From Congo to East Timor in 40 Years: The UN Finally Crossing the Rubicon between Peace-Keeping and Peace-Making?


People first, nations second. That's the new global creed that is beginning to jell at the United Nations . At the 54th Annual UN General Assembly Session in September 1999, both President Clinton and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan made historic claims that any country's sovereignty could be violated by other nations under certain conditions occasioned by ‘deliberate, massive, organised and systematic violations of human rights’. This is in a world stage where the East Timor Crisis and the accompanying humanitarian intervention forms a vivid backdrop to the past failures of the UN in creating a nexus between international aspirations and pragmatic realities in the protection of fundamental human rights. Could the notion that sovereignty does not entitle a government to slaughter its own people and that outsiders have a duty to take action finally herald the UN’s crossing of the rubicon between peace-keeping and peace-making?


International Law

Date of this Version

May 2006