Within the last 15 years, peacekeeping has undergone a rapid and remarkable transformation. Today, peacekeeping enjoys a much more expansive definition, which acknowledges the complexity and difficulty of truly winning the peace. The absence of the rule of law is a common cause and byproduct of conflicts, and in recognition of this fact, the United Nations (UN) has begun to regularly incorporate rule of law programming into complex multi-dimensional peacekeeping operations (hereinafter, peacekeeping operations).
This study reviews the recent experience with judicial and legal reform programming in UN peacekeeping operations and proposes measures to strengthen and integrate this programming within the mission to maximize its contribution to lasting peace and security. Though this relatively new aspect of peacekeeping has grown consistently in recent years, this study represents one of the first introspective examinations of its status and integration within the UN system.
While significant progress has been made in integrating judicial and legal reform programming into peacekeeping, this study concludes that the effort is still in its early stages, and a number of additional steps are needed to prepare the UN to address judicial and legal system issues in a post-conflict environment. Some of these measures may require additional resources, but more importantly, some demand changes in the way the UN plans and administers the rule of law dimension of peacekeeping operations.