The revolution ensures peace and security

United Nations

Peacekeeping and peacebuilding stand side by side and merge into one another. The Security Council decides on interventions, but is subject to the rules set out in the UN Charter on the one hand and often also pursues its own interests on the other.
Sculpture of a knotted pistol in Stockholm, as it is in front of the UN building in New York. (& copy picture-alliance / dpa)


Looking at the United Nations Charter, it is noticeable that its strong, collective action chapters deal primarily with how to prevent or end interstate wars and violent conflicts, while central issues such as human rights or economic and social issues Development should be addressed programmatically and its processing is referred to subsidiary organs that are still to be created. This focus is understandable above all from the context in which the UN emerged during World War II. But it also becomes clear that the states wanted to keep the transfer of sovereignty rights to the new world organization as manageable as possible. While human rights and development were only to become the pillars of the UN in further political practice, the basic concept for a global collective security system was firmly anchored in the Charter from the outset. Its practical implementation was not true to the charter provisions, but mostly based on often creative interpretation by the states.

Core principle of collective security

The history of international relations has always been marked by the fact that states use military force and wage wars to assert their interests. For centuries, this freely available right to war (liberum ius ad bellum) has been an important sign of sovereignty for states. In view of the increasing interdependencies and interdependencies in the modern state system, attempts have been made again and again to prevent wars with the help of power conferences, treaty systems or alliances and thus to minimize damage and disruptions in the international system. Examples include the Berlin Congress on the Balkans in 1878 or the well-balanced treaty diplomacy of the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, but also the Anglo-French-Russian alliance, the so-called Triple Entente, before the First World War. The catastrophes of two world wars in the first half of the twentieth century, however, had shown the international community how fragile and inadequate these endeavors ultimately were. Above all, the lack of internationally accepted bans on violence and powerful institutions to monitor and enforce them allowed states to wage war again and again. This is where the approach of collective security comes into play, as it was first introduced into international politics by the League of Nations, with little success, and then taken up and further developed by the United Nations. The principle of collective security assumes that all states are ready to subordinate their individual interests and sovereign rights to an overriding common interest in peaceful international relations and to participate in the establishment of a global peacekeeping system that effectively prevents its members from violating each other War to pull over. Unlike a collective defense system such as NATO, which is directed against external opponents, a collective security system, with its obligations as well as its sanctions threats, addresses its own members. Ideally, such an institution would be designed like a world government - but since this remains utopian, a corresponding system must be based on the voluntary self-commitment of the states within the framework of an international treaty in which
  • States are permanently deprived of their right to violence and members assure each other that conflicts will be resolved peacefully;
  • an authority to monitor these peace norms is created;
  • Measures in the event of norm violations are agreed.
The functioning of this system, however, depends on certain prerequisites: the agreed standards and mechanisms must be clear and generally binding, and all member states must be able to trust that as many as possible, or at least the vast majority of states, will also adhere to these rules. Furthermore, every peaceful state must be able to rely on the system to come to its aid in the event of aggression - which in turn places high demands on the impartiality and effectiveness of the central decision-making body.

These high demands spark the fundamental criticism of the idea of ​​collective security: The representatives of the realistic school point out that intergovernmental decision-making bodies always depend on the interests of the actors represented there - they are therefore not to be viewed as completely impartial. In complex conflicts, it is also often not possible to clearly distinguish between aggressor and victim, which further limits the decision-making ability of such a system. In addition, even in relatively clear-cut cases, the problem can arise that states shy away from the risks and costs associated with collective action - which naturally turn out to be greater the more powerful the peacemaker is. From this point of view, collective security appears primarily as a mechanism that is at best promising in relation to smaller states, while larger powers must continue to rely on traditional national security precautions and alliances. These objections, which are by no means unjustified, can be exacerbated by the question of whether something absolutely impossible is being attempted with collective security.

Much of this criticism, however, is directed against a very ideal-type conception of collective security. This, however, loses much of its utopianism if it is viewed much more modestly as a rule-based framework for the formation of international politics that creates conditions under which a peaceful conflict is more likely than under the conditions of global anarchy. It offers alternative forms of conflict management with the involvement of institutions that may not be completely impartial, but in which states and powers are encouraged to balance interests and compromise through norms and procedural rules. These regulations at least reduce arbitrariness and tend to make decisions more acceptable to the world of states. A more comprehensive system of cooperative security can then be built on this, in which states, through mutual consultations, produce a wide range of organizations, institutions, treaties or looser regimes that guide their actions in the most varied of areas.

The charter's security system

The UN Charter's prohibition of violence quickly became the fundamental norm of modern international law accepted worldwide. With the Security Council there is at least a potentially strong and capable body, to which Article 24 of the Charter assigns the main responsibility for world peace. However, the East-West conflict ensured for decades that the Security Council was paralyzed by the habitual use of the right of veto, especially by the Soviet Union and the USA. Under these conditions, the collective security system as laid out in the charter could not be implemented either. Rather, the most important instruments and mechanisms for securing peace developed based on and expanded interpretation of the charter provisions set out below.

Peaceful dispute settlement

The obligation of states to settle their disputes peacefully, as set out in Article 2, Number 3 of the Charter, is further elaborated and specified in Chapter VI. According to Article 33, the "parties to a dispute the continuation of which is likely to jeopardize international peace and security" must first endeavor to resolve their disagreements by negotiation, investigation, mediation, settlement, arbitration or court decision or by other peaceful means Include funds of your own choice. At the request of a UN member or by virtue of its own authority, the Security Council can take on any dispute, exercise its right to investigate (Art. 34) and make recommendations on how to resolve them (Art. 36). At this point, however, it lacks the right to issue instructions; the Security Council can only submit a formal mediation proposal under Article 38 if it is requested to do so by all parties to the dispute.

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Essential provisions of Chapter VI

Article 33

(1) The parties to a dispute, the continuation of which is likely to jeopardize the maintenance of world peace and security, first endeavor to find a settlement through negotiation, investigation, mediation, settlement, arbitration, court decision, recourse to regional institutions or agreements or by other peaceful means of their own choosing. (2) The Security Council shall, if it deems it necessary, request the parties to resolve their dispute by such means.

Article 34
The Security Council may investigate any dispute or situation that may give rise to international friction or a dispute to determine whether the continuation of the dispute or situation could jeopardize the maintenance of international peace and security. [...]

Article 36
1. The Security Council may, at any stage of a dispute within the meaning of Article 33 or any situation of the same nature, recommend appropriate procedures or methods for the resolution of the dispute. (2) The Security Council should consider all procedures which the parties have already adopted to resolve the dispute. (3) In making recommendations on the basis of this article, the Security Council should also take into account that disputes in general are to be submitted by parties to the International Court of Justice in accordance with its Statute.

Article 37
(1) If the parties to a dispute of the kind referred to in Article 33 fail to resolve the dispute by the means specified therein, they shall refer the dispute to the Security Council. (2) If, in the opinion of the Security Council, the continuation of the dispute could actually endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, it shall decide whether to act in accordance with Article 36 or to make recommendations for a settlement that it deems appropriate.

Article 38
Without prejudice to Articles 33 to 37, if all parties to a dispute so request, the Security Council may make recommendations to the parties to the dispute on the peaceful settlement thereof.



In the area of ​​tension between state sovereignty and collective action, Chapter VI gives priority to the former: the choice of means and the degree of seriousness in applying them rests with the states or their governments. On the one hand, this approach that preserves sovereignty is certainly appropriate for a community of states with equal rights; On the other hand, the main weakness of peaceful dispute settlement lies in the often unwillingness of states to use strategies to prevent violence. In the opinion of many experts, greater opportunities for the Security Council to intervene below the threshold of coercion, for example by ordering arbitration, could enhance Chapter VI, which is generally rather weak, and enable more effective prevention.

Measures in the event of peace disturbances

If, despite efforts to resolve disputes peacefully, the disturbance of peace persists, the Security Council can, in accordance with Chapter VII, impose coercive measures up to the use of military force against the state aggressor or against the states responsible for the disturbance of the peace. For action under Chapter VII, its introductory Article 39 stipulates that the Security Council must first determine whether there is a threat or a breach of the peace or an act of aggression. If he comes to the assessment that one of these three facts has been given - so far this has almost always been the determination of a "peace threat" - he can make (non-binding) recommendations for their elimination or demand that preliminary measures such as appeals to end hostilities must be followed.

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Important provisions of Chapter VII

Article 39

The Security Council determines whether there is a threat or breach of the peace or an act of aggression; it makes recommendations or decides which measures are to be taken on the basis of Articles 41 and 42 in order to maintain or restore world peace and security. [...]

Article 41
The Security Council can decide which measures - excluding armed violence - are to be taken to make its decisions effective; he can call upon the members of the United Nations to carry out these measures. They can include the complete or partial interruption of economic relations, rail, sea and air traffic, postal, telegraph and radio connections as well as other means of transport and the breaking off of diplomatic relations.

Article 42
If the Security Council considers that the measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proven to be inadequate, it may use air, sea or land forces to take the measures necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. They can include demonstrations, blockades and other operations by air, sea or land forces by members of the United Nations. [...]

Article 48
(1) The measures necessary for the implementation of the decisions of the Security Council to maintain international peace and security shall be taken by all or some of the members of the United Nations at the discretion of the Security Council. (2) These decisions are implemented by the members of the United Nations directly and through action in the appropriate international bodies of which they are members. [...]

Article 51
In the event of an armed attack against a member of the United Nations, this Charter does not in any way affect the natural right to individual or collective self-defense until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by a member in exercising this right of self-defense must be reported to the Security Council immediately; they in no way affect his authority and duty, based on this Charter, to take at any time such measures as he deems necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security.



If the threat to peace persists, the Security Council can also impose coercive measures against the will of the conflicting party (s) concerned and without the consent of the other UN members. This means that they belong to that narrowly defined area within which the UN can exercise supranational powers vis-à-vis its member states. These coercive measures do not constitute penalties, but collective means of pressure that are intended to induce a state to change its peace-disturbing behavior and which must be lifted again after the peace disturbance has ended. When it comes to justifying collective measures, the Security Council has considerable power of definition. Interventions in internal conflicts were considered practically impossible until 1990, but since the UN intervention in Somalia in 1992/1993 this has almost become the rule. Almost all peace operations that have been resolved and mandated since then relate to internal processes from Afghanistan to the Central African Republic.

When using coercion, a distinction must be made between non-violent sanctions (Art. 41) and military measures (Art. 42). Article 41 lists possible sanctions. They range from the interruption of economic relations or communication and transport links to the breaking off of diplomatic relations and can be supplemented by all other non-violent measures that the Security Council considers appropriate and necessary, such as the establishment of criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. In addition, there are "tailor-made" sanctions such as the confiscation of assets or travel bans against individuals and members of groups accused of terrorism or serious international crimes, so-called smart sanctions. It is important that the sanctions imposed by the Security Council are binding on everyone, including states that are not involved in the conflict. In the case of trade embargoes, for example, they are no longer allowed to deliver goods to the state against which the measure is directed - which can sometimes lead to considerable economic disadvantages. As the number of 23 sanction measures imposed so far (of which eleven are still ongoing) shows, this instrument is rarely used in an organization that is basically based on consensus, such as the United Nations.Historically, sanctions began to be imposed in the 1960s and 1970s through trade restrictions and boycotts against the racist regimes in what was then South Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and apartheid South Africa. The extensive trade embargoes against Iraq in the 1990s had the disadvantage that the living conditions of the civilian population in particular deteriorated significantly. Since then - in addition to arms embargoes or the ban on technology sales - attempts have been made above all to hit the elites responsible for policies that threaten peace, for example by banning travel or freezing accounts. Such measures are currently in force against those in power in Sudan and North Korea.

If the conflict is to be countered militarily, the Security Council can decide whether to carry out a corresponding operation itself, to request or authorize member states to do so in accordance with Article 48, or to make use of regional alliances in accordance with Chapter VIII (e.g. the OSCE or the African Union) want. In practice, the Security Council has not carried out a single military action itself because the states have so far refused to even negotiate the necessary special agreements on the provision of troops (Art. 43), let alone to provide troops on a reliable basis. As a result, the General Staff Committee (Art. 47) intended to conduct such operations could never become active.

Without troops, the UN has so far lacked a core element of a functioning and, above all, rapidly acting collective security system. Of course, this does not mean that military measures are not possible - the large number of peace missions and the activities in the Gulf War in 1990/91 prove this. But the United Nations depends on the support of its member states in the procedures according to which the practice of its peacekeeping has developed - which in each individual case make them dependent on their interests and trade-offs. As a result, the decision for or against a measure is often not based on the requirements of the conflict to be worked on, but on how great the interest, especially of the great powers, is in its solution. This can affect the type and quality of deployment decisions and harbors the risk of a loss of effectiveness. But the resolutions of the Security Council, as the central authority of this system, can lose legitimacy as a result.

The Security Council and World Peace

The Charter places the Security Council at the center of the collective security system established by the United Nations. It endows it with the power, unique in the world, to take decisions for the purpose of maintaining peace and international security, which all other states must comply with and implement (Art. 25). This makes it by far the most powerful main organ in the world organization.

The Security Council, which consists of five permanent members (China, France, Russia, USA and UK) and ten non-permanent members elected for two years, can deal with any matter which it either considers to be potentially peace-threatening or which the UN Secretary-General advises or a Member State draws attention.

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In the hamster wheel to world peace

[...] There they sit, the representatives of 15 states, and everything is as Spartan as ever. Everyone has a writing pad, a note box and two pencils in front of them, plus the microphone and headphones. [...]

There is also a wooden hammer in one place. Anyone who is allowed to sit there is the chairman of the club for a month, and when they have a decision to announce, they hit a flat wooden plate with a hammer to reinforce it. Some hit too hard, you can recognize the beginner by this. [...]
Being on the Security Council is a bit like being between rival street gangs. On one side are the big boys with the big clubs. They have been at home on the streets for a long time, they regard it as their very own territory, which must be defended by all means. On the other hand, there are the newcomers who will not stay long and who are therefore urging to show themselves off with tests of courage. They are numerically stronger, but they have no clubs, do not know the area, and they have yet to become a unit.
In the Security Council, the Big Boys are called P 5 (P for permanent), they are the five permanent members who have been there from the start. Your stick is the right of veto. The P 5 consider themselves the owners of the Security Council, which they let the ten non-permanent members feel. These are the E 10 (E for elected), disparagingly called "tourists" by the P 5. Sometimes, of course, the P 5 themselves do not agree, that is then the great opportunity for the others. [...]
Conflicts are often not properly discussed in the Security Council because one of the P 5s is holding a protective hand over the delinquent. The US is doing it for Israel, the Chinese for Zimbabwe, Burma, Pakistan. If hundreds of thousands of civilians get caught between the lines in Sri Lanka's civil war, the Chinese say, no, we are not dealing with that, it is interference in internal affairs. In such a case, "informal interactive dialogue" occurs, which means that the matter is discussed anyway, but in such a way that the Chinese can save face and say afterwards that it was not officially discussed. [...] The alleged "internal affair" is the Council's most popular manslaughter argument. [...] But even if there is agreement in the council and a decision is made to send a blue helmet troop, that is by no means a means of quickly containing conflicts.
First the troops have to be found and recruited [...]. In addition, the mandate texts for such missions are getting longer and more extensive because the non-permanent members see an opportunity to leave their mark. [...] It may be a welcome proof of achievement for the governments at home, but the UN prose, which is hardly digestible anyway, is only made more difficult by the many additions. And they don't make decisions any easier for the blue helmet commander on site. [...]
But in the end it won't be about shining a topic anyway, but rather about being ready for a lot of work. The council is not so much the big stage as the eternal hamster wheel. The multitude of conflicts and failed states makes it difficult to calm down. There were times when the Security Council met every couple of weeks; today, meetings almost every day, Sundays and high holidays cannot be ruled out. [...] The Security Council has 25 sub-committees to which all 15 members are responsible. The P 5 decide in their own full power who is allowed to lead them. [...] What lies ahead are endless meetings, the most difficult consultations, and whoever can at some point still be able to distinguish between the real and the virtual world may wonder how it can be that adults spend hours talking about a word or a phrase haggle. The newcomers will have to learn the unwritten rules of the council, the procedural tricks, and when they are fit enough to race on the hamster wheel, the two-year term is almost over. World peace will not have broken out then; on the contrary: The world will probably be richer by one or the other dirty conflict, and the Security Council will not have changed anything about it. Or only a little. [...]

Stefan Klein, "Being there is everything", in: Süddeutsche Zeitung of December 29, 2010



The Security Council is not a world court, but a political body, whose assessments and decisions depend largely on the political opportunity considerations, especially of the five permanent members. Since each of these "Big Five" can prevent a decision by the council through their veto, they are dependent on consultation and the search for workable compromises - which in theory is a perfectly suitable method for reducing the arbitrary exercise of power. In political practice, however, the Security Council repeatedly encountered permanent blockades in order to pursue its own interests or to protect friendly states: This important body was therefore unable to meet its primary responsibility for peace, or only to a very limited extent. In such situations, there have been repeated actions without the participation of the Security Council until recently - for example in 1999 in the NATO air war over Kosovo or in the attack by the USA on Iraq in 2003. With both wars - even if there were occasions and Differentiated framework conditions - the collective security system of the UN disregarded and badly damaged.

After the end of the East-West conflict, cooperation between the members of the Security Council improved and made substantial changes possible, particularly in the area of ​​peacekeeping. At the same time, new or recurring conflicts created new demands on all continents: If the peacekeeping system of the Charter sees the main threat to world peace, especially in the classic interstate war, the global conflict and warfare has recently increasingly shifted to the domestic sphere. To intervene in this, however, complicates the intervention barrier of article 2, paragraph 7 of the charter, which prohibits the organization from interfering in the internal affairs of its members. By making extensive use of the scope for interpretation that the concept of the peace threat opens up in Article 39, the Security Council gradually extended its area of ​​responsibility to include domestic conflicts, human rights violations and humanitarian disasters. Since the intervention in Somalia in 1992/93, internal disputes have repeatedly prompted the Security Council to intervene - the vast majority of all UN peace missions that have started since then deal with processes within the borders of mostly failed states.

With the establishment of the criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (1993) and Rwanda (1994) and the enactment of the statutes required for them, the Security Council has also ensured that the most serious international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes are recorded and prosecuted can be. In this way, the establishment of the International Criminal Court was significantly advanced.

Since the terrorist attacks on the USA on September 11, 2001, the Security Council has also, with reference to Chapter VII, obliged the world of states to take numerous legal measures - for example to suppress the financing of terrorism - and thus established itself as a kind of global legislator. In view of its lack of democratic legitimation, this is anything but unproblematic. On the other hand, it was able to put existing international treaties, whose ratification by the member states had stalled, directly into force through resolution. In this way, the Security Council has created much broader scope for action in the exercise of its responsibility for peace, and it is probably also more appropriate to meet the new requirements.

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Criminal offenses must be prosecuted - regardless of the office

IP: Ms. Del Ponte, with the Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, an incumbent politician has now been indicted for the first time at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Is it wise to indict politicians who are still in office?

Carla Del Ponte: We shouldn't ask whether it is a current or a former politician. We should just look at the facts. If criminal offenses have been committed and there is evidence, then we have grounds to be charged. [...]
IP: So should law enforcement be completely separated from politics?
Del Ponte: Yes. This is a purely legal question: Do we have concrete evidence that someone is guilty of a serious crime? Concrete evidence comes from the international community, from the press, from NGOs. If there are specific indications or evidence, criminal proceedings must be opened.
IP: The war crimes tribunals repeatedly had to struggle with similar problems: the states from which the perpetrators came did not cooperate; The support from the western states also left something to be desired from time to time. What has to happen for this to change?
Del Ponte: States do not cooperate because it is required by international law, but only when they are exposed to political pressure. So the international community should put pressure on these countries to cooperate fully.
IP: Do you see the possibility that western and influential states will also become the subject of war crimes tribunals?
Del Ponte: In addition to the ad hoc tribunals, there is also the permanent tribunal, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. This court has jurisdiction over all war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. It is true that its jurisdiction extends only to those states that have signed the Rome Statute, the founding charter of the ICC. But that in itself is a big step.
IP: For states like the USA, which have not signed the Rome Statute, it is now very easy to evade persecution ...
Del Ponte: [...] I believe that the big states that have not yet joined will also join in when they see that the tribunal is working independently and correctly. [...]
IP: Is a court of law that does not indict Western politicians even to be taken seriously?
Del Ponte: Yes. Because we're talking about crime, not politics. In The Hague we were asked again and again why we opened proceedings against one and not against the other. We then checked whether we had enough material to initiate an investigation. And sometimes the answer was plain and simple: No, because we have already opened ten proceedings and not the funds for further processes. As far as the permanent court is concerned, there is an additional restrictive element for it: the principle of subsidiarity. This means that we must first ask whether the state in which the crime occurred has already done something itself. The Hague can only act if the national courts fail to take care of it.
IP: It's different with war crimes tribunals.
Del Ponte: Right, there is no subsidiarity principle there. The Hague tribunal had first access to war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, and the Arusha tribunal had access to genocidal crimes in Rwanda. [...]
IP: How can international criminal justice deal with private security forces or companies that break the law in wars and civil wars?
Del Ponte: We had paramilitaries in the Balkan wars who took part in the fighting and crimes. Of course we treated them in the same way as the "official" soldiers. [...] Even a civilian can commit such crimes and be held responsible for them. [...]
IP: The work of the tribunals is made difficult by the differences between Anglo-Saxon and European law. How can this be avoided in the future?
Del Ponte: The Code of Criminal Procedure is currently a mix of the two. We wanted the best of both systems, but that was basically impossible. [...] Now one depends on how the majority of the judges are trained. [...] We do not yet have an international code of procedure, but I think it will be developed at the International Criminal Court - perhaps in the next round of international tribunals. [...]

"We have to separate justice and politics". Interview by Bettina Marx with Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia (1999-2007) and for the genocide in Rwanda (1999-2003) in The Hague, in: Internationale Politik, March / April 2011, p 84ff.



For all the proven adjustment, the composition of the Security Council in terms of permanent members reflects the balance of power at the end of World War II, and in terms of non-permanent members the composition of the organization in the mid-1960s. In its working methods, too, on the basis of its rules of procedure dating from the 1940s and still provisional, the Council often still follows poorly transparent decision-making procedures. Even if the veto is no longer used often (more than 1,300 resolutions have been passed since 1990 compared to just over 600 in the previous 45 years), the threat to block a decision remains one of the major instruments of power of the "Big Five", to influence negotiations in their favor. As a result, the Security Council in its current constellation is becoming less and less suitable for the world situation in the 21st century, which has kept the debate about its fundamental reform on the international agenda for more than 15 years.

UN peacekeeping in transition

Since the United Nations peacekeeping system could not develop as envisaged in the Charter, the organization had to develop alternative forms of peacekeeping that, on the one hand, met the requirements of a changing war and conflict and, on the other, did not run counter to the interests or claims to sovereignty of the member states. With the observation missions to monitor cease-fires, for example in Palestine (UNTSO) or in the Kashmir Valley between India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), as well as the peacekeeping forces deployed from the mid-1950s - the so-called blue helmets according to the color of their headgear - arose in the 1940s its own form of UN peacekeeping, for which the English term of peacekeeping has become established. In this way, an informal "chapter six and a half" was added to the charter, placed between the procedures of peaceful dispute settlement and the use of military force. In the more than 60 years of its use, this peacekeeping has flexibly developed a whole series of very different instruments and types of operations, for the categorization of which the so-called generation model is often used.

In its classic form, which also has a strong impact on all subsequent generations, peacekeeping is a method of military peacekeeping that is not based on coercion. True to the maxim "there is no peacekeeping if there is no peace to keep" (freely translated: "Peace can only be obtained if it has been decided beforehand"), this approach first requires a sustainable ceasefire or a peace agreement monitored by the peacekeepers. These missions essentially follow a pattern that was developed in the course of the first major blue helmet deployment, the UN Emergency Force (UNEF I) after the Suez War in 1956. After the blockade of the Suez Canal by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, France, Great Britain and Israel intervened militarily and occupied the entire Sinai Peninsula in the course of their operation. The subsequent armistice provided for the surveillance of the demilitarized Sinai Peninsula by the UN peacekeeping force. Since then, classic blue helmet missions have always been characterized by the following four features:
  • Consensus of the conflicting parties on the deployment of the blue helmet troops, which increases their acceptance;
  • Impartiality, that is, the blue helmets act as a buffer between the armed forces of the conflicting parties and thus prevent the resumption of hostilities without having their own powers of intervention;
  • Use of light hand weapons only for self-defense, observation missions are generally unarmed;
  • responsibility for the deployment lies with the UN under a mandate from the Security Council (until the beginning of the 1960s also under a mandate from the General Assembly). Operational responsibility lies with the Secretary General, who appoints a special political envoy and a troop commander to manage the mission. The mission is prepared and supported by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Field Support (DFS) in the Secretariat.
The phase of classic peacekeeping stretched over 40 years from 1948 to 1988. During this time, 15 peace missions were started, some of which, such as those in Israel / Palestine, in the Kashmir Valley, on the Golan Heights, in Lebanon and Cyprus to this day last for.

Completed UN missions
The rapprochement of the great powers in the ending East-West conflict led to a resumption of peacekeeping in the second half of the 1980s after a lengthy break. In 1988 the UN blue helmets were also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, the total number of peace missions started and partially completed by the United Nations has grown to 64, 14 peace missions and one political mission led by the DPKO are currently in operation (as of March 2011).

But the international peace missions changed not only quantitatively, but above all qualitatively. The gradual expansion of its powers and responsibilities increasingly enabled the Security Council to intervene in domestic disputes and "new generations" of international peace missions. The concept for this was presented by UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali in his "Agenda for Peace" in 1992. In it he defined the terms of the "peace family" used to this day: preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

In addition to the buffer function, the "second generation" peace missions, such as those deployed in Latin America, Africa and Asia, were accompanied by a much broader range of tasks. This included assistance for states in transitional or national reconciliation processes, support for democratic developments, the disarmament and reintegration of fighters and parties to the civil war, the repatriation of refugees to the temporary assumption of quasi-sovereign functions for entire countries - as was the case in Namibia in 1989/90 or was successfully practiced in Cambodia in 1992/93. Dominated the military in classic peace operations