Civil War the International Law Stands on Term Paper

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Civil War

The International law stands on two cornerstones of the Codified Law and Customary Law. The Codified Law is represented by the UN Charter that embodies the norms of sovereignty and non-interference in the domestic affairs of the state and contrary to this the Customary law progressively stresses upon the safeguarding of human rights and the security and well being of the individual. Taking into consideration the present situation and emerging norms on intervention, there appears to be two isolated but associated principles on the basic unacceptability of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, to illustrate, the establishment of International Criminal Court and secondly a wider principle emphasizing the significance of the non-use of coercive force so as to allow resolving the clashes internally. The quest for the reasons behind the intervention is necessitated more intensive thought to reveal out the possibly criterion for justifying the intervention as convergence points of the international consensus and customary law. (Pugwash Study Group on Intervention, Sovereignty and International Security)

Demarcating such guidelines could also assist in instituting common ground between quite conflicting international perspectives on the comparative weight accorded to the sovereignty vs. intervention, so that the emerging intervention attracts extensive international support. Four such criteria justifying the international interventions is viewed which are as follows: 1) the incidents of gross and systematic abuse of human right even involving genocide that to illustrate, occurred in Cambodia and Rwanda; 2) in case of the suppression of the clearly represented will of the majority, like the overthrow of the democratically-elected government in Haiti or the embarrassment of the clearly represented will of the majority like the deposing of the democratically-elected government in Haiti or the repression of an internationally mandated term of self fortitude, as is in East Timor; 3) in cases of failure states where the central administration is not active and the civilian mass is at the compassion of the militias, warlords and criminal gangs as in Somalia, Liberia, Sierra, Leone etc.; 4) in case of the incidences depicting illegitimate and inhuman use of power by one side or the other at the time of a civil war involving a challenge at secession and/or ethnic/religious self-determination.

The United Nations is taken to be the best agency to provide legitimacy to intervention. Even Russia and China admitted that UN Security Council only has the legal sanction for interventions. However, more often UNSC activity is hindered by the veto exerted by superpowers. The effectiveness of the military intervention is judged on many grounds. A stringent welfare strategy to assess a successful intervention is on the basis of (a) the number of lives saved (b) the assistance of generating post-conflict political stability. It has been advocated that the efficacy of the intervention is adjudged on the achievement of goals of the intervention that in turn depends upon six other factors like operational strategy, motives, capabilities, coordination, timing and objectives. (Pugwash Study Group on Intervention, Sovereignty and International Security)

The UN Security Council obtains its power to intervene in disputed situations from the Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter that entails that the Security Council may extend any sort of measures as may be essential to eliminate any risk to the peach, violation of peace, or the activities of aggression. However, the article 27 of the charter seriously degrades the efficacy of the Security Council, by indicating that all conclusions on non-procedural matters are to be made by an assertive vote of nine members, inclusive of the concurring votes of the permanent members. (UN intervention in Somalia and Mozambique: why success is not always cast in stone)

There exist at least five necessary circumstances to regard an act as international intervention. Firstly, the activity is required to have the objective of protecting an already established rule of politics, morality or law. Secondly, the intervener is regarded to be more strengthened than the intervened. Thirdly, the activities of the intervener are required to be somewhat different from any previous actions. Fourthly, the activity is to be transient and nor permanent. Finally, the activity is regarded to be at society or the state as an institution. The intervention is adjudged successful when the disputes between the opposing groups concluded with the completion of a formal peace agreement. An intervention is considered failure where the disputes continued uninterrupted during the period of intervention. Besides, when it is noticed that the hostilities continued after a temporary interruption but without the signing of a formal peace agreement between the opposing sides, it will also is taken as a failure.

Against this backdrop it is quite possible to probe into the reasons for the failure of the intervention in Somalia and the effectiveness of the interventions in Mozambique. In case of Somalia a total degeneration of the state structures has been noticed and this has resulted in a circumstance where different clans struggled to attain the authority in absence of the central government. In the Mozambique the emerged civil war between Resistencia Nacional Macambicana (Renamo) and the Frente de Libertacao de Mocambiue (Frelimo) demonstrated a traditional illustration of the conflict where the very occurrence of the government was the basic reasons of the conflict, thereby necessitating intervention by an outsider to become the only mode of attaining the peaceful and negotiated settlement to the conflict. The international community attempted to intervene in the civil war for maintenance of normalcy and peace through the establishment of UN Operation in Somalia or Unosom2. Similarly the cessation of disputes and for conducting of elections for a democratic government is overseen by the establishment of the UN Operation in Mozambique or Onumoz. (UN intervention in Somalia and Mozambique: why success is not always cast in stone)

The two interventions have widely divergent consequences. The Unumoz is considered as the most effective intervention ever made by the UN while the Unsom concluded in despair. The failure of the intervention in Somalia attributes to several factors. Firstly, the Unosom2 became unable to remain impartial in the civil war of Somalia as a result of their conclusion to exert a rigorous manhunt for Mohammed Farah Aideed. This led to unintentional favoring of the Unosom2 forces to the Ali Mahdi Alliance. This crushed any perception of neutrality and the Unosom2 forces were growingly became victims of the militiamen of Mohammed Farah Aideed. Besides being an armed force the Unosom2 troops find it difficult to prevent the two Somalian factions from involving in open hostilities simultaneously protecting it against the attacks from both. Its failure is perceived in absence of any realistic and feasible goals. While the Clinton administration came to power the eventual handover of Unitaf command to the UN emerged and the Unosom2 was the target of massive mission creep.

The Unosom2 was instructed to disarm the armed factions in the civil war of Somalia and to defuse all the landmines in Somalia and to establish a civil administration in Mogadishu and to provide training to the civil police. Irrespective of the fact that the command of Unosom2 was in the hands of UN a definite amount of competition emerged in between the UN and the U.S. over Unosom2. Instead of completely transferring the command of the operation in Somalia to UN after completion of the Unitaf mission the U.S. prevailed upon the command structure of Unosom2. The matter was further complicated with insistence of the Italian government by exerting a leading role in the organization of a leading role in the running of Unosom2. On the other hand the success of the UN mission in Mozambique Onumoz is attributed to the clear and realistic mandate, the self-assurance of the people of Mozambique, adequate financial and personal resources, support and co-operation of the international community. Taking into consideration the circumstances so revealed it is clear that irrespective…[continue]

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