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Strengthening Rule of Law

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    UN Photo/MONUSCO/Abel Kavanagh
Rule of law and security institutions, both national and local, are vital elements for stabilizing countries and bringing sustainable peace.

Through systematic and targeted measures, UN Peacekeeping addresses the situation of those individuals and communities most affected by conflict, with the overarching goal of assisting national political processes, conflict resolution and stabilization.

UN Peacekeeping assists countries to strengthen the rule of law by restoring and maintaining security, protecting civilians, paving the way to peacebuilding, reconstructing communities and creating the enabling conditions for sustainable peace. 

Rule of law activities in peacekeeping are people-centred initiatives. They are tailored to local realities and assist communities to produce concrete peace dividends, such as access to basic services through mine/explosive hazard removal.

UN Peacekeeping also supports the rule of law by providing interim stability or security measures, such as mixed patrols in Mali, local ceasefires in Darfur, informal and community-led security arrangements in Abyei, local peace agreements in CAR and targeted community violence reduction programmes in Haiti.

Keep Peace Now, Build Peace Early

In countries emerging from violent conflict, the threads that hold society together, along with a sense of trust and justice, can be badly damaged.  Armed combatants may roam free.  Police may be feared.  Old grievances continue to simmer.  In this context, the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), deploys peacekeepers, as early peacebuilders, who assist post-conflict countries in re-establishing the justice and security systems necessary for long-term peace.  The Office is currently led by Assistant-Secretary-General Alexander Zouev

On the ground, rule of law and security colleagues are fulfilling a wide range of essential tasks. Police peacekeepers patrol crime hotspots alongside officers from national law enforcement agencies.  Weapons experts educate civilians on the risks of explosive hazards. Judicial and corrections officers advocate for all citizens to be treated equally under the law.  DDR specialists help former fighters reintegrate into society.  Security sector professionals ensure that oversight and accountability are built into police, defence and intelligence services.

In addition, the Office has established nimble standing capacities with expertise in policing, justice and corrections. These teams can deploy within seven days to stand up new peace operations, support missions in times of crisis, help provide surge capacity and otherwise respond to needs as they arise. OROLSI has also generated other quickly deployable capacities through rosters, rapid reaction teams and similar stand-by arrangements.

Sustaining Peace through Rule of Law and Security Institutions

As a result of OROLSI's efforts, DPKO today also has an increased role in the area of conflict prevention, prevention of violent extremism, counter terrorism, stabilization and peace sustainment and local/community dynamics.

Working together, OROLSI’s five components provide holistic support to United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions, providing a full cycle of related activities, from doctrine development, capacity building, community liaison, training and generation of personnel to technical expertise, lessons learned and transition planning. Working side-by-side with national authorities, a focus on the rule of law and security institutions can guide countries on the difficult road from conflict to sustainable peace. 

Focus on the Field

OROLSI is first and foremost, field- oriented.  The Office is currently present in the following 12 peacekeeping operations: MINUSCA; MINUSMA; MONUSCO; UNMISS; UNAMID; UNISFA; MINUJUSTH; UNMIL; UNFICYP; UNMIK; MINURSO; and UNIFIL.  In addition, OROLSI is also providing support to five Special Political Missions (UNSOM; UNSMIL; UNAMI; UNAMA; and UNIOGBIS) and other non-Mission settings (e.g. Burundi; Guinea; the Gambia; Iraq; Syria; Yemen).

 

Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections

A positive example of an integrated, delivery-oriented approach is the work of the Global Focal Point (GFP) arrangement for Police, Justice and Corrections. The main tasks of the GFP are to jointly asses and plan for rule of law country-specific plans on the basis of comparative advantages of the entities involved. This collaborative framework also includes UNODC, OHCHR, UN Women and other UN partners.

Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict

Experts from the Justice and Corrections Service (JCS), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Police Division and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are part of a Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Con­flict (Team of Experts), which was created under Security Council resolution 1888 (2009). The Team of Experts focuses its efforts on strengthening the capacity of national rule of law and justice actors, including in specialized areas such as: criminal investigation and prosecu­tion; collection and preservation of evidence; military justice sys­tem investigation and prosecution; criminal and procedural law reform; and protection of victims, witnesses and justice officials.

To date, the Team of Experts has supported national authorities in a num­ber of countries, including the Central African Republic, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Iraq, Liberia, Mali, Somalia and South Sudan.

For more information on the Team of Experts, please see: http://www.un.org/sexualviolenceinconflict/about-us/team-of-experts/