On Aspects of Security, Crime, and Crime Control

Dear reader, I am deeply sorry: I took all the juicy case studies out! So this is the condense, admittedly very intense version of reading, without the narrative of why we find ourselves in situations like these. My professional line of work is political, and I will not mix this part with what I can say, in my personal capacity, in public, and what I can say simply because we All say this. The interrelationship is obvious, and the message needs to get out: There is no alternative to assisting in overcoming conflicts that are so different from what we have seen before. Neither there is an alternative to containing such conflicts, nor to assistance building the capacity in these States.

Just this afternoon, I was asked to brief a group of national politicians visiting the UN. Not only that all were surprised about what we do, I had to find answer to the question: “Why are we doing all this?”

My answer is the same like the United Nations military Force Commander of our Mission MINUSCA in Mali used, when he was asked “Why?’, in a BBC video. His reply at the end of this video, which by the way depicts many UNPOL officers: “Because no one else does it“.

 

So, again, here you go:

In every society, two major forces drive the construction of mechanisms that realize the provision of security, maintenance of order, and adjudication of justice: Consent and imposition. All systems establish variations of this, except on some occasions their two most extreme forms: Pure anarchy and pure dictatorship. Democratic systems strive for maximum consent. Member States of the UN establish variations which the UN must accept, within fundamental boundaries of least common denominators, passionately working on achieving more common ground.

The results in all chosen variations, the rich diversity that one can see within all Member States of the UN, includes the notion of the specific values and the cultural context underpinning the fabric of chosen forms of governance: How a specific system of providing security and justice is set up depends on the history, including that of values, in a society.

From a UN policing perspective, this understanding is critically important for providing security, and addressing the nexus between crime and crime control: Except for cases of internationally defined crime, like for example, crime against humanity, or genocide, common definitions vary in every local context. The legal definition of human action which is commonly considered constituting an act of less grievous crime will, at best, be similar. Likewise, and perhaps more importantly, the understanding of how a given society wants to deal with providing security for its citizens and with crime control varies. The definition of a crime fitting into the category of, say, sexual exploitation and abuse, differs as much from one local context to another as the way how to prevent, to investigate, to prosecute, how to punish, and how to deal with perpetrators and victims during that process, and in the aftermath.

Thus, for capacity building it is critical to find a common denominator, a consensus for all, on the side of those who rebuild, and the side of those who assist. Driven by the fundamental values underpinning the UN, UNPOL strives for the maximum, rather than the least common denominator. This holds true for the substance of assistance, but also for the methodology of how to assist: In absence of any common denominator, there otherwise is a less homogenous (at best) group of different experts with a national background, applying some “coherence” borne from pragmatism and realpolitik in any given situation. The frequent rotation of international personnel adds. These last two dry sentences carry the weight of experiences of countless situations in every single peace operation of all international organizations, describing the limitations of such well-meant and best intended, but limited approaches.

Rarely, a change in the national composition of peacekeepers assisting in capacity building will leave longer term concepts of implementation unaffected. Alternatives, such as specialized teams made from coherent professional background, perhaps even from neighboring security and justice systems, may alleviate this problem, but still a joint conceptual understanding is necessary for any organization composed of staff from the many different Member States of the UN. Sustainability of impact depends on coherence, vision, strategy, and partnership. This is why the development of the United Nations Police Strategic Guidance Framework SGF sits at the core of all long-term work of the Police Division.

Contemporary challenges as described in this chapter make it even more challenging to act without a joint conceptual framework, if one looks at the duration of assistance needed, of which PKO and SPM are only a part, and the complexity of interwoven factors. More recent history provides a few examples for a coherent national and complex, long lasting assistance scheme. One example for such cases is the German reunification after 1989, leading to intense and very costly partnerships between German States from the former “West Germany”, and their new partners from the East, integrating themselves with assistance into the reunited Germany as of today.  Some States have taken responsibility for assistance in their geographic region, as for example Australia does admirably in the case of Timor Leste, and other neighbors. The UN system does not work like that, it requires a broader participation, and it should, at least as a whole, represent the contribution of efforts of the entire constituency.

It also has been shown in earlier chapters to which extent policing in PKO and SPM co-exists with policing capacity and expertise provided by AU and EU, or bilaterally. But even where the UN system builds on regional contributions, the challenge of harmonization, coherence of policy and ability to contribute through trained expertise is extremely demanding. And lastly, the UN system of peace operations can not solely implement mandates by taking recourse to national support efforts, including those of willing neighbors, for many reasons. These efforts can be very useful and important, but will always need to be a part. The whole, therefore, requires a common denominator.

The common denominator for UN policing begins with an understanding of what policing and the rule of law are about, in our work, and as a prerogative for any assistance to domestic capacity building. On its uppermost level it is described within the policy document “United Nations Police in Peacekeeping Operations and Special Political Missions⁠1“, our entry point into the Strategic Guidance Framework:

(1) “For the United Nations, the rule of law refers to a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency⁠2.

(2)Policing refers to a function of governance responsible for the prevention, detection and investigation of crime; protection of persons and property; and the maintenance of public order and safety. Police and law enforcement officials have the obligation to respect and protect human rights, including the right to life, liberty and security of the person, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other relevant instruments. Pursuant to the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, police and other law enforcement officials are required, at all times, to fullfil the duty imposed upon them by law, by serving the community and by protecting all persons against illegal acts, consistent with the high degree of responsibility required by their profession.⁠3

This is why the strategic focus of the SGF has always been finding a way how to harmonize the assistance, using the rich experience of the many different cultures of policing, but striving for separating this from the less guided and less homogenous use of diversity of expertise stemming from local contexts within the countries UNPOL officers come from: Like a Police Director in a host country that witnessed almost seventeen years of police capacity building assistance, sitting at the helm of the local version of an FBI, once said to a new incoming Chief Adviser: “You are the umpteenth new Chief Adviser to me. Which new wisdom do you bring to my office?” This sentence both reflects the critical importance of finding the right duration of assistance, but equally important the harmonization needs, and preventing these harmonization needs from reaching levels of detail which should be entirely left to local emanation of concepts.

But what if the prerogative for assistance to capacity building is not there? What if the reality on the ground, for a variety of reasons, inhibits efforts to build capacity, whilst the very threats for peace and security, against which this domestic capacity is so direly needed, is on the rise? What if, therefore, peacekeeping finds itself in a protracted period of having to contain a situation, including the protection of civilians, whilst actors who threaten the very peace process are including non-identifiable parties to the conflict?

Contemporary United Nations multidimensional mandates often include, amongst other tasks of peacekeeping operations, the tasks of protecting civilians, and capacity building. From a security perspective the military and police components of these PKO contribute to containing a given situation of conflict, or stemming from conflict. They apply deterrence, and to some extent coercion in an effort to give a political process space, towards peace and security. The momentous task lies with that these missions need to move a political process, utilizing the impact and momentum generated by such containment. This requires to support domestic capacity building, and begins already with the interrelationship with domestic actors on the protection of civilians. It can be a complex “jumpstart” process, from disorder into a structured “pathfinding”, leading to appropriate solutions supporting the begin of regular capacity building⁠4.

A comprehensive case study identifies several different challenges for UNPOL:

(1) In a group of UN peace operations, the path into gaining results from capacity building for the peace process is not opened yet, stuck, or seriously impeded in its conceptualization and operationalization, due to a variety of reasons;

(2) In some of the above situations these deficiencies are conducive to a (re)surge of violent extremism and terror stemming from regional and global connections, producing regional and global consequences;

(3) More recently, crime plays an increasing role, in collaboration with violent extremism, and terror;

(4) UNPOL is challenged beyond a more classical understanding of it’s role in protecting civilians, and capacity building, as a consequence of the impact of crime to the instability and threat to the host State, mission mandate, and mission personnel.

When describing these challenges, the successful cases tend to disappear towards the back row. However, the successful cases of Bosnia&Herzegovina, Kosovo, Timor Leste, Sierra Leone, they exist. Haiti, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, they are situations aspiring to be added to the group of successful country situations.

Yet, these contemporary cases stand out: Crime has become a pressing component of threats against peace and security, and peace operations. At the same time the path into capacity building is severely hampered by this very crime, violent extremism, and terror. The scenario resembles the scenario of asymmetric war fighting: Neither are conventional military responses developed for symmetric wars capable means for asymmetric military situations, nor is a political effort of promoting peace, including through assistance to capacity building, effective if it can not address the asymmetric attacks which come from the nexus of crime, violent extremism, and terror. PKO and SPM alike in these situations operate under the same challenges as were confronting the International Community in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Prognosis

(a) From emerging experience with these cases, and monitoring the development in Africa and the Middle East, there is indication that such cases constitute a trend. Country situations in which UNPOL in PKO and SPM are deployed have a regional context with neighbors which face similar trajectories. The relevant crime dimension never acts local, but at least regional, and often in a global context, as the dimensions of violent extremism and terror do, too.

(b) In relation to PKO and SPM, criminals and an increasingly large group of extremists promoting violence and terror are not recognized parties to the conflict, or are excluded from being part of the peace process because of their terrorist affiliation, or are hiding in plain sight, being part of peace mediation efforts, but having second agendas motivated by crime, and corruption. Efforts of capacity building get prolonged, if started at all, and the encompassing deterioration of the security and overall situation weakens the credibility of peace operations. Direct and increasingly often lethal attacks against peacekeepers thus, in this anticipation, may become the worrying norm. Crime in the form of Serious and Organized Crime SOC has begun to play a new role in contributing to drivers of conflict, threatening peace processes. Our work on establishing conducive environments for building peace and security is affected by the nexus between crime, violent extremism, and terror,⁠7 all benefitting from what we understand as endemic corruption.

Nation States are the constituting elements of contemporary international order. This system calls for restoration of (legitimate) State authority in a case of post-conflict engagement by peace operations. In an era of globalization, these elements of consent and control, however, are fundamentally challenged by non State actors who act regional, and global, including through using means of the borderless Internet. The notion of a “global village” is wrong. It’s more looking like a global paradigm change, with all the chaotic phases that come with these.

In an earlier article⁠8 I wrote: “In most UN peace operations, we see security and justice institutions incapacitated by conflict. Establishing sustainable governance in communities, nations and states is a core element in the process of achieving peace and security.

While the mandate implementation plan of a peace operation is adapted to both its local and regional context, every conflict into which we deploy is also tied to a global context. The global drivers of conflict are thus interconnected with each and every peace operation. Awareness of these undercurrents, including for example the collaboration of transnational organized crime with extremists and terrorists, is critical in preparing modern peace operations to effectively discharge their mandate and help put fragile countries emerging from conflict on the road towards sustainable peace and security.

What needs to be added is the impact of global, instantaneous Internet-based communication. The awareness of the impact of social networks in contemporary spreading of violent extremism, for example, only gradually emerges.

Against such a prognosis, there is however no known alternative to capacity building within the context of restoring order, security, and a rule of law. Without assistance, countries emerging from conflict, or struggling with regional dimensions of global conflict, are left to their own devices. Such a worst case scenario does not lead to only local conflict dimensions, but has profound global consequences that affect the entire community of States, through crime, and migration of millions of the Worlds’ poorest and least fortunate, victims of unimaginable violence. The impact of this on societies receiving this traumatized and disillusioned scarred constituency has just begun. Receiving States appear to be on the defense. Migrating victims may carry hope of survival, but not the memory of a State caring about their even most basic rights and needs. The breeding battle of xenophobia reverberates between violent fundamentalists and terror on one side and voices on the side of States affected by the export of crime and terror on the other side. It leads to a chicken-and-egg situation, and only to entrenchment.

To affected communities in conflict-torn States, crime offers alternative livelihood for the disillusioned and tormented. Violent extremism, on the other hand, pays off for subordination by offering social services that States threatened by it did not render, and now can not render. Prevention, deterrence, and perspectives for livelihood fail.

____________________

1 United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support; Ref. 2014.01; 01 February 2014; http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/sites/police/documents/Policy.pdf

2 Ibid; Footnote 6, pg. 5, referencing the Report of the Secretary-General on the Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies (S/2004/616)

3 Ibid; Para. 14

4 One very demanding example was UNMIK: Since 1999, UNMIK in Kosovo was given extensive executive powers. UNPOL on UNMIK’s side worked in close collaboration with military NATO units of KFOR, in protecting civilians, and substituting for the absence of legitimate authority, on all levels. UNMIK was the executive police in Kosovo, whilst establishing the domestic Kosovo police was its main long term objective. But since the entire system of criminal justice and detention had broken down, UNMIK had to chart a new path, from the absence of justice towards a system ensuring transitional and regular justice. All chapters of how to do this were written without blueprint. They include the prevention of most serious crime at a time when no viable judicial mechanism was in place. However, UNMIK had legal power to create law, including criminal and criminal procedural law, which set this mission apart from any recent development. It included an entire internationally staffed UNMIK Department of Justice and likewise a Department of Corrections, and allowed a path towards the establishment of a rule of law system that was incrementally capable to correspond to the actions undertaken by UNPOL, and later on the Kosovo police.

5 Very good reading: Rebellion and fragmentation in northern Mali; CRU Report March 2015; Clingendael Institute; Netherlands

http://www.clingendael.nl/pub/2015/the_roots_of_malis_conflict/2_rebellion_and_fragmentation_in_northern_mali/

6 Ibid,

7 See, for example, as mentioned in the chapter on SPM: Report of the SG on overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions: http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/N1341359.pdf

Last access January 18, 2016

Also see UNSCR 2185: 26. Encourages information sharing, where relevant and appropriate, between Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations including its Police Division, the Department of Political Affairs, the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and the United Nations Development Program, within existing mandates and resources, when considering means to address, in a comprehensive and integrated manner, transnational organized crime, terrorism and violent extremism which can be conducive to terrorism;

8 Stefan Feller; UN Police, International Crime and Terrorism; Huffington Post 2015; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stefan-feller/un-police-international-c_b_6670430.html

Special Political Missions and the Inclusion of International Policing

This is dry reading, just saying upfront. It’s important, though, for those who want to understand the big picture a bit better, getting an overview. Sorry, I took out all fancy things, as they are internal and I would need to get authorization for putting it here. Not that I would not get it. But it’s for a later stage. These are simply all facts that everybody can look up. I just compiled it, using my own words. If you managed to stay tuned reading on peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and conflict prevention, you will be rewarded with something putting it together with less dry words, soon. It’s like when I read one of my beloved books about quantum physics: The theoretical explanation sucks (my brain works differently, which is a nice excuse for that I was mostly like Calvin&Hobbes) but sometimes I need to hang in there… 

Here you go.

General aspects of conflict and mandates for SPM

Right at it’s beginning, the HIPPO report maps the continuum of UN peace operations as of today: It ranges from peacekeeping operations to special political missions, good offices, and mediation initiatives. The report identifies four essential shifts, one of which being that the full spectrum of peace operations must be used more flexibly to respond to changing needs on the ground⁠1.

In order to understand the interrelationship between peacekeeping operations PKO and special political missions SPM, a look into the normative framework of both is necessary. The Capstone Doctrine⁠2 aims to define the nature, scope and core business of UN PKO, whilst putting them into the larger continuum of peace operations. It’s guiding effect as a top-level policy document is limited to PKO. Peacekeeping is defined as a technique designed to preserve the peace, however fragile, where fighting has been halted, and to assist in implementing agreements achieved by the peacemakers. The Capstone Doctrine identifies “Conflict Prevention”, “Peacemaking”, “Peace enforcement”, and “Peacebuilding” as further building blocks within a range of activities undertaken to maintain peace and security. The Capstone Doctrine also identifies “grey areas⁠3” between these topical subjects.

Relevant to Special Political Missions, the grey areas between peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding become visible: SPM can be mandated anywhere except in the field of peacekeeping. The Capstone Doctrine elaborates the necessity of taking the interrelationship between peacekeeping and other forms of activities into account, but it does not provide guidance within those respective areas themselves, thus it does not provide guidance on SPM. This chapter’s relevance stems both from the fact that SPM can precede or succeed peacekeeping operations, or even coexist⁠4 with PKO.

In terms of historical development of what is, since the 1990s, known as Special Political Missions SPM, the SG’s first thematic report on SPM to the UN General Assembly as of July 29, 2013 is a core reference⁠5. And right at the beginning, the SG begins with stating that “at the heart of conflict, more often than not, are political issues.” This recognition is sitting at the heart of the HIPPO report of 2015, too. In the form of political missions, SPM go back in UN history to the early time of 1948, like peacekeeping operations do. In his report as of 2013, the SG describes the time between the late 1960s until the end of the Cold War (late 1980s) as a period of relative inactivity, and the following time until now as a “period of rediscovery post-cold war.” The report puts these missions into the areas of conflict prevention, peacemaking, and peacebuilding. The report also indicates that SPM over the two decades post-cold war grew significantly in number, size and the complexity of their mandates. Thus, as the SG’s report as of 2013 states itself, SPM and PKO followed a similar trajectory. The relevance for their interrelation, like seen in the graph from the 2008 Capstone Doctrine, becomes evident. This includes SPM development towards multidimensional mandates. Subsequently, the SG states that the SPM’s common reason of existence, preventing and resolving conflict, as well as helping Member States and parties to a conflict to build a sustainable peace is what defines these missions as “political”. It can be said that this does not establish a delineation to peacekeeping, taking into account the inherent political nature of those missions as well. It points towards the larger question of where contemporary SPM differentiate, at their political core, from contemporary PKO and points into the direction why the deployment of UNPOL, following a unified policy framework for their assistance, has become so relevant. One way or the other, the increased utilization of UNPOL in SPM testifies for the overall relevance of policing matters within UN efforts related to peace and security.

SPM exist in three main categories: special envoys; sanctions panels and monitoring groups; and field-based missions. The deployment of UNPOL into field-based SPM is a relatively young development, therefore, a narrative of SPM will only take this period into account. Contemporary SPM can serve (a) to promote reconciliation; (b) conducting mediation; (c) maintaining a sustained political dialogue; (d) provide electoral assistance and supporting efforts to prevent election-related violence; (e) coordinating donor assistance and mobilizing resources; (f) strengthening national capacities and supporting national priorities that are critical for a successful peacebuilding process, such as rule of law, security sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and mine action. Whilst the role of UNPOL expertise is obvious within category (f), there are other categories in which the expertise of UNPOL plays out being an important factor as well.

The SG’s thematic report as of 2013 points to another emerging area relevant to UNPOL, which holds true both for SPM and for PKO: According to the report, the operating environment of SPM is often affected by the instability coming from the effects of transnational crime and drug trafficking. Some SPM have mandates related to address transnational organized crime. It holds true for contemporary PKO too, and is well recognized. This important aspect of current and future challenges for UNPOL will be addressed in a separate chapter, looking at drivers of conflict, and threats to missions and their mandate implementation from serious and organized crime, corruption, violent extremism, and terror. But it points already at this stage towards the increasing role, and relevance, of United Nations international policing; the need to generate appropriate resources; provide a coherent normative framework; address the nexus between countries affected by conflict and regional dimensions; and partnerships with other international stakeholders.

The majority of all field-based SPM are deployed into Africa.

SPM and UNPOL

The contemporary environment in which many SPM find themselves in is very similar, often the same, as is the reality for PKO. In his 2015 report⁠6 on special political missions, the SG does refer to the same source of examination of peace operations, the HIPPO-report. He also sets the stage by using a narrative that holds true for both mission types: “The international peace and security landscape has deteriorated rapidly. Following two decades of consistent decline, the number of active civil wars increased almost threefold between 2007 and 2014. Today, the number of battle-related deaths and major civil wars is back at the level at which it was in the mid-1990s. The number of refugees and internally displaced persons around the world has reached a peak of 60 million people, and global humanitarian needs for 2015 are close to a record-setting $20 billion.” The cutting edge development, taking most recent developments into account, indicates also a sharp increase in the worldwide effects of violent extremism and terror, and the interrelation of civil war and terror with an unprecedented surge in migration.

Current status

The Department of Political Affairs currently maintains twenty-three field missions with the status “Special Political Missions” SPM worldwide. According to the Department’s website⁠7, political missions are part of a continuum of UN peace operations working in different stages of the conflict cycle. In some instances, following the signing of peace agreements, political missions overseen by the Department of Political Affairs during the stage of peace negotiations have been replaced by peacekeeping missions. In other instances, UN peacekeeping operations have given way to special political missions overseeing longer term peace-building activities.

The data available on UN websites is, as far as UNPOL deployments into SPM is concerned, inconsistent, and only partly available. Current UNPOL deployment into SPM is not documented on the DPKO website. According to a factsheet⁠8 maintained by the Department of Political Affairs, currently 293 uniformed personnel are deployed into SPM. On this factsheet DPA documents police deployments into UNAMA (4), UNAMI (0), UNIOGBIS (12), MENUB (0), UNSMIL (2), and UNSOM (5). This data is outdated, stemming from 2014.

Whilst DPA’s definition of SPM includes, inter alia, Special Envoys, the SPM UNOAU, or the United Nations Office to the African Union, is not mentioned on the DPA factsheet documentation of SPM. Rather, it features on the list of political missions of the Department’s main website⁠9.

UNPOL deployment into SPM in some more conceptual detail

In order to understand the interrelationship between UNPOL aspects within PKO and SPM to the extend necessary on a strategic level, some more detail needs to be given to specific deployments, in alphabetical order of the Mission acronyms.

BINUCA

The United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic was mandated to (1) support the implementation of a transitional process in the CAR; (2) support conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance; (3) support the extension of CAR State authority; (4) support the stabilization of the CAR security situation; (5) promote and protect human rights. As of April 10, 2014, BINUCA was subsumed in the UN PKO MINUSCA, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic. The reason for this sat with the significantly deteriorating situation in the CAR throughout 2012 and 2013, leading to atrocities against the civilian population on a large scale, and fears of an imminent genocide. During the existence of the SPM BINUCA, the International Communities’ engagement included the establishment of an AU peace support operation MISCA, the bilateral military engagement of the French government, through the Operation SANGARIS, and the EU military crisis management operation EUFOR CAR. This paved the way for the United Nations decision to create MINUSCA, and to subsume the activities of BINUCA through MINUSCA. Thus, BINUCA did not only provide the political platform of engagement of the UN’s conflict prevention diplomacy, but at later stages was also used as the political and operational platform to deploy a large PKO including military, police, civilian, and political engagement in the CAR through peacekeeping. MINUSCA emerged from BINUCA, but at the same time had to re-hat the military and police capacities and capabilities of the AU’s MISCA. 

MENUB

The United Nations Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi started it’s operations on January 01, 2015, closing at the end of the same year, according to public UN documentation⁠11.

UNAMA

Since October 2002 until today, UNAMA is including a small UNPOL contingent. UNAMA is a Special Political Mission providing political good offices in Afghanistan, working with and supporting the government, supporting the process of peace and reconciliation, monitoring and promoting human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict, promoting good governance, and encouraging regional cooperation.

In its long-standing contribution to UNAMA, UNPOL has witnessed the early stages of the International Communities’ large, and very diversified response to support to establishing Afghan institutions in the field of the police. Both the international engagement and the development of the ANP and other security actors have been extremely complex. Afghanistan has seen large scale capacity building efforts for policing embedded into the US-led military fighting coalition, and into NATO efforts of civilian capacity building within a large military fighting force which partly co-existed, and later followed on to US-led coalition efforts. Bilateral efforts through States contributing to the implementation of the so-called “Petersberg Agreement” were following a concept of “lead-nations” responsible for the coordination of efforts in the field of security and justice. Reality saw challenges in relation to coordination, bilateralism included. In addition to this, the European Union established a police mission in the context of the EU’s civilian crisis management, EUPOL Afghanistan. This Mission began 2006 and is still ongoing.

UNAMI

The DPKO website data is documenting UNPOL deployment into the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq between August 2012 and April 2015, with a maximum of four police officers, including a Senior Police Adviser. The operating political environment, and especially the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, led to ceasing the deployment of UNPOL in 2015.

UNIOGBIS

The engagement of the UN through field-based activities of DPA in Guinea-Bissau is long-standing. The United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau UNOGBIS began its work in 1999. In 2009, it was succeeded by the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau, UNIOGBIS. This SPM has a multidimensional mandate, inter alia rendering police capacity building assistance, including in the field of serious and organized crime. Due to the specific country situation and political, military, and crime-related history, UNIOGBIS’ activities  in relation to policing have multiple links with other UN Missions. UNIOGBIS closely works in partnership with PKO such as UNMIL, UNOCI, or previously with UNIPSIL and participates in activities that combine the different strengths of DPKO, DPA, UNODC, Interpol, and others.

The case of UNIOGBIS demonstrates the expansion of multidimensional UN mandates, requiring a very high degree of police expertise; the need, and emerging reality, of mission-based activities embedded into regional inter-mission cooperation and collaboration with a multiplicity of different actors; and the increasing and important role of UNPOL to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding.

UNSMIL

The United Nations Support Mission for Libya is a SPM established in 2011. It is mandated to manage the process of democratic transition; to promote the rule of law and protect human rights; to restore public security, including through provision of appropriate strategic and technical advice and assistance to the Libyan government; to counter illicit proliferation of arms, and to coordinate international assistance.

For the purpose of this documentation, the highly complex situation in Libya, following the ending of 42 years under Qadhafi’s regime including through a coalition based military intervention, and the first free elections replacing the National Transitional Council, can not be described. Like in the above cases, both the specific situation in the country emerging from conflict, and the assistance by the International Community at large, bear similarities and carry country- and situation-specific differences. UNPOL, within UNSMIL’s mandate, contributed to rendering advice how to contribute to synergy and complementarity of action.

It was the deterioration of the political and security situation in Libya beginning in 2013 which led to both a relocation of large parts of UNSMIL, including the police component, outside the country itself, and to strategic adjustments which took the evolving situation into account. Due to the developments in the Region, the political process is fluid and, currently, fragile at best.

 UNSOM

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) was established in 2013, providing the United Nations “good offices” functions and a range of strategic policy advice in support of the Federal Government’s peace and reconciliation process. This SPM coexists with the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM, a logistical field operation to the African Union Mission in Somalia. The AU deploys AMISOM, a multidimensional Peace Support Operation. AMISOM includes a strong military fighting force, in order to reduce the threat posed by Al Shabaab and other armed opposition groups⁠12, and conducting a range of mandated tasks including assisting the Federal Government of Somalia in establishing conditions for effective and legitimate governance across Somalia. For this, AMISOM is also including an AU police component.

The United Nations UNPOL component within UNSOM is part of a larger unit which is strategically addressing the needs of Somalia within the field of security and the rule of law. The police components within UNSOM and AMISOM, on basis of a jointly defined understanding, cooperate closely, and in collaboration with Somali counterparts and consultation with the larger International Community.

The case of collaboration and attempting to deploy coherent assistance, between UNSOM and AMISOM, or the UN and the AU in Somalia, stands positively out. Whilst it is too early to gauge results, in a demanding, often deteriorating, very dangerous security environment, it is clearly an important step into the right direction.

Conclusions on SPM, and UNPOL

Simply looking at the reference made above to the structure of peace operations as mapped out in the Capstone Doctrine, and the mirroring statements within the SG’s reports on SPM since 2013, the requirement for an overarching conceptual framework policy on what UN international policing should bring to the table is becoming clear. The documentation of previous and current UNPOL activities, and the inter-relationship of UNPOL work in SPM with the respective work in PKO, adds. The conceptual clarity is maintained by the developing Strategic Guidance Framework, which is an extensive and labor intense work of the Police Division within DPKO, collaborating in the further development, amongst other, with DPA. It will be subject to a later chapter.

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1 HIPPO Report, executive summary, pg viii

2 United Nations Peacekeeping Operations – Principles and Guidelines, DPKO/DFS 2008; http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/documents/capstone_eng.pdf

3 Capstone Doctrine, pg. 19

4 Such as, for example, the PKO MONUSCO and the UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region

5 Report of the SG on overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions: http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/N1341359.pdf

Last access January 18, 2016

6 2015.09.30 Report of the SG on overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=a/70/400

7 http://www.un.org/undpa/in-the-field/overview

Access January 17, 2016

A factsheet is available under http://www.un.org/wcm/webdav/site/undpa/shared/undpa/pdf/ppbm.pdf

8 http://www.un.org/wcm/webdav/site/undpa/shared/undpa/pdf/ppbm.pdf

9 http://www.un.org/undpa/in-the-field/overview

10 https://menub.unmissions.org/en/about

11 http://amisom-au.org/amisom-mandate/

Setting the Stage

At times with rising and ever more complicated conflicts threatening global peace and security, we look for renewed commitment to United Nations peace operations, and we collectively search for new approaches. This series of articles will focus on United Nations policing within peace operations. It will take stock of long-term development, outline more recent achievements, and argue that a fresh look needs to be undertaken, allowing policing to punch it’s weight: UN policing plays an important role within the United Nation’s efforts preventing conflicts, engaging in conflicts, and the Organizations efforts to promote sustainable peace and security through peace building: To protect civilians and to assist in building domestic capacity in the field of security and the rule of law are two interrelated core functions of UN peace operations. Policing needs to be strengthened in both, and beyond, in conflict prevention and peace building.

June 16, 2015, a High-Level Independent Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, commissioned by the United Nations Secretary General, presented it’s findings⁠1. The report is now commonly referred to as the HIPPO-Report. About two weeks later, June 29, 2015, an Advisory Group of Experts presented their review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture: “The Challenge of Sustaining Peace⁠2”. This report has become known as the AGE-Report.

On 2nd of September, UN Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon presented⁠3 the HIPPO-Report to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Security Council (UNSC). In Paragraph 2, Ban Ki-moon writes:

To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. The opening words of the Charter capture the purpose of the UN. Seventy years later, that objective has never appeared as urgent or as challenging. Since 2008 the number of major violent conflicts has almost tripled. Long-simmering disputes have escalated or relapsed into wars, while new conflicts have emerged in countries and regions once considered stable. Labels assigned to conflict – internal, inter-state, regional, ethnic or sectarian – have become increasingly irrelevant, as transnational forces of violent extremism and organized crime build on and abet local rivalries. Environmental degradation and resource deprivation are not contained by borders. Exclusion at home is driving tension abroad. People displaced by war approach 60 million and global humanitarian needs for 2015 are close to $20 billion.

Fifteen years earlier, a Panel on United Nations Peace Operations issued the “Brahimi-Report⁠4”. The HIPPO-Report can be seen as the first comprehensive follow-up. In it’s introductory parts, the HIPPO-Report notes that “United Nations peace operations are a unique instrument for advancing international peace and security.” Peacekeeping Operations have a history that began in 1948. Seventy years later, they have evolved in type and complexity. Peace operations include peacekeeping operations, special political missions, good offices, and mediation services. The HIPPO-Report notes the current deployment of more than 128,000 civilian and uniformed personnel in 39 missions across four continents. Looking back at the Brahimi-Report, the HIPPO-Report acknowledges the significant strengthening efforts and efforts to ensure that peace operations adapt to new roles.

As Ban Ki-moon notes, “violent crises are drawing unprecedented levels of international engagement”, leading to the engagement of the UN in peace operations, but also crisis management operations undertaken by the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU). Proliferation of conflict is outpacing our efforts, millions of people continue to live in fear and misery, and failure to prevent or halt war is dominating public consciousness. The UN Secretary General goes on to say: “Too often, however, efforts have been fragmented and unequal to the task. The limits of our engagement are reflected in UN peace operations, the most visible face of the Organization. Over six decades they have shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to evolving situations and new demands, guided by well-established principles. But missions are struggling to cope with the spread and intensity of conflicts today, and lack of unity among Member States over their scope and application is thwarting their adaptation. Within peace operations, shameful actions of some individuals are tarnishing efforts of tens of thousands.

Consequently, the UNSG calls on tackling these profound challenges. In doing so, he does not only assess the HIPPO-Report as being a solid foundation for this, but simultaneously points to the AGE-Report and more, including the Global Study on the implementation of Resolution 1325, which examines progress in placing women at the centre of the UN peace and security agenda⁠5, with a High-Level Review in October 2015.

On initiative of the President of the United States of America, a Peacekeeping Summit of World Leaders took place on occasion of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. In his speech⁠6 on September 28, 2015, Ban Ki-moon recalls that “the situations into which peacekeepers are deployed have never been more challenging, as tasks multiply and we face extremists, criminal groups and others who show no regard for international humanitarian or human rights law.” He recalls that more than 120 countries currently contribute over 125,000 troops, police and civilian personnel. Amongst five most pressing needs, the call for more qualified police personnel, including more female police officers, and Formed Police Units, as well as experts in the justice and corrections sectors, features prominently.

Likewise President Obama⁠7: “…today, I’m issuing new presidential guidance — the first in more than 20 years — to expand our support for U.N. peace operations.” He points to the need to reform and modernize peace operations, making them fit for purpose in contemporary complex environments, appreciating the commitment of more than 50 countries to do more, including contributing troops and police. The White House Memorandum on United States support for United Nations peace operations⁠8 itself is even more specific and detailed in the U.S. Administrations’ support for policing in UN peace operations, and it stands as an example for an increased commitment that was subsequently demonstrated in speeches by Heads of States, or their representatives, over more than four hours of pledging.

To date⁠9, PCC contribute 13.940 police officers to United Nations Police (UNPOL). Broadly speaking, 4.653 officers are deployed as Individual Police Officers, and 9.287 officers are deployed into Formed Police Units. Taking stock on the police side, the 2nd Peacekeeping Summit led to significant new pledges of UN Member States. Finally, all the above is accompanied by a wider and complex set of efforts of the United Nations to modernize peace operations.

Quo vadis, United Nations policing? The extrapolation of the future can never be attempted without a thorough look into the development itself, in this case the development of policing in UN peace operations. A look back will map the history, and will become more detailed for the past decade, or possibly fifteen years. Whilst the focus is on UN policing, within UN peace operations, the narrative for the beginning 21st century has, to some extent, to look at aspects of coherence and cooperation, within the larger UN system, and in relation to other international, regional, and bi- or multilateral actors. Without, the current challenges can hardly be understood.

anImage_9.tiff

1 Uniting Our Strengths for Peace – Politics, Partnerships And People; Report of the High-Level Independent Panel on United Nations Peace Operations. http://www.un.org/sg/pdf/HIPPO_Report_1_June_2015.pdf

2 The Challenge of Sustaining Peace – Report of the Advisory Group of Experts For The 2015 Review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture.

Click to access 300615_The-Challenge-of-Sustaining-Peace.pdf

3 The future of United Nations peace operations: implementation of the recommendations of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. Report of the Secretary-General to General Assembly and Security Council; Document A/70/357–S/2015/682. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N15/270/74/PDF/N1527074.pdf?OpenElement

4 Report of the Secretary-General to General Assembly and Security Council; Document A/55/305–S/2000/809; http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/55/305

5 http://wps.unwomen.org/en/high-level-review

6 http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=9048

7 https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/28/remarks-president-obama-un-peacekeeping-summit

8 http://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2015peaceoperations.pdf

9 Figures represent the deployment as of November 2015

International policing in peace operations

“Restoring confidence and transforming security, justice, and economic institutions is possible within a generation, even in countries that have experienced severe conflict.” 

World Development Report 2011, Conflict, Security and Development; The World Bank, April 2011; http://www.worldbank.org

“The worst times in European history were in the fourteenth century, during and after the Hundred Years War, in the seventeenth century at the time of the Thirty Years War, and in the first half of the twentieth century. The twenty-first century may be worse than any of these.”

Robert Cooper, The Breaking of Nations, 2003, Atlantic Books, pg. vii

“To understand the present we must first understand the past.”

Ibid, pg. 7

 

Over the past months, I have found my way back into writing. It has been an arduous process, and so many reasons were contributing to that it took so long. What appears to be the result of a brilliant or less brilliant idea, put into words then, in reality it is the product of many months where the subconscious parts of the mind wrestled with it. And then, all of a sudden, it comes up in to the clear of the conscious. That’s one part of the story.

Another one is that the theme of the articles I am going to publish into the testing ground of my blog could not be written earlier. In my line of professional work, 2015 has been a year with most important events which set the stage for this writing. The first article will highlight some of the strategic events.

Next is the reasons that 2015 saw an almost incredible amount of things happening which the world is struggling with. In my view, like for many others, it is changing the global fabric of what we are challenged with, for many reasons.

So there were operational challenges. And there was more reading blogs than writing. Witnessing how the world wrote about some events, including terror attacks, and forgot about others, like the areas in which my colleagues and I work. I watched the migration crisis, in amazement. And I watched the many visible aspects of xenophobia, and reverberating patterns, like ping-pong-balls, of radicalization of language, and cruel action. Look, in retrospective, on what I wrote about Charlie Hebdo. We now have many of these, many more, and many more worrying patterns of that the world becomes resentful, that simplifying and manipulative language drives the discussions, rather than educated and informed talking and writing, rather than compassionate thinking, breaking up the fiefdoms of egotism.

We need voices of compassion, empathy, rational understanding, able to contribute to the appropriate dealing with very complex development. The great simplifiers, we have too many of them, all over this world. It is their hour, they yell their manipulations from the rooftops. As long as the voices of reason stay silent, they find easy prey.

So, in order to write, another reason was that I needed to research, and to think. Sometimes, every sentence took me a day. And many days in order to rewrite that sentence, until I was satisfied. Behind some articles there is intense number crunching. And nothing is referring to data which would not be public. In everything I am writing I am referring to data and information that you can look up on the Internet, or books that you can buy.

I got the hang of it again, so now my writing, as a process, is much easier than it has been, say, summer 2015. And many other things happened that summer, of which none is to be shared here.

Alright then, if you like what I will post, enjoy!

Conflict, organized crime, extremism and terror, and corruption

Within most of our peace operations, we face security and justice institutions being incapacitated by conflict. Achieving peace and security requires establishing sustainable governance in a community, nation, and State. 

Whilst we do base our mandate implementation on the understanding of a specific local context and regional dimensions, we also acknowledge that every local or regional conflict is tied into a global context. It is important to better understand the global drivers of conflict, interconnected to each and any peace operation, a knowledge with which we can establish better foundations for achieving progress on the road towards sustainable peace and security. This includes an in-depth understanding of the level of collaboration of transnational organised crime with extremists and terrorists, on a fertile soil of corruption, including global, regional, and local, schemes of their operations.

Within the UN Secretary General’s key priorities, promoting a safer and more secure world features prominently. Ban Ki Moon calls on enhancing coherence and scale up counter-terrorism efforts, and addressing the heightened threat of organised crime, piracy and drug trafficking. The collaboration between transnational organised crime and extremism and terrorism is undermining legitimacy of governance in the interest of some, and against fundamental and inalienable human and individual rights of all. The collaboration between organised crime and forms of extremism and terror is more than a local or regional phenomenon, and it needs to be much better understood, on all levels, global, regional, and local.

New dimensions of violence, such as seen within horrible and seemingly senseless actions of “Islamic State IS”, “Boko Haram”, and others, have rekindled international outrage. Within organised crime however, organised crime groups such as, for example, “Los Zetas” in Mexico, or Central America’s criminal groups named “Maras”, are by no means different. All are united in their ideology and politics of establishing power and total influence. These organisations are unified in applying the sheerest form of evil: The utter absence of any respect for humanity. Behind horrible and seemingly senseless violence there is an emerging business model which connects all of them: The establishment of power including through a threat of horror. Homicide ratios per capita in some States affected by transnational organised crime go far beyond a ratio threshold that would indicate the existence a war-, conflict- or post-conflict-zone, such as the places where our peace operations are deployed.

Contemporary scholars and experts discuss which side, organised crime or terror, has adopted this strategy of reigning through massive violence from the other. Or, may be, there is just coincidence in its (re)emergence. However, we should consider that others might adopt similar strategies, and we shall not make a mistake by believing there is only similarity in the strategic application of evil: The business model of both transnational organised crime and terror is the same, in radically attacking all forms of governance that go counter to their own goal. The message is: If you are not with us, we will kill you, torture your loved ones, and we will do it without a blink of the eye.

Secondly, there is indication for a global collaboration between transnational organised crime and terror. Global interests of, for example, the South-American narco-cartels; regional African interests of groups facilitating trafficking in narcotics, weapons and human beings and illegal immigration; and interests of any form of violent extremism and terrorism meet where we deploy peacekeepers. The interests of such groups run counter to any governance, and our assistance to establishing it. We inflict on their goals. More recently, peacekeepers have come increasingly under direct attack because of our mandate to assist in restoring governance, peace, and security. In Mali alone, we have lost twenty-three peacekeepers since the end of June by the time of this writing. In short, looking at the reasons for this, we should not limit ourselves to looking at extremism and terror, alone.

It is important to take into account that the systematic application of seemingly senseless violence is one strategy, a very effective one, for creating antagonism and hatred, beyond fear. Newly emerging violent patterns of organised crime and terror do not only aim to mute, or to retaliate. Rather, violence is a tool supporting the feeding ground on which they thrive, and grow. 

Enforcement action needs to be embedded into a profound and comprehensive strategy on a higher level: (1) To understand better the context of complex collaboration between organised crime and terror; (2) To be placed into an overarching strategy, within and beyond individual peace operations, so to avoid the antagonisation which is intended by the other side, and which will include a significant risk of us getting weaker and them getting stronger. (3) We need to find innovative ways to return to the sentence with which I began: We face security and justice institutions being incapacitated by conflict. Understanding the drivers of conflict better will allow us to calibrate what needs to be done to reduce the threats these institutions face from organised crime and terror.