Research Handbook on International Law and Peace
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Research Handbook on International Law and Peace

Edited by Cecilia M. Bailliet

Peace is an elusive concept, especially within the field of international law, varying according to historical era and between contextual applications within different cultures, institutions, societies, and academic traditions. This Research Handbook responds to the gap created by the neglect of peace in international law scholarship. Explaining the normative evolution of peace from the principles of peaceful co-existence to the UN declaration on the right to peace, this Research Handbook calls for the fortification of international institutions to facilitate the pursuit of sustainable peace as a public good.
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Chapter 16: Promoting peace through the international law of peace operations

Kjetil Mujezinović Larsen


In the 1992 report ‘An Agenda for Peace’, the United Nations Secretary-General asserted that the ‘concept of peace is easy to grasp’. With regard to international peace operations, this assertion may have been true at the time: until the end of the Cold War, international peace operations were deployed to protect peace between States. However, since then such operations have undergone a significant normative transformation. Now, operations are also being deployed to protect or strengthen peace within States, and the mandates are developed to promote peace in a positive sense rather than only in the more ‘easy to grasp’ negative sense. The chapter analyses the mandates of UN authorised peace operations to clarify this evolution from a negative to a positive definition of peace in the context of peace operations. The chapter discusses the two-sided interaction between the concept of ‘peace’ and the applicable law, namely on the one hand whether a stronger and more coherent conceptualization of ‘peace’ can contribute to a strengthening of the legal regime applicable to peace operations, and on the other hand whether a stronger legal regime in turn can contribute to a more effective protection of the ‘peace’ that peace operations are ultimately intended to protect.

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