UN Peacekeeping and the Rule of Law

UN Peacekeeping and the Rule of Law

By Robert A. Blair, Brown University

The UN is intimately involved in efforts to restore the rule of law in conflict and postconflict settings. Yet despite the importance of the rule of law for peace, good governance, and economic growth, evidence on the impact of these efforts is scant. I develop a theory to explain when UN rule-of-law reform is likely to succeed, then test the theory using original datasets capturing the number of civilian personnel deployed to each UN mission in Africa, the number of personnel assigned specifically to rule-of-law-related tasks, and the extent and nature of actual rule-of-law-related activities in the field. The correlation between UN presence and the rule of law is weak while conflict is ongoing, but robustly positive during periods of peace. The relationship is stronger for civilian than uniformed personnel, and is strongest when UN missions engage host states in the process of reform.

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