operations were composed largely of military personnel carrying out military tasks to deter the resumption of hostilities between parties that had agreed to stop fighting.71 As the mandates of peacekeeping missions have expanded to include such tasks as supervising elections, rebuilding national institutions (e.g., police forces) and delivering humanitarian assistance, there has been a corresponding increase in the civilian and police components of peacekeeping missions. For example, UNOSOM II was made up of 28,000 military personnel and 2,800 civilian staff.72
National representation among personnel on missions has also changed. During the Cold War period, the Soviet Union and the United States did not participate in peacekeeping missions because, among other reasons, they would not have been viewed as neutral. Rather, the so-called middle powers were the typical contributors (e.g., Scandinavian countries, Canada, Ireland). However, since 1988 a total of 76 countries, including the United States and Russia, have contributed to UN missions.73
Another distinguishing feature of non-traditional peacekeeping missions, particularly peace enforcement operations, is that command and control are not always exercised by the United Nations. While the Security Council may authorize a mission -- e.g., the UN Mission in Haiti (UNMIH), and the Unified Task Force Somalia -- command and control have been typically exercised by a member state. The UN Operation in the Congo and UNOSOM II are among the only missions involving the use of force authorized under Chapter VII of the Charter that were organized, conducted, and directed under the supervision of the Secretary-General.
It is interesting to note that when the decision was made to authorize a peace enforcement mission in Somalia commanded by the United States, the Secretary-General conceded that the Secretariat did not "have the capability to command and control an operation of the size and urgency required by the present crisis in Somalia."74 Yet, six months later, the UN found itself in command of UNOSOM II.
There is ongoing debate over the use of force in non-traditional peacekeeping missions, and different lessons have been taken from the experience of the past nine years. There are those who, in hindsight, see the development of two different branches of peacekeeping since the end of the Cold War: missions that implement a comprehensive peace agreement, and peace enforcement missions. They view the former as substantially based on the fundamental principles of peacekeeping -- consent of the parties, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defence -- but suggest that the variety and complexity of the tasks make these missions fundamentally different from traditional peacekeeping. They are careful to emphasize the differences (some would argue incompatibility) between traditional peacekeeping missions and peace enforcement missions.75 As the Secretary-General wrote in the supplement to An Agenda for Peace,
The logic of peace-keeping flows from political and military premises that are quite distinct from those of enforcement; and the dynamics of the latter are incompatible with the political process that peace-keeping is intended to facilitate.... Peace-keeping and the use of force (other than in self-defence) should be seen as alternative techniques and not as adjacent points on a continuum, permitting easy transition from one to the other.76
The U.S. Army has agreed with this view and adds, "Since [peacekeeping] and [peace enforcement] are different, any change must require review of the factors of mission, enemy, troops, terrain, and time available, and force tailoring." It advises against using forces for both peacekeeping and peace enforcement within the same operation area because, "the impartiality and consent divides have been crossed during the enforcement operation".77
From this perspective, it is not possible to use force without sacrificing some of the fundamental principles of traditional peacekeeping.78 Force will be required only where full consent to the UN presence and mandate is not obtained. If full consent does not exist, then it is unlikely that the UN troops will be perceived as impartial and interested in or working toward resolving a conflict. Once the force is no longer viewed as impartial, the effectiveness of UN troops in a more complex conflict or even in traditional peacekeeping is likely to be minimal. Moreover, if it becomes common for mandates to change in mid-stream from those based on traditional peacekeeping principles to peace enforcement, host countries may become reluctant to accept forces, and contributor states may become reluctant to send them. As well, it is a concern that those trained for peace enforcement situations may not find it easy to switch to peacekeeping duties and exercise the required restraint.79
On the other side of the debate are those who argue that it is inaccurate to create this unbridgeable divide between missions implementing a comprehensive agreement and missions enforcing peace. Rather, they suggest that the tasks in these missions should be viewed as a continuum. Given the dynamic and relatively unpredictable nature of internal conflict, forces must have the tools available to deal with the myriad situations that may arise in any complex mission, be it the capacity to implement a comprehensive agreement or the capacity to enforce the peace. Although the UN may begin a mission to implement a peace agreement with consent of the parties, given the nature of internal conflict, that consent may not be lasting. The forces must therefore have a range of tools from which they can choose appropriately (always using the least amount of force necessary) to deal with a situation where consent is not forthcoming from one of the parties.
The stark difference in these views is apparent, and Canadian political leaders must deal with this issue. Is it possible, as the Secretary-General has suggested, to use force, maintain the consent of the parties, and remain impartial? Is it possible for a force to make a successful transition from a mandate based on traditional peacekeeping principles to one of peace enforcement? Does the training of individual soldiers allow for this transition? What are the necessary mechanisms for this change? Are we willing to decide that there are some conflicts where it may be preferable simply to let the parties fight until they tire if their consent cannot be obtained, even if that means hundreds of thousands of people may die in the interim? Is that a cost worth bearing in the long term? These are important questions that must be addressed to deal effectively with the changing nature of peacekeeping.
A second issue of increasing importance in the changing nature of peacekeeping is the command and control of operations. As noted earlier, despite the fact that command and control of UN operations reside with the Secretary-General on behalf of the Security Council, the Secretary-General has nonetheless admitted that for missions involving the use of force, the UN does not have the capacity to exercise adequate command and control. To date, the United States has typically stepped in to take command of a peace enforcement or enforcement operation authorized by the Security Council.80
Canadian policy makers must consider Canada's policy toward UN operations in these circumstances. Will this practice jeopardize the impartiality of a particular peace enforcement mission and, in the longer term, the impartiality and credibility of UN security operations in general? If this is found to be so, is there anything that can be done to minimize any negative aspects of U.S. command? Is it possible to enhance the UN's command capacity and if so, what role can Canada play to bring this about?
Finally, of particular relevance to our Inquiry has been the issue of humanitarian intervention. As noted earlier, this has been one of the growing areas of UN involvement. Even where humanitarian intervention has not been principal goal of the mission as it was in Somalia, it often forms a part of new, more complex mission mandates (e.g., missions in Rwanda, Haiti, and former Yugoslavia). However, international involvement in these crises is sporadic and, some argue, has been determined either by Western interests or what some have referred to as the "CNN factor", that is, whatever crisis attracts media attention and therefore engages the concern of the Western world.81
Closely related to the issues raised in humanitarian intervention
is the issue of co-ordination among all the different people and
groups -- military, civilians, police, non-governmental organizations
(NGOs), and international non-governmental organizations such
as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) -- that
are now often involved in more complex missions. Although the
military historically has had the greatest involvement in UN operations,
others, particularly development and relief NGOs, have specialized
expertise built on years of experience working the grass-roots
level in strengthening communities. As well, the ICRC has developed
specialized expertise in humanitarian assistance. All the groups
involved must work closely together to understand each others'
particular expertise and co-ordinate their activities so that
assistance is truly effective.
Peacekeeping is often held up as an important achievement of Canadian foreign and defence policy.82 In 1993, the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs reported that it was the "sole military activity that Canadians fully support."83 Yet in the early UN observer missions, Canada committed minimal military personnel, because peacekeeping was viewed as a drain on Canada's scarce defence resources for conflicts where Canada had little interest.84 After Lester Pearson received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957, peacekeeping began receiving enthusiastic public and political support, although it remained a low priority within the Department of National Defence.85 All defence white papers and intervening defence policy statements rank the maintenance of a combat force capable of protecting Canada's sovereignty as the primary function of the Canadian Forces,86 with peacekeeping as an ancillary function.
In Canada and the World, the 1995 articulation of
Canada's foreign policy, promoting global peace for the protection
of Canada's security remained a key element of Canada's foreign
policy.87 This commitment to global peace and security
has been demonstrated by Canada's participation in UN peacekeeping
missions since their inception. (See Annex A, Peacekeeping Operations
over the Years and Canada's Contribution.)
During the Cold War, Canada's paramount strategic concern was that hostilities could escalate to a superpower confrontation which would threaten national security through direct or collateral attack.88 In addition to involvement in collective defence arrangements for Europe (NATO) and North America (North American Air Defence, NORAD), Canada's participation in peacekeeping was justified by the view that any threat to global peace and security was considered a threat to national security.
The end of the Cold War eliminated concern over superpower confrontation and the threat of war as a rationale for Canada's involvement in peacekeeping. However, even without the fear of superpower confrontation, concern about regional conflicts as threats to international peace and security ensures that peacekeeping is maintained as a national objective.
Canada's longstanding involvement in peacekeeping has enhanced our international profile as a middle power in international affairs and is viewed by some as the reason for Canada's stature and influence in the UN. Many believe that as a prime contributor to UN peacekeeping, Canada can participate convincingly in decisions about international peace and security.89
Canadian foreign policy is committed to multilateralism and the active role of international institutions. Peacekeeping supports this aim. Canada, as a middle power, has always favoured a co-operative collective approach to security and has supported the UN as an investment in security. After the Cold War, when the UN was considered the most appropriate institution to deal with the increase in regional conflicts, maintaining its effectiveness became even more important.
Canada's foreign policy with respect to peacekeeping has been consistent since Canadians embraced peacekeeping in the late 1950s.90 Peacekeeping has become a characteristic Canadian métier,91 a function distinguishing us from Americans and reinforcing our sovereignty and independence. Americans were seen to fight wars, but Canadians pictured themselves as working for peace.92
Canadian foreign policy goals should be supported by a credible defence policy.93 However, despite the popular perception that Canada is a 'peacekeeping' nation, senior officers of the CF have been reluctant to embrace peacekeeping as a primary mission of the CF94. Peacekeeping has usually been viewed as "a lower military priority, what the armed forces used to call a 'derived' or secondary military task."95 The first priority for the armed forces remains the retention and advancement of the CF combat capability for the protection of Canadians and their interests and values abroad, despite the fact that in the post-war period, combat responsibilities have greatly diminished.
However, a changed international situation was acknowledged in the government's defence policy statement of 1992, where the leaders of the CF were warned to "expect the demand for peacekeeping missions to grow".96 These changes were emphasized in the government's 1994 White Paper on Defence.97
The CF was shaped by the Cold War. Canadian Forces members were equipped and trained to undertake combat commitments in the event of an East-West confrontation, and peacekeeping missions were organized and conducted within this paradigm.98 Since peacekeeping had no legal mandate in the UN Charter, they were initially uncharted territory, and during its early years Canadian defence policy was silent on peacekeeping. Canada's policy lagged behind its participation in peacekeeping.99
The first policy on peacekeeping appeared in the 1964 Defence White Paper, which ranked it a secondary priority, behind territorial defence and NATO participation. The paper expounded on the growth of peacekeeping and Canada's anticipated involvement in furtherance of its collective security responsibilities. But the 1971 Defence White Paper expressed concern and scepticism about the prospects for peacekeeping, perhaps because UNEF 1 had been expelled from Egypt in 1967.100 However, Canadian participation in peacekeeping missions continued.
The 1987 Defence White Paper connected peacekeeping, regional stability, and Canada's national interest.101 This defence policy ranked peacekeeping fourth in priority, after maintenance of strategic deterrence, conventional defence, and protection of Canadian sovereignty. It also was the first official document to articulate criteria for deciding whether to participate in a peacekeeping mission.102 These criteria are discussed in greater detail later (see in particular Volume 3).
In the years between 1987 and 1994, when the last white paper on defence was released, the government issued frequent defence statements. The most significant one, issued in 1992, articulated Canada's priorities as the defence of the nation's sovereignty and ongoing participation in collective security arrangements. Participation in multilateral peacekeeping operations to maintain international peace and security ranked third.
These priorities endorsed a general purpose combat force. The CF has always maintained that combat capability is essential to undertake peacekeeping successfully, even traditional peacekeeping. While combat capability is required, it has become increasingly apparent from the nature of the new generation of peacekeeping operations103 that single-minded concentration on combat capability can detract from the development of appropriate training and operational procedures for peacekeeping.
The December 1994 White Paper still essentially endorsed a general purpose combat force, with peacekeeping as one of its functions.104 In this respect, the new policy differed little from the previous government's 1992 defence policy. The 1994 White Paper affirms the traditional roles of the CF -- protecting Canada, co-operating with the United States in the defence of North America, and participating in peacekeeping and other multilateral operations elsewhere in the world. While the defence priorities remained intact, the CF faced comprehensive budget cuts.
Peacekeeping received considerable attention in the 1994 Defence White Paper. The criteria for evaluating a prospective operation were again spelled out, with changes reflecting the nature of peacekeeping after the Cold War. The paper offered criteria for missions involving military and civilian resources, acknowledging that a focus of authority and clear division of responsibility were required. The new criteria demanded a defined concept of operations, an effective command and control structure, and clear rules of engagement.105
Canada's reason for involvement in particular peacekeeping missions is not always obvious. After committing the CF to such missions, leaders often discover that the circumstances and conditions encountered at the outset of the mission change, sometimes dramatically. Closing down peacekeeping operations, or changing UN mandates, is usually difficult. Moreover, commanding officers and staff officers are often asked to organize the armed forces quickly for operations announced as "one-time events" that then become extended missions. Such was the case with the CF commitment to Cyprus, which was renewed repeatedly over more than 25 years, six months at a time.
For these reasons, and because operations under UN mandates are often ad hoc affairs, Canadian politicians, military officers, and foreign affairs officials have tried repeatedly to discipline Canada's response to requests from the international community for Canadian units. They do so by applying criteria early in the planning process. In fact, by 1987 these criteria had become more than guidelines; they were the policy of the government. This policy evolved from experience and different circumstances, but the concept of using national criteria as guides to political decision making is well established in Canada.
Criteria were first enunciated by the Hon. Mitchell Sharp in 1973106 but there were no official criteria until the 1987 Defence White Paper. These criteria reflected the principles of traditional peacekeeping which, in 1987, was the only type of UN operation in which Canada took part.107 These involved asking whether
Reinforced by defence statements in 1991 and 1992, these criteria were the policy of the Government during the CF mission to Somalia.
In the Defence White Paper of 1994, the criteria were once again spelled out, but with notable additions reflecting the changing nature of peacekeeping in the post-Cold War era. The additional factors included
The 1994 Defence White Paper no longer called the factors 'criteria' or 'guidelines', but referred to them as 'principles' to be reflected in the design of all missions, as opposed to criteria upon which the government's decision would be based.109 The significance of this change in characterization is not readily apparent. The additional factors are, however, a clear reflection of the changing nature of peacekeeping and, if considered, are a significant component in the decision-making process.
It is unclear whether these criteria have been consistently employed in assessing peacekeeping operations in which Canada has been asked to participate. Testimony before this Inquiry suggests that the consideration of these factors is discretionary at the level of officials, and some commentary supports that view.110 The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, in its 1993 report on the new generation of peacekeeping, suggested that a key factor in the decision-making process was Canada's record and reputation in peacekeeping.111 This implies that Canada may have participated at the time simply to maintain its record of participation in almost every mission. The Chief Review Services evaluation (MR 1/90), released in April 1992, just before the Somalia commitment, noted that there was no clear division of responsibility between the departments of National Defence and External Affairs in applying the criteria112 and criticized the lack of explicit policy direction and procedures with respect to this issue.
This issue surfaced more recently in the 1996 Auditor General's report, which was somewhat critical of the Department of National Defence for lacking information relative to the decision to participate and the application of the criteria.113 In preliminary documentation leading up to the final report of the Auditor General, officials at ADM (Policy and Communications) took issue with the criticism that there was no written record of the staff analyses of the criteria. They maintained that the "criteria" have never been used as anything "more than guidelines"114 that are not applied strictly. Instead, the officials noted that the Department of National Defence assesses proposed missions in light of government policy toward the UN. In justifying the process, it was noted that
A proposal is addressed through numerous informal and formal meetings during which the Department will review and debate the guidelines contained in the WP [white Paper]. Depending on the mission their relative weight in the departmental decision-making process will likely vary. This is one of the reasons why we have not instituted a set of strict criteria for the review of our peacekeeping contributions.115
These comments indicate uncertainty in how defence officials apply defence policy and the criteria. However, in both the 1987 Defence White Paper and the 1992 defence statement, the policy states that the government decision will be based on the criteria. The 1994 Defence White Paper is similarly direct, noting that the missions should reflect key principles. Despite these statements, officials at the Department of National Defence appear to consider the policy discretionary.
The new era of peacekeeping calls for a clear and direct policy on applying the criteria. Although the approach of the Department of National Defence may have advantages in terms of flexibility and response time, it lacks the clear accountability necessary to cope with the risks involved in new situations.
Image: Peacekeeping Operations over the Years and Canada's Contribution (page 203)
Image: Peacekeeping Operations over the Years and Canada's Contribution (page 204)
Image: Peacekeeping Operations over the Years and Canada's Contribution (page 205)
Image: Peacekeeping Operations over the Years and Canada's Contribution (page 206)
Image: Peacekeeping Operations over the Years and Canada's Contribution (page 207)
Image: Peacekeeping Operations over the Years and Canada's Contribution (page 208)
Image: Peacekeeping Operations over the Years and Canada's Contribution (page 209)