International Order & Conflict

Enhancing United Nations Capacity to Support Post-Conflict Policing and Rule of Law

in Program

Revised and updated in 2010 by editors William Durch and Madeline England

This report provides an overview of recent trends in the use of police in UN peacekeeping missions, assesses chronic challenges, and lays out a series of proposals aimed at improving UN capacity to support post-conflict policing and the rule of law. It concludes that the UN’s historically ad hoc approach-driven in large part by resource constraints, but also by a lack of vision that has only recently begun to be corrected-is no longer acceptable, if it ever was. It therefore recommends new approaches for more systematic planning, recruiting, and rapid deployment of larger numbers of quality UN police (UNPOL) and other rule of law personnel for integrated peace operations. These include a standing UN Rule of Law Capacity, a complementary ready reserve of police and other criminal justice personnel, and a Senior Reserve Roster of experienced, retired police officers, judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers. The study provides a description of these proposed reforms, including detailed cost estimates, and concludes that the implementation of such initiatives would dramatically improve the UN’s ability to carry out its mandates to support post-conflict policing and rule of law.

This report is one of five FOPO studies on essential aspects of improving rule of law in post-conflict states. Other studies focus on improving border control and border security, fighting corruption in war-torn states, increasing accountability for non-military personnel in peace operations, and using UN Panels of Experts more effectively to combat spoilers and monitor targeted sanctions.

The original version of Enhancing United Nations Capacity was issued November 2007 with co-authors Joshua Smith, Victoria Holt, and William Durch.


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Part of the Rule of Law Project  and the Peacekeeping Reform Project .
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