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  • Photo of a session of the Central African Republic's Special Criminal Court's appeals chamber.
    The UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic has supported the functioning of the Special Criminal Court, which is helping ensure perpetrators of serious crimes are brought to justice. Here, the Appeals Chamber delivers its judgment in the so-called “Paoua” case on July 20, 2023. The three defendants were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and were sentenced to 20 years and 30 years in prison. MINUSCA / Francis Yabendji-Yoga

3 ways UN peacekeeping is creating lasting peace through rule of law

“It is only through justice that we will build an enduring peace,” says Ibrahim Suru, state Minister of Local Government in South Sudan. A mobile court established with assistance from the peacekeeping mission there has “helped all communities feel safer; reduced criminality and promoted ownership as well as accountability and trust among people…” he says.

Peace is difficult to achieve and even harder to sustain without effective, accountable, and inclusive rule of law. That’s why UN peacekeeping is helping countries build the institutions they need to peacefully resolve disputes and to hold people accountable when they commit serious crimes. Justice and Corrections officers in peacekeeping missions work closely with national authorities to prioritize conflict prevention and contribute to durable political solutions. They are supported by the UN Justice and Corrections Service in New York, which serves as a centre of expertise on justice, corrections and related rule of law areas.

Here are three ways Justice and Corrections teams in peacekeeping missions are working with UN and local partners to secure and maintain peace for millions of people in conflict-affected areas by strengthening the rule of law:

  1. Strengthening institutions: Well-functioning and accountable rule of law institutions - like courts and prisons - help establish and maintain national security, peace, and justice. UN peacekeeping is working with host countries to help deliver, strengthen, and extend these essential services, contributing to greater stability. For example, the mission in South Sudan has helped deploy mobile courts to give under-served and remote communities access to justice. This is building greater trust in the justice system and is helping to address violence related to cattle-migration, which can otherwise fuel conflict.
  2. Promoting accountability for crimes: UN peacekeeping is helping local authorities investigate and prosecute serious crimes that are fuelling conflict, which is helping hold perpetrators accountable, secure justice for victims, and prevent future violence. In 2023 alone, UN peacekeeping supported the trials of approximately 4,600 individuals for serious crimes, leading to 3,400 convictions in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Mali. Click here to see a mini documentary on this work in the DRC.
  3. Improving prison security and management: Peacekeeping missions are working with national authorities to strengthen prisons, which helps mitigate the destabilizing effects of breakouts, disturbances and radicalization, while also improving prison conditions. For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN peacekeeping mission is supporting 12 priority prisons, establishing prison intelligence cells that have prevented six major prison attacks. They are also supporting programs that provide training to detainees, helping them reintegrate into society after they have served their terms.

These efforts to strengthen rule of law are helping peacekeeping’s host countries better provide justice and security to their populations, preventing conflict and laying the foundations for sustainable peace.


Watch the video below to lean how corrections officers in the field work for peace.

An Introduction to Corrections in United Nations Peace Operations | United Nations