Peace-Keeping in a Peace Process
The Case of Cambodia

By Ramses Amer
August 1995
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 91-506-1125-9
158 pages, 6 1/2" x 9 1/2"
$27.50 Paper Original

This study examines the peace-keeping operation carried out by the United Nations in Cambodia from late 1991 to the end of 1993. Attention is primarily focused on how the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia fulfilled the mandate for its operation. The major feature of the operation was the success of the general elections, both in terms of registration of voters and of the impressive turnout in the elections. Another notable achievement was the repatriation of some 365,000 Cambodian refugees ahead of the elections. Despite major efforts to promote the respect for human rights and to combat politically motivated violence, the United Nations did not succeed in creating a truly politically neutral climate for the elections. The United Nations also failed to adequately address the problem of regularly occurring armed attacks against the Vietnamese minority in Cambodia. Another shortcoming was the decision to pay salaries to the peace-keepers in US dollars, thus contributing to the dramatic depreciation of the local currency and causing a sharp increase in the cost of living of the local population. However, the most serious shortcoming was that the demobilization and cantonment of the military forces had to be abandoned because the Party of Democratic Kampuchea refused to join in the process. Some lessons for future United Nations peace-keeping operations are identified in the study. An extensive knowledge about the local conditions is imperative so as to be able to adequately deal with potential politically motivated violence and tensions between ethnic or other groups. A contingency plan is needed to cope with the risk that one or more of the local parties to an agreement opt not to fulfill their obligations. Furthermore, a successful completion of a demobilized and cantonment process is of vital importance to minimize the risk of continued or renewed warfare.

Uppsala University Department of Peace & Conflict Research, Report No. 40

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