Excerpt: At the end of the Second World War, the United Nations (UN) committed itself to maintaining international peace and security. This organization has various ways of carrying out that mandate, and peacekeeping is one of the methods of conflict resolution it favours. Minimal use of force is an inherent characteristic in the peacekeeping operations it oversees.1 In spite of this fact, since the first armed peacekeeping operation in 1956, the norm concerning the use of force within UN missions has evolved as events have developed, according to the interpretation of the traditional notion of self-defence. Moreover, the use of force has, on several occasions, contradicted the ideal of non-violence embodied by peacekeeping. There is no official UN doctrine governing the use of force. Certain operations led by UN peacekeepers have turned out to be inefficient because their mandates and their means did not correspond to the contexts in which they were carried out. However, the use of force, or at least the possibility of using coercion to defend themselves, gives UN peacekeepers the credibility necessary for them to be efficient: “The failure of UN troops to use force even to defend themselves leads to a loss of credibility both for the UN and for its peace operations and contributes to the widespread view that peacekeepers are paper tigers who can be pushed around and manipulated.” Within the framework of traditional peacekeeping operations as they were understood in 1956, the use of force was likely to be minimal. However, during complex conflicts within the context of the post-Cold War period, use of force during peace operations has increased.
Read the entire report here: http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vo9/no3/10-legare-eng.asp