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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

2005, Vol. 5 No. 1 .

Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law. Volume 5, 2001
Jochen A. Frowein and Rüdiger Wolfrum (eds)

The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2001,
750 pp HB £126.00 ISBN 90-411-1723-7

The Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations law focuses on activities of the United Nations in the field of international law, thus by concentrating on issues connected with the United Nations and its initiatives, the Yearbook offers a good understanding of the role of the organisation in the field of ethnic conflicts. Several chapters of the 2001 Yearbook focus on different areas of the work of the United Nations of relevance to the study of ethnic conflicts. Carsten Stahn?s chapter explores how the UN Transitional Administration in Kosovo and East Timor set up a new model of conflict management. The author provides an excellent overview of the historical precedents and explains how the UN missions in Kosovo and East Timor marked a new development in the UN practice for the maintenance of peace. Stahn then elaborates on the status of such territories where the UN is assuming all the classical powers of a State and explores the legal basis for the establishment of such transitional administration. This chapter provides all the necessary background to understand the novelty of UN missions in post-conflict situations. Ultimately, this chapter helps understand the legal personality of a UN mission in places where the UN assumes the exclusive administration of a territory.

In his chapter Manuel Fröhlich addresses the evolution of UN peacekeeping mandates. Despite the very large literature on the subject Fröhlich succeeds in offering a regenerating view on the evolution of peacekeeping operations and the debate on the so-called ?second generation of peacekeeping?. The author goes back to the ?classical? concept of peacekeeping using the example of the UN deployment in Suez in 1956 and compares such an approach to peacekeeping to the contemporary problems faced by peacekeepers. In times when the legal responsibility of the UN staff involved in peacekeeping operations have been making the headlines, this chapter brings a welcome analysis of the fundamental nature of peacekeeping operations.

Moving on to the importance of international criminal law in post-conflicts situations, Dagmar Stoh examines how states have cooperated with the International Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda and points out that overall, the success of these two ad hoc tribunals depends for the most part on the cooperation of states. The Yearbook also offers a very interesting analysis of UNESCO?s contribution to the development of human rights. As Janusz Symonides points out in his chapter, it has be kept in mind that one of the purposes of the organisation is to contribute to peace and security by promoting education, science and culture. This chapter is a welcome study on the involvement of UNESCO in the area of human rights as the work of the organisation seldom receives the credit it deserves in this area.

Overall, even though not all the chapters in the Yearbook will be relevant for researchers working on ethnic conflict, the aforementioned chapters still make its contribution worthwhile in the field. One of the qualities of the yearbook is its ability to provide a deep and solid analysis of the work of different bodies of the United Nations on several issues relevant to the study of ethnic conflicts and to provide researchers and practitioners with a very sophisticated analysis of the role of the different branches of the United Nations.

Jérémie Gilbert, Lecturer, Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster

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