Securing Compliance with Disarmament Treaties: Carrots, Sticks, and the Case of North Korea

Carrots, Sticks, and the Case of North Korea

A. Walter Dorn and Andrew Fulton

Originally published in Global Governance, Vol. 3 (1997), pp.17-40. (pdf)


Securing disarmament from an unwilling state is one of the most difficult yet important tasks in the world. In general, there are two ways to achieve this: through incentives or through punishments. The effort to prevent North Korea (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK) from developing nuclear weapons in violation of its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations furnishes examples of bountiful incentives and threatened punishments. The DPRK has been promised two modern nuclear reactors, 500,000 tons of heavy oil annually, and full normalization of political and economic relations (amounting to a $4 billion carrot at least!). Before this deal was reached, the DPRK was threatened with economic sanctions, further international isolation, and intimidating military maneuvers (the ominous stick).

The UN Security Council has been given the main responsibility for enforcing compliance with treaties to ban weapons of mass destruction, i.e., the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions. In practice, other players, especially major powers acting individually (such as the United States) and certain international organizations (such as the International Atomic Energy Agency) play important roles in the compliance game. This paper surveys the international systems of enforcement for these treaties and then describes in detail the case of the DPRK. An analysis of the actions and results reveals lessons for the future of international compliance and control efforts.

The International Control of Disarmament

The United Nations is the world’s foremost body for the development, implementation, and enforcement of international law, including the laws of disarmament. In fact, the creators of the United Nations fifty years ago envisioned that the organization would have an even larger and more central role in disarmament. The founders foresaw the establishment of a coordinated and comprehensive system for the regulation of armaments under the UN. Plans for such a system were to be formulated by the Security Council, with the help of its Military Staff Committee, and the resulting rules were to be enforced by the Council.

Cold War paralysis of the Council put a halt to the development of such plans. A series of bodies, successively further removed from the Council, were created to negotiate disarmament in a piecemeal rather than a comprehensive fashion. Today’s Conference on Disarmament is the successor body to more than a half dozen earlier UN disarmament-negotiating bodies. Still, the concept of disarmament “under strict and effective international control” remains alive and is reiterated as an ultimate goal in the majority of treaties signed since 1945. Now that the Cold War is over, it is worthwhile to revisit the plans developed in the early years of the UN for the international control over weapons of mass destruction and to reexamine the adequacy of the compliance provisions in the disarmament treaties signed over the past thirty years. It is realistic to hope that through the gradual, painstaking, step-by-step process and learning experience, we are now moving back to the interconnected comprehensive system envisioned by the UN in its early days.

Less than two months after the UN Charter was signed in June 1945, the world received a rude awakening to the devastating power of atomic weapons. The two atomic bombs that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki left a legacy with which we are still trying to cope today. World leaders and delegates to the new organization considered it first priority to establish international means to control this new and awesome power. The first resolution of the General Assembly (held in London in 1946), following a summit declaration and a Security Council mandate on the topic, created the UN’s Atomic Energy Commission.

The Baruch Plan, presented by the United States at the first meeting of the Atomic Energy Commission, sought the creation of an International Atomic Development Authority entrusted with all phases of the development and use of atomic energy. The United States was willing to give up its monopoly on atomic power and disarm itself to ensure that such power would be used only for peaceful purposes. This admirable display of generosity and internationalism was the result of a belief that strong and forceful international control was possible. The authority was to have the freedom to inspect all nations. The Security Council was to administer punishment on nations that infringed on the rights of the authority. Furthermore, the United States delegate, Bernard Baruch, insisted that the veto could not be invoked for resolutions on violations of the future inter national agreement on atomic energy.

The Soviet Union could not agree to this loss of power. The United States, unable to make significant progress on nuclear control and disarmament, later sought a much less ambitious organization as a practical step. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was proposed by President Eisenhower in his “Atoms for Peace” speech of 3 December 1953. The agency’s statute was negotiated with eventual Soviet backing, and it entered into force in 1957. The agency was created to supply nuclear assistance and materials to recipient states subject to a set of safeguards.

While the IAEAfounders sought to distance the agency from the Security Council, they still included a provision in the statute that noncompliance problems would be referred to the Security Council. They were perhaps only dimly aware that in a future world, free from Cold War rivalry, these provisions would become vital. The IAEA was established as an in dependent intergovernmental organization within the UN system. When the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was signed, some ten years after the IAEA statute, the agency was given the role of verifying that materials placed under the mandatory safeguards would not be diverted to further any military purpose.1 Thus, the IAEA was not given the role of verifying all NPT commitments but only one aspect of it (i.e., the nondiversion of declared materials).

The precise modalities for inspection of nuclear sites are described in the safeguards agreements negotiated between each state party and the IAEA, based on a standard model agreement (INFCIRC/153). If inspectors discover inconsistencies with regard to material accountancy, these concerns are reported to the director general of the IAEA, who then briefs the IAEA Board of Governors. The statute provides that

the Board shall call upon the recipient State or States to remedy forth with any non-compliance which it finds to have occurred. The Board shall report the non-compliance to all members of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations. In the event of failure of the recipient to take fully corrective action within a reasonable time, the Board may take one or both of the following measures: direct curtailment or suspension of assistance being provided by the Agency or by a member, and call for the return of materials and equipment made available to the recipient member or group of members. The Agency may also, in accordance with Article XIX, suspend any non-complying member from the exercise of the privileges and rights of membership.2

We show in the next section how these provisions were applied in the DPRK case.

The IAEA safeguards system was also incorporated into other nuclear treaties (e.g., the three nuclear-weapons-free zone agreements: the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco, the 1985 Rarotonga Treaty, and the 1996 Perindaaba Treaty, which cover Latin America, the South Pacific, and Africa, respectively). It also served as the standard model for establishing control and compliance mechanisms for nonnuclear treaties. When nations negotiated the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the IAEA-as the first international organization with an on-site inspection system-was the prototype for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The CWC included some of the same compliance provisions as the IAEA,mostly in Article XII.3 Its executive council, analogous to the IAEABoard of Governors, could “request the [noncomplying] State Party to take measures to redress the situation within a specified period of time.”4 The Conference of States Parties of the CWC, which included all states party (like the IAEA’s General Conference), could “restrict or suspend the State Party’s rights and privileges under this Convention.”5 In cases of particular gravity, it was to bring the issue to the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. While the OPCW could recommend to states that “collective measures” (i.e., sanctions) be applied, it was recognized that only the Security Council has the right to require states to undertake such measures. Ultimately, the Security Council is the enforcer for both the NPT and the CWC.

The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) does not include any mention of sanctions or collective measures, but it does provide that any state party “may lodge a complaint with the Security Council” (Article VI). Given the problems of the Soviet veto, the United States did not even table a resolution when it alleged that the Soviets were violating the BWC by developing biological weapons in Sverdlovsk in the mid-l970s. The convention does include the positive security assurance that each state party is obliged to provide assistance to any state party “which has been exposed to danger as a result of violation of the Convention” (Article VII). The CWC provides for a similar security assurance, in the form of protection against chemical attack if any party is threatened or is a victim of such attack.

While the IAEA statute does not include security assurances, the Security Council has endorsed such assurances. In Resolution 255 (1968), the three NPT Depositary states (the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union [now the Russian Federation]) offered to provide assistance in the event of nuclear threats or attacks, a positive security assurance. In Resolution 984 (1995), adopted in the run-up to the 1995 NPT Review and Extension conference, the Security Council gave further support to such commitments. It also noted “with appreciation” the negative security assurances, in which some nuclear weapons states promised not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are NPT parties. Furthermore, at the summit meeting of the Security Council on 31 January 1992, the Council stated that “the proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction constitutes a threat to international peace and security.” This statement has important legal consequences, since the Security Council is obliged to act to remove threats to the peace.

While disarmament treaties and resolutions provide the legal background for the implementation of disarmament, it is in practice that the reality of international commitments is demonstrated. The actions taken for and against the DPRK make a good case study of how international arms control regimes, especially the nuclear nonproliferation regime, work in practice. The various organizations in the UN system worked together to uphold the NPT, one of the pillars of modern arms control. In addition, a new international organization, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), was established to implement the final settlement. However, the case does reveal that there is a long way to go before a strong international system for compliance is established.


The Case of North Korea: A Descriptive Account

Above all, the cases of Iraq and DPRK have demonstrated the close, prompt and effective liaison and interaction which exists between the IAEA and the UN in accordance with the IAEA Statute and the relationship agreement with the UN. The Security Council has looked to the IAEA as the nuclear inspection arm of the UN system and the Agency has looked to the Council as the body politically responsible for the implementation of nuclear arms control measures.6
                                                             – IAEA Director General Hans Blix to the IAEA General Conference, 1994

The DPRK began a small nuclear research program in 1962 with Soviet assistance. When construction of a more substantial 5 megawatt (MWe) reactor was begun in 1980 (again with Soviet help), a few eyebrows were raised in the West and other parts of the world. The Soviet Union, which had been aligned with the West on nuclear nonproliferation questions through most of the Cold War, applied pressure on the DPRK to become a party to the NPT. The DPRK yielded by signing the treaty on 12 December 1985. Thus began the tug-of-war between the international community and the DPRK over its treaty commitments.

In accordance with Article III of the NPT, the DPRK was required to conclude a safeguards agreement with the IAEA within eighteen months after NPT ratification. Until a safeguards agreement was adopted, inspections could not begin. The DPRK resisted, and an extension of another eighteen-month period was granted by the IAEA Board of Governors. In 1988, after this deadline had passed, the DPRK stipulated that its signature on a safeguards agreement was to be conditional on the removal of the U.S. nuclear armory from South Korea (Republic of Korea, or ROK). In 1990, when the Soviet Union recognized the ROK, the DPRK foreign ministry released a blunt memorandum saying that such recognition would force it to protect itself with nuclear weapons. The DPRK denied it had a nuclear weapons program and continued to insist that it was acting in good faith with its treaty obligations. By making links between its nuclear program and broader issues, however, the DPRK opened the way for the international community to use various carrots and sticks to coax the DPRK into compromise, if not full compliance.

As Soviet foreign policy under Gorbachev moved away from a united communist front and toward internationalism, the DPRK became increasingly isolated. Kim II Sung traveled to China in September 1990 to ask Chinese officials for new economic aid. He was told that China could no longer underwrite North Korea’s stagnant economy.7 This rejection forced the aging dictator to initiate dialogue with the ROK and to look to the rest of the world for trade opportunities. In a conciliatory move designed to abate long-standing communist fears, the South Korean president announced in late 1991 that all U.S. tactical nuclear weapons had been withdrawn from his country.

The two Koreas joined the UN at the same time in late 1991. This event must have been a nightmare for DPRK propagandists, since the nation had fought a bloody war against the “imperialist” UN and had yet to come to a final settlement with this traditional “belligerent” enemy that was perpetuating the artificial division of Korea.

Back in Vienna, the IAEA Board of Governors was still waiting for the DPRK to sign a comprehensive safeguards agreement. The board began to apply pressure by passing a resolution on 12 September 1991 urging the DPRK to sign. The DPRK finally complied on 30 January 1992, almost five years after the original deadline. The situation seemed hopeful, however, since international opinion and pressure appeared to have influenced the behavior of one of a handful of remaining communist regimes and one of the world’s major nuclear proliferation concerns.

The DPRK supplied the IAEA with a declaration of its nuclear materials and facilities, as required in the safeguards agreement. Some facilities previously unknown were listed, but not all the facilities the agency would later declare relevant to the nuclear program were included. The IAEA director-general, Hans Blix, headed a preinspection visit to the Nyongbyon nuclear complex on 11-16 May 1992. The IAEA visitors examined what was found to be a huge reprocessing plant, which was 80 percent complete and which the DPRK had reported as merely a “radiochemical laboratory” (RCL). The plant was already capable of producing small quantities of weapons-grade plutonium from spent fuel removed from the 5 MWe reactor. After further inspections, the IAEA found clear “inconsistencies” between the DPRK’s declaration on reprocessed plutonium and the results of analyses of samples of recovered plutonium, waste uranium, and other re processing wastes. The analyses indicated that there had been more reprocessing campaigns than had been reported to the agency. It appeared that the North Korean officials had deliberately falsified information in their declarations. Furthermore, high-resolution images from U.S. satellites were shown to the board of governors about this time, providing further proof of DPRK noncompliance. When confronted with this photographic evidence at a meeting of the board of governors, the North Korean representatives were visibly disturbed. It is believed that North Korea was relying on two of its nationals within the IAEA secretariat (one of whom was at the high P-4 level) to guide it in its attempt to foil agency inspections. But the international community could now see that U.S. claims of an undeclared nuclear weapons program were now backed up by impartial international determinations.


The NPT Withdrawal Notice of 1993

The IAEA then requested access to two undeclared sites, which were believed to contain nuclear waste products from the clandestine production of plutonium. When the DPRK refused, Director-General Blix, on 11 February 1993, invoked a clause in the safeguards agreement to make an unprecedented request for a “special inspection.” The DPRK challenged the validity of the request, alleging that it was based on evidence given to the IAEA by a particular member (i.e., the United States) and that using such input was not provided for in the safeguards agreement. The DPRK accused the director-general of being a pawn in the hands of the United States and using biased “intelligence information fabricated by the United States. a belligerent party vis-à-vis the DPRK.”8

The IAEA Board of Governors backed the director-general by demanding9 that the DPRK respond “positively and without delay” to the inspection request. The DPRK, seeing itself forced into a corner, then made the dramatic announcement on 12 March 1993 that it was withdrawing from the NPT.10 As reasons, it cited the IAEA demands for special inspections and the joint U.S.-ROK military maneuvers (Team Spirit). Many states questioned the validity of the reasons, i.e., whether these were indeed “extraordinary events [which] jeopardized the supreme interests of the country,” as required by the treaty. However, in accordance with the NPT (Article X), withdrawal was to take effect three months after notice was given to all NPT parties and to the UN Security Council, in this case 12 June 1993.

As the clock was ticking, an alarmed international community engaged in tremendous public and behind-the-scenes activity, under the constant attention of the media. The IAEA board of governors declared on 1 April 1993 that the DPRK was in noncompliance with its safeguards agreement (which was still in effect) and, as required by Article XII.C of the Statute and Article 19 of the safeguards agreement, it reported the matter to the UN Security Council and General Assembly.11 The vote in the board was twenty-eight for, two against (China and Libya), and four abstaining (India, Pakistan, Syria, and Vietnam).

The issue was then formally placed before the UN. The Security Council called on the DPRK “to comply with its Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA as specified by the IAEA Board of Governor’s resolution of 25 February 1993.”12 The document also urged all member states to encourage the DPRK to respond positively. China and Pakistan abstained but there were no negative votes. A DPRK representative at the Council meeting defended his country’s action as a measure required for self-defense. There was no mention or threat of sanctions in the resolution.

Senior-level U.S.-DPRK talks devoted exclusively to the nuclear issue were held at the U.S. mission to the UN in New York from 2 to 11 June. On 11 June, the DPRK announced it had “suspended the effectuation of its withdrawal” from the NPT. This was, no doubt, a positive development, but the DPRK claimed that it still had the right of withdrawal at any moment without giving advance warning. The DPRK also argued that the suspension gave it a “special status,” under which it had the right to determine which parts of the treaty were binding on it. The DPRK insisted that because of this special status, it had the right to nullify the agency’s right to perform special inspections and that the DPRK only needed to maintain the continuity of safeguards already in place. As a result, IAEA inspectors were permitted to carry out some, but not all, of their inspections and only at declared sites.

On 1 November 1993, the UN General Assembly, disregarding the DPRK’S claim of special status, voted 140 to 1 (DPRK), with 9 abstentions, to call on the DPRK to fulfill its NPT obligations. Impatient U.S. senators called on the administration to reintroduce tactical nuclear missiles into the ROK.13

On 21 March 1994, the Board of Governors passed another resolution finding the DPRK to be in further noncompliance, because there were a number of procedures the inspectors were not allowed to perform. Again, the DPRK claimed to have a “special status” that limited the nature of what the inspectors could do. The agency, however, never acknowledged this “special status.”

Tensions increased to a new height when the DPRK shut down the Nyongbyon reactor to unload its core. Refueling was planned for 4 May 1994. U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry told the National Press Club that the spent fuel in the reactor would contain enough plutonium for four to five nuclear bombs.14 The IAEA inspectors were aware that if refueling was completed without samples having been taken, the IAEA would be unable to maintain material accountancy to determine how much plutonium had been extracted in previous campaigns. Blix, in a frantic effort to prevent the refueling, turned to the Security Council. The Council, aware that removal of the fuel had been accelerated, urged the DPRK to preserve evidence required for material accountancy. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher sent a message to Chinese foreign minister Qian Qichan asking Beijing to use its influence to aid in the situation.

If refueling were completed, the agency would be unable to determine how much fuel had been withdrawn in earlier reprocessing campaigns, making it impossible to determine whether or not the DPRK had obtained a substantial amount of unseparated weapons-grade plutonium. Despite strenuous objections, the DPRK proceeded with its shutdown and fuel exchange in the absence of IAEA inspectors. It was against this background that the Clinton administration sought global economic sanctions against the DPRK. Negotiations between the DPRK and the IAEA broke down completely in June 1994. On 10 June, the IAEA played its sole coercive compliance card by withdrawing the one substantial benefit it had to offer: technical assistance. In paragraph 6 of its resolution,15 the Board of Governors “decides, in conformity with the provisions of Article XII.C of the Statute, to suspend non medical assistance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”16 

This was not a great blow to the DPRK or to its nuclear program, but coming at such a sensitive time, it resulted in a swift negative reaction. Three days later, the DPRK withdrew its membership in the IAEA and placed a ban on inspectors in its territory. Two inspectors were, however, allowed to remain for a brief period.

UN Sanctions Considered in 1994

The DPRK realized the potential for sanctions even when it announced its decision to withdraw from the NPT. It accused the United States of “plans to charge the DPRK with ‘non-implementation of the special inspection’ and [to] take the matter to the Security Council of the United Nations so as to impose ‘collective sanctions’ on the DPRK.”17 The DPRK was not unfamiliar with punitive Security Council action, as it had been the target of the UN’s first collective military measures in the Korean War (1950-1953).

By June 1994, the United States was “hell bent,” in the oft-repeated words of the DPRK, on imposing sanctions. On 2 June 1994, the Clinton administration called for global economic sanctions against the DPRK. Included in the first round would be to declare an arms embargo and halt to UN aid (including support for a big industrial project on the Tumen River) and to reduce the size of DPRK foreign missions and the number of nationals in international organizations. The second round, if necessary, would include a ban on financial transactions (including remittances from nationals in Japan) but not a full trade embargo.18 

The United States, Japan, and South Korea issued a joint statement urging the UN to consider sanctions. Russia also supported the sanctions initiative. President Clinton was careful to insist that there was still a way for DPRK to avoid sanctions if it would comply with inspection requests. The Clinton administration also threatened that if the UN did not apply sanctions, the United States would do so on its own or in conjunction with its allies. The government of Japan drafted a ten-point package of sanctions against the DPRK.

The first and most obvious obstacle to passing a sanctions resolution in the Security Council was veto-carrying China. The Security Council statement of 30 May deliberately omitted mention of sanctions in order to ensure the support of China. There were obvious reasons for China’s opposition to sanctions. Sanctions were expected to have a debilitating and potentially destabilizing economic effect on China, especially in the region near the Tumen River. The region sees $300 million in cross-border trade between China and DPRK, part of the $735 million trade between the two countries.19 Sanctions would also have a debilitating effect on South Korea because, despite their official position as enemies, South Korea is the DPRK’s third-largest trading partner.

China’s opposition also came from a fear (shared by South Korea) that a faltering government in Pyongyang could destabilize the entire region. Both China and South Korea were concerned that thousands of people, fleeing a worsening situation in the DPRK, would flood across their borders, causing instability at home. South Korea, however, supported sanctions, despite the hazards.

Despite its strong public stance, Japan also expressed misgivings about sanctions. The DPRK had threatened to mete out a “deserving punishment” if Japan were to support economic sanctions. While the DPRK did not pose a serious military threat to Japan, there are 250,000 people of North Korean descent living in the country-many of them loyal to the Pyongyang regime-creating a very real danger of unrest, organized resistance, and even terrorism.20 

The United States wanted to get Japan to block North Koreans living in Japan from sending money to relatives in the DPRK. It has been estimated that between $600 million and $1.6 billion dollars is sent to the DPRK every year from Japan. Japan would have preferred a UN cover for these actions to avoid taking on the DPRK unilaterally. Another concern was that in the summer of 1994, the DPRK was testing the Rodong 1 missile that had a range of 1,000 kilometers (i.e., within striking distance of major cities in Japan) and could be fitted to carry a nuclear warhead.

As the pressure for Security Council sanctions increased, the threats of unilateral sanctions and military threats also grew in number. The U.S. House of Representatives, for example, voted 415 to 1 on a nonbinding resolution urging sanctions and the rescheduling of the Team Spirit military exercises.

The Agreed Framework

It was at this time of high-stakes confrontation that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrived on the stage with a visit to the DPRK. To the surprise of the Clinton administration, Carter announced on 16 June 1994 that he had come to an understanding with Kim II Sung, claiming that sanctions were not necessary and that perhaps a second Korean War had been avoided.

This provided the impetus for the United States to do an about-face and pursue new possibilities of negotiation. That is, since the stick approach was fraught with difficulties, it would serve U.S. interests to try the carrot.

The United States had made vague offers to the DPRK before. As early as January 1992, officials under President Bush told the DPRK that “North Korea could participate in the Asian economic miracle if it would drop its nuclear ambitions.”21 In November 1993, the United States first mentioned that it might be willing to offer diplomatic and economic concessions in addition to canceling the Team Spirit military exercises. It would agree to this only if the DPRK were willing to cooperate with IAEA inspectors and to resume talks with South Korea over mutual nuclear inspections, as agreed in their 1992 Joint Declaration for the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.22 The United States and the DPRK agreed to start talks on 8 July 1994.

Kim II Sung died three weeks after Jimmy Carter’s announcement. This event delayed both the negotiations for a detailed accord that were to begin the day he died and a proposed DPRK/ROK summit. The world wondered what would be the policy of the new regime. U.S. and DPRK representatives met in Geneva on 5 August for formal negotiations. One week later, an announcement was made that a tentative agreement had been reached on the provision of light-water reactors and diplomatic recognition. No agreement had been made, however, on the safe storage of the fuel rods or with regard to the two sites where the IAEA had been refused access.

A further round of senior-level talks began in Geneva on 23 September. At these talks the DPRK insisted on payment of $2 billion in compensation for discontinuing the nuclear program and insisted that South Korean reactors were unacceptable. This problem also resurfaced later and was eventually resolved when the term American-designed reactors was substituted.

Having seen the effectiveness of a show of military force in getting Haitian dictators to step down the week before, the United States decided to demonstrate that it still carried a big stick. It deployed a battle group to the Sea of Japan. The new commander of the Pacific Fleet said the move was intended to send a message to the DPRK and to boost the U.S. stance in the talks. The State Department denied any connection. North Korea warned that “military threats will never make us give in on our principles,”23 and the talks were suspended until 4 October.

The two chief negotiators in Geneva-Chung Won-shik, the DPRK’S first vice-minister of foreign affairs, and Robert L. Gallucci, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State-were able to reach an agreement on 21 October 1994. To permit both parties to move within the agreement, the document was titled an “Agreed Framework” and was considered by the United States an executive agreement rather than a treaty, since the latter requires the consent (by a two-thirds majority) of the Senate.

The Agreed Framework describes actions to be taken “for the resolution of the [Korean] nuclear issue.” A summary follows:

I. (1) The DPRK’s graphite-moderated reactors will be replaced with light-water reactors (LWR), power plants that pose less of a proliferation risk. The United States will organize a consortium to finance the LWR project (within six months). While the United States is arranging for the supply contract, the IAEA will not be allowed to perform new ad hoc or routine inspections.

   (2) The United States agrees to make arrangements to offset the energy that will be lost as a result of the freezing of the nuclear program. The United States will arrange for the provision of as much as five hundred thousand tons of heavy oil annually.

   (3) The DPRK, once guaranteed the LWR and interim energy alternatives, will freeze its nuclear reactors and related facilities (including the RCL) under supervision of the IAEA. It will only begin to dismantle their reactors when the LWR project is complete. The spent fuel from the 5 MW reactor will be stored safely and disposed of in a manner that does not involve reprocessing in the DPRK.

II. The United States and the DPRK will move towards full normalization of political and economic relations, including the reduction of trade and investment barriers.

III. Both sides will work toward peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. The United States will provide formal assurances against the use of their nuclear weapons.

IV. Both sides will work toward strengthening the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the DPRK will remain a party to that treaty. IAEA inspections are to be limited at sites not subject to the freeze. Only after a significant portion of the LWR is completed may the IAEA conduct special inspections of the two sites to which the DPRK had refused access.24 

The IAEA Board of Governors supported the Agreed Framework in general, although many delegates had reservations about the fact that some inspections would not take place for at least five years. But the director-general of the IAEA, Hans Blix, took an optimistic view: “The US-DPRK Geneva Agreed Framework appears to foresee a vital, prolonged and extensive role for the Agency.”25 

The UN Security Council also gave its approval. In a presidential statement26 on 4 November 1994, it “notes with satisfaction” the Agreed Framework “as a positive step.” The statement further reads: “[The Security Council] also notes the DPRK’S decision to come into full compliance with the IAEA-DPRK Safeguards Agreement. and notes with approval the DPRK decision in the Agreed Framework to freeze its graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities, which is a voluntary measure beyond what is required by the Treaty and the IAEA-DPRK Safeguards Agreement.” The Security Council requested that the IAEA take all steps it might deem necessary as a consequence of the Agreed Framework to monitor the freeze of the specified facilities, noting that verification activities with respect to such a voluntary measure are within the scope of the safeguards agreement.27 

The Agreed Framework was, in the end, a document negotiated between the DPRK and the United States and was viewed as a bilateral agreement between Pyongyang and Washington. But the United States made commitments that required the generosity of others. Only 10-20 percent of the aid is to come directly from the United States. The main providers, the ROK and Japan, together with the United States, created the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization on 9 March 1995. Other nations, including Australia and Canada, also joined the new international organization and made pledges of financial support.

The DPRK is still pushing for more concessions by finding fault with details of the accord. For the time being, however, the Agreed Framework is being implemented. DPRK-KEDO talks are being held to plan the detailed implementation of the accord and to smooth out differences and difficulties. Meanwhile, the IAEA has verified that the DPRK has indeed frozen the relevant parts of its nuclear program.


The Case of North Korea: An Analysis

Evaluating the Deal

The jury is still out on the question of the ultimate success of the Agreed Framework. To succeed, the carrot approach must overcome many challenges. Will the DPRK fulfill its obligations on time? Will it renounce forever its nuclear weapons ambitions and give up any chance of building a clandestine nuclear program? Will the United States be able to keep its consortium together and manage to wrangle out the billions needed to fulfill the promises made in the agreement? Can the DPRK’s appetite for more carrots be satiated?

Only time can supply the answers to these questions. But this new experience in nuclear preventive diplomacy is worthy of detailed study and analysis. There are lessons to be learned about international behavior in the post-Cold War world. It would seem from the DPRK experience (as well as the Haitian one) that offering the carrot while wielding the stick is an effective approach.

And it certainly builds suspense. The United States went to the brink of imposing sanctions but never followed through. There could very well have been a showdown with China in the Security Council on a draft sanctions resolution. The DPRK warned that the imposition of sanctions would be equivalent to a declaration of war. The United States also flexed its military muscle, sending a battalion of Patriot missiles to the ROK and announcing renewed joint U.S.-ROK military exercises. The DPRK declared itself to be in a state of “semi-war.” Then a former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, stepped in at the right time to head off an economic and perhaps military confrontation. A somewhat embarrassed Clinton administration decided to seize the opportunity and begin formal talks. The United States lowered its club and held out the carrot. A wide-ranging agreement was signed promising across-the-board cooperation.

The Clinton administration has received standard condemnation from some quarters about “dealing with the enemy.” Others worry that the negotiating strategy “rewarded bad behavior and encouraged other potential proliferators such as Iran, Algeria, Syria or Libya to do the same.28 Still others are concerned that by agreeing to pursue a bilateral approach the United States had sidelined the international organizations responsible for ensuring compliance (i.e., the IAEA and the Security Council).

These arguments and concerns need to be addressed for the specific case of DPRK, because they are also relevant for any situation in which incentives are offered as a “reward” for promises of treaty compliance. The first point can be easily refuted. The DPRK is hardly an enemy. Rather it is a very isolated state, which only recently joined the UN. It is reasonable to expect that it will gradually open up to outside trade and undergo transformation toward a more open society, as has taken place in most of the former communist world. The attitude toward the DPRK should be more akin to dealing with a violator of an international treaty. Firm but considered treatment is called for.

The second concern, of rewarding bad behavior, is a more serious one. In the real world of international politics, deals that are struck are never ideal. It would have been best if the DPRK had unilaterally renounced the nuclear option. On the grounds of international law, however, no one could deny the DPRK its sovereign right to withdraw from the NPT. Neither could the nation be legally prohibited from developing nuclear weapons once it had withdrawn. Offering rewards to the DPRK for good behavior was a realistic route to heading off a major proliferation problem. This does mean that the international community will have to be careful not to allow Iran, Syria, or Libya to come to the point where they could withdraw from the NPT regime, as the DPRK threatened, with a nuclear weapons program well in progress. However, these other potential proliferators are in no way guaranteed to receive the benefits given the DPRK. Rather, the ominous stick waved at the DPRK could be applied in their case. The Arab states have only to look at the Iraqi experience to see how such a stick has been used.

Is it wise to send mixed signals? Should the carrot and the stick be used simultaneously? The breakthrough occurred at the point when the United States was seriously working for sanctions in the Security Council. One could argue that the United States made a clever use of the carrot and the stick in its bargaining strategy: President Clinton offered both economic and diplomatic sticks and carrots. At all times, the Pentagon was weighing options for strengthening the U.S. military presence in South Korea.

The last concern, that the United States sidelined the responsible international organizations, is worthy of detailed consideration. It may be that it was inevitable. The DPRK insisted that the “nuclear problem” could be solved only through DPRK-U.S. talks.29 The United States assumed a great responsibility in coordinating funding between reluctant suppliers and a finicky receiver. It required the clout of a superpower to ask the ROK and Japan to supply the billions required to buy peace. The United States also had the oil to act as a lubricant, so to speak, to make the deal work. The DPRK wanted to make absolutely sure that it would not lose out economically by freezing what was its nuclear power program as well as its nuclear weapons program.

The question to ask is, if not the United States, then who? It could be argued that if the United States had not been willing, the IAEA could have been given the leadership role (perhaps through the person of its director-general) throughout the negotiations, instead of just in the early stages. In such a case, it would have been unrealistic for the DPRK to attempt to bargain for such a favorable deal from a poorer IAEA. It might very well have settled for less. In May 1992, at the time of the IAEA’s initial inspections, the DPRK made it clear to the director-general that it would be willing to consider giving up part of its nuclear program for foreign nuclear assistance. The IAEA was willing to consider this avenue; its press release dated 15 May 1992 states that “another route to nuclear power is being considered, consisting of light water reactor technology and enriched uranium fuel, if a secure supply can be obtained.”30 But this promising avenue was not explored by the IAEA since the DPRK insisted in dealing only with the United States, which of course had more to offer. (Besides, the IAEA was, according to the DPRK, just a pawn of the United States.)

Had the IAEA pursued negotiations with the DPRK, it is possible, but not certain, that it could have made offers of aid, but it is unlikely that it would have been anywhere as large as that offered by the United States. Any large aid packages would have required careful and close coordination with the primary donor countries (the ROK and Japan), and the United States was in a better position to maintain such coordination and leadership in the negotiations. The United States was also in a better position to offer incentives itself. The IAEA’s ability to offer a valuable carrot or wield a threatening stick on its own is rather unsubstantial. Its only real stick would be to cut off the technical assistance it provides. This, however, was not a significant threat to the DPRK. Furthermore, the IAEA statute, unlike the later Chemical Weapons Convention, does not include provisions for the IAEA board to recommend that states undertake sanctions against violators. The statute only provides that the IAEA may report noncompliance to members of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly.

In the Security Council, it is doubtful that without U.S. leadership any sanctions would have been imposed. However, even with strong U.S. leadership, it is quite possible that a sanctions resolution would have been vetoed.

It is impossible to judge the likelihood of success of an alternative and imaginary scenario, such as the one in which leadership was provided by such international organizations as the UN and the IAEA. The IAEA played the lead role only up to the point of U.S.-DPRK talks, and the UN role was only supportive. After that, its influence waned. Privately, IAEA delegates and staff had some misgivings. They were unhappy that IAEA inspectors were barred for possibly five years or more from carrying out their full inspection mandate as well as special inspections they had sought. Nevertheless, that was the concession they were called upon to make in the final bargain.

The UN would have been the center for a political storm had the other compliance route (sanctions and military strikes) been taken. In the end, both the UN and the IAEA endorsed the settlement.

The Motives of the DPRK

To choose between the carrot and stick approaches, an understanding of what motivates the target country is essential. This means ascertaining not only the country’s reasons for noncompliance but also determining what would constitute useful inducements and punishments. As it turns out, the motives that led the DPRK to initiate a nuclear weapons program are the same as those that allowed it to be receptive to the carrots and sticks that seemed to have made them cease their noncompliance. These were security, economic, and political concerns.

Security concerns. First and foremost, it was security concerns that prompted the DPRK leadership to develop nuclear weapons technology. The Korean War has ended, but there is still a tense standoff along the 150-mile demilitarized zone. The United States has heightened this security concern by posing a nuclear threat and engaging in Team Spirit military maneuvers.

Alexandre Mansourov suggests four security concerns that prompted Kim Il Sung to embark on his nuclear program:31

1. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had an indelible impact on the dictator as a young man. He fought the Japanese for fifteen years and lost on every occasion. The United States, however, seemed to have defeated the Japanese with just two bombs.

2. Kim Il Sung realized how seriously the United States had considered using nuclear weapons against the DPRK in the Korean War.

3. Kim Il Sung felt that the Soviet Union had abandoned Cuba in the Cuban missile crisis and felt the DPRK had to defend itself; this point was reinforced when the Soviets recognized the ROK in 1990.

4. In the 1970s, the DPRK discovered that the ROK was developing a nuclear weapons capability. The United States managed to persuade South Korea to abandon this program, but only by introducing tactical nuclear weapons to the ROK and initiating the Team Spirit military exercises.

The most obvious carrot to offer under these circumstances would be one that addresses the security concerns. Andrew Mack has been arguing for years that the United States should offer a package that addresses security concerns rather than economic problems. He suggests that the United States offer “an unconditional US commitment that it would not use nuclear weapons against the North. permanent cancellation of the provocative Team Spirit exercises; and a unilateral and verifiable commitment by the South that it would not seek to acquire an offensive military superiority over the North.”32 This carrot was offered in the first Geneva talks in June 1993 as a result of the DPRK threat to pull out of the NPT. The United States pledged not to use or threaten use of nuclear weapons against the DPRK. This was also incorporated into the Agreed Framework.

The Russian foreign intelligence service believes that by the time of the first IAEA inspection in May 1992, the DPRK government had already decided to abandon the military part of the nuclear program due to economic, financial, and scientific problems.33 Abandoned or not, the threat of future nuclear capability was real, and Kim II Sung became interested in what concessions he could get for this nuclear program. Nuclear weapons would give the DPRK considerable leverage in negotiations. They would make the DPRK the only power in the region, other than China, to possess the “ultimate” weapons. But there is evidence that the DPRK’s chief motivations after the end of the Cold War were driven not by military factors but by economic ones.

Economic factors. The DPRK wanted to have a secure energy source. A nuclear energy program offered such a possibility. When the DPRK was considering abandoning its nuclear program, it sought compensation. The alternative of the LWRs was appealing because they would produce a great deal more power (a total of 2,000 MWe) than the graphite-moderated reactors (5, 50, and 200 MWe reactors in construction). The DPRK suggested this swap of reactors when Hans Blix was in the DPRK on the IAEA’S preinspection visit in May 1992. LWRs were offered in the second round of high-level U.S.-DPRK talks in Geneva in 1993 and became the focus of the Agreed Framework.

Another motivation was general economic assistance. Kim II Sung traveled to China in September 1990 to ask Chinese officials for new economic aid and was refused assistance. This rejection forced the elderly dictator to begin mending fences with the ROK and to look to the rest of the world for trade opportunities. Large-scale economic assistance was offered in the Agreed Framework.

It is ironic, however, that the economic assistance so eagerly sought by the communist regime may possibly be the cause of its downfall. Western aid would bring with it information about life outside North Korea. Foreign goods would raise the standard of living. Of particular concern was any assistance from South Korea. In 1995, the DPRK walked out of bilateral negotiations in Berlin when the United States insisted that the light water reactors be of South Korean design. The DPRK negotiators said that the design was “untested and unsafe.” It is more likely, however, that the real reason is pride, as well as fear that the people of the DPRK would see evidence that the ROK was technologically superior. “In the process, they would discover that they had been systematically lied to for decades.”34 

Political normalization. The DPRK, like many countries, wanted to command greater respect from the international community. Nuclear weapons would provide such power. With nuclear weapons, the DPRK could stand shoulder to shoulder with more powerful nations. Any replacement for nuclear weapons would have to increase the country’s political stance in a world in which it was becoming increasingly isolated. An important carrot for the DPRK was diplomatic recognition from the United States and other countries. Besides, this might also serve to hamper the good relations between the United States and the ROK.

The negotiations themselves gave the DPRK some credibility. The United States was acknowledging that it considered the DPRK worthy of its concentrated attention. This gave the Kim regime legitimacy as a significant regional power.

By the time the decision was made to withdraw from the NPT, the DPRK had decided that it wanted to negotiate with the United States alone, In addressing the UN General Assembly on 1 November 1993, the representative for the DPRK stated, “The lesson we have learned after all our efforts to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula proves that talks between the DPRK and the United States are the only way to resolve the issue, in view of its origin as well as its political and military character. Because of their unfair acts, the IAEA Secretariat and the Board of Governors are no longer qualified to deal with our nuclear issue.” In the Agreed Framework, the two sides agreed to “move toward full normalization of political and economic relations.” This included, as a first step, the opening of liaison offices.

In contrast to the many incentives, how were the two threats (military attack and sanctions) viewed by the DPRK? The DPRK probably knew that there were many problems for the West associated with both. It was doubtful that the United States, for domestic and international reasons, could commit itself to a war. Similarly, it would have had difficulties applying meaningful sanctions against the DPRK. Because of its isolation, the DPRK was fairly well protected from these outside pressures. Andrew Mack wrote, “the Kim regime may well believe, and with good reason, that it can survive sanctions without either too much hardship or political cost to itself-at least for as long as it takes to build a modest arsenal of nuclear weapons.”35 There was so little contact with the outside world and the regime was so in control of all aspects of the lives of its populace that nations were concerned that sanctions would have little effect. The DPRK is dedicated to a policy known as Juche, which is based on the cult of personality of Kim II Sung and his son Kim Jong II and the belief that the DPRK can be completely self-sufficient. Recent experience with sanctions in Iraq and Libya only underscored the notion that centralized regimes can withstand sanctions for considerable lengths of time. Given the valid concerns over the use of sanctions, one has to wonder if sanctions were considered a feasible stick, at least in the short term. By contrast, once the DPRK had bitten into the large carrot and had become dependent on the bountiful incentives, it would be possible to exert control by managing and even denying these benefits, were compliance not forthcoming.

The Compliance Ladder

The DPRK story exemplifies an important process: the typical progression of steps to promote and ensure treaty compliance. This “compliance ladder” is illustrated schematically in Figure 1 (see pdf version of paper). At the first stage (bottom rung of the ladder), the DPRK was encouraged to assume the obligations of the NPT by signing the treaty in 1985. Even if the DPRK had not signed the treaty, there exist widely accepted norms of behavior that would have constrained the DPRK, at least to the extent that it would have had to keep its nuclear weapons program secret. Once the treaty was signed, enforcement was much easier from the legal point of view. Gradually mounting international pressure was brought to bear on the DPRK to sign a safeguards agreement and thus allow international inspections.36 After six years and much coaxing, such an agreement was signed and the required declarations regarding nuclear materials and equipment were made. The first few IAEA inspections in 1992 revealed “inconsistencies” between the DPRK’s declarations and the results of samples taken. IAEA requests for access to additional material and sites were denied repeatedly. The director-general engaged in several months of diplomacy to gain access, but discussions with the DPRK minister of atomic energy floundered. The director-general threatened to inform the Board of Governors of DPRK “noncompliance” with its safeguards agreement on 19 March 1993 and, upon receiving a negative reply, followed through with his threat. The Board of Governors confirmed the judgment and, in accordance with the IAEA Statute, informed UN members on 1 April 1993.37 This sort of international judgment is an important step in the compliance ladder because it forms the basis for subsequent concerted international action.

Treaty Compliance Ladder

The Security Council and the General Assembly passed resolutions expressing “concern” regarding DPRK noncompliance and urged the DPRK to comply. In DPRK-U.S. negotiations, some carrots were extended, but when talks bogged down in late 1993, the United States threatened sanctions. As the DPRK began removing materials from the reactor in May 1994, thus jeopardizing any chance to accurately quantify the diversion of plutonium, the United States became firm in its call for global economic sanctions. This meant climbing up one branch of the compliance ladder. The IAEA withdrew technical aid to the DPRK on 10 June 1994. The DPRK responded three days later by withdrawing from the agency. The call for global sanctions and military action heightened.

Many obstacles were foreseen in the passage and implementation of such sanctions. No one could be sure how the DPRK would respond. Once the confrontational route had been taken there was a real possibility, based on DPRK statements, that a standoff could result in war. Therefore, in light of the encouraging results of the Carter visit, the United States shifted emphasis from sanctions and military buildup to diplomacy and incentives. This meant climbing down the sanctions branch of the compliance ladder and proceeding up the incentives branch, even though the threat of the former approach remained. The Agreed Framework included bountiful incentives.

As matters now stand, the United States is firmly committed to pursuing the peaceful cooperative route, in spite of an obstinate attitude on the part of the DPRK. The United States has incurred the burden of having occasionally to “sweeten the pot” as well as keep its allies (who are paying the greatest share) on its side. This is the burden of leadership.

The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization was the consortium created to make good on the U.S. pledges in the Agreed Framework. The need for KEDO, considered an international organization under international law, shows that even after the Cold War, the lone superpower needs a multilateral framework. While the DPRK insisted in negotiations on dealing only with the United States, this was not possible in the implementation. The contributors to the incentive program needed to have their say (“no taxation without representation”). KEDO allows disputes among parties as well as with the DPRK to be settled in negotiations. It also has the benefit that it allows officials from the ROK and the DPRK to sit at the same negotiating table.

With an enormous flow of aid and assistance pouring into the DPRK through KEDO, the communist country will be unable to continue in its “splendid” isolation. Even if its leaders attempt to claim all the credit for the unprecedented influx of goods, the people are bound to gain more exposure to the outside world. Indeed, the DPRK will likely become dependent on this aid. As KEDO responds to the needs, if not the requests, of the DPRK, it will be in position to exert influence on the DPRK in much the same way as the carrot holder gains influence over the donkey. This new exposure and outside influence will be healthy for the DPRK. It may even lead to the peaceful unification of Korea. Just as the East German leaders were compelled to recognize the forces of change, leading to the rapid and unexpected fall of the Berlin Wall, the DPRK leaders could in time find themselves unable to prevent the momentum toward reunification. Indeed, the ROK recognized that the price for a nuclear deal was steep, but given the hopes for reunification, the deal was an investment in its own future. Eventually, perhaps, the reactors would provide power to their own united Korea.

The alternative to the carrot is the stick. While sanctions are a mild form of the stick, some U.S. politicians called for the heavy stick of military measures. But that route is fraught with danger. Once a definitive threat is made, the threateners may find themselves forced to carry out the threat. If they cannot, they merely bluff-and suffer a loss of credibility. And if force is used as threatened, the outcome is almost always undesirable. Military measures rouse great and lasting animosity, risk escalating the situation, and lead to none of the long-term benefits of cooperation. The cardinal rule is that force should be used only as a last resort, after all other avenues have been pursued. This rule was maintained in the North Korean case, to the dismay of some right-wing U.S. politicians but to the benefit of international law and humanity.


 While there are few communist dictatorships left in the world, one can be sure that there are many states that will in the future seek to violate international law and challenge international resolve. Violations will certainly extend to developing prohibited weaponry. The DPRK experience may be the first of many similar cases.

One must wonder, however, if the United States will always be able and willing to conduct bilateral negotiations and come to a bilateral settlement. Will the lone superpower be willing to create the large carrot? We cannot take this for granted. Multilateral mechanisms must be strengthened. Current international organizations should be given greater capacity to offer incentives (carrots) and implement multilateral sanctions regimes (sticks). Perhaps the time has come to return to the comprehensive and collective system referred to in the UN Charter. We must begin to build the international institutions that will carry us safely through the twenty-first century.


Walter Dorn is a fellow with the lgnatieff Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto and senior research officer of Science for Peace, a Canadian NGO devoted to promoting a just and sustainable world. Andrew Fulton is a graduate of the Peace and Conflict Studies Programme at the University of Toronto.



1. A review of the structures and functions is provided in table form in A. Walter Dorn and Ann Rolya, “The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the IAEA: A Comparative Overview,” IAEA Bulletin 3 (1993): 44.

2. Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Article XII.C.

3. See A. Walter Dorn and Douglas Scott, “The Compliance Provisions in the Chemical Weapons Convention: A Summary and Analysis,” Occasional Paper no. 2, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Programme for Strategic and International Studies (PSIS), Geneva, 1995.

4. Article VIII:36, Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

5. Article XII, CWC.

6. Statement to the thirty-eighth session of the general conference, cited in Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Newsbrief No. 27 (Southampton, U.K.: third quarter 1994), p. 29.

7. “Friendless in North Korea,” Globe and Mail, 1 January 1992, p. Al0.

8. Statement of the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 12 March 1993, attached as Annex 7, IAEA Doc. INFCIRC/419.

9. In Resolution GOV/2636, 25 February 1993.

10. Statement of the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 12 March 1993, included as Annex 7, IAEA Doc, INFCIRC/419.

11. BOG Resolution GOV/2645, 1 April 1993.

12. Security Council Resolution 825(1993), 11 May 1993.

13. Andrew Mack, “A Nuclear North Korea: The Choices Are Narrowing,” World Policy Journal 11, no. 2 (summer l994):27-35.

14. David Albright, “How Much Plutonium Does North Korea Have?” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (September-October 1994): 48.

15. Board Resolution GOV/2742, 10 June 1994.

16. IAEA Doc. GOV/2742, 10 June 1994.

17. Statement of the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” 12 March 1993, attached to IAEA Doc. INFCIRC/419 as Annex 7.

18. Paul Lewis, “UN Sanctions Would Ban Arms Trade with North,” New York Times, 16 June 1994, p. A12.

19. Patrick E. Tyler, “Hole in the Wall Around North Korea,” New York Times, 27 June 1994, p. A4.

20. The DPRK had sponsored terrorist activities in the past, including assassinating South Korean cabinet ministers and blowing up a Korean Air Lines passenger jet.

21. Robert S. Greenberger, “Shattered Hopes,” Wall Street Journal, 8 June 1994, p. Al.

22. R. Jeffrey Smith, “US Weighs N. Korean Incentives,” Washington Post, 17 November 1993. A copy of the joint declaration and the “Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-Aggression and Exchanges and Cooperation Between the South and the North” can be found in UN Doc. CD/1147, 15 March 1992.

23. “US Warships Sail off North Korea. State Dept. Denies Any Link with Talks,” Washington Times, 23 September 1994.

24. The Agreed Framework is summarized in the Newsbrief of the Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation 28:4. A Confidential Minute to the Agreed Framework was also signed, but its contents have been kept secret.

25. IAEA press release 94/45, 20 October 1994.

26. UN Doc. S/PRST/i994/64, 4 November 1994.

27. Security Council press release SC/5930, 4 November 1994.

28. “2 Experts Rap Clinton for Faith in N. Korea,” Washington Times, 19 July 1994.

29. INFCIRC/422, 19 October 1993, p. 2. It is ironic, however, that the DPRK would often use the IAEA as a medium to convey their demands to the United States and the UN.

30. IAEA press release 92/25, 15 May 1992.

31. Alexandre Mansourov, “The Origins, Evolution and Future of the North Korea Nuclear Program,” Korea and World Affairs 19, no. 1 (spring 1995):40-66.

32. Mack, “A Nuclear North Korea,” p. 34.

33. Mansourov, “The Origins, Evolution and Future of the North Korea Nuclear Program,” p. 66.

34. Mack, “A Nuclear North Korea,” p. 32.

35. Ibid.

36. The IAEA does not verify the NPT; rather, it verifies only one aspect of the commitment made under the NPT – the nondiversion of declared materials from peaceful purposes. This is an essential prerequisite of treaty verification but not a comprehensive undertaking.

37. An extensive official account of the developments up to this point are given in the IAEA director-general’s report, IAEA Doc. INFCIRC/419, 8 April 1993. This report was also reproduced in UN Docs. A/48/l33 and S/25556, 12 April 1993. The report includes twelve annexes, including relevant IAEA resolutions and the correspondence with the DPRK.


U.N. Should Verify Treaties


A. Walter Dorn
This article was written in 1990 but the proposal to develop a UN verification capability for disarmament is as relevant as ever. Originally published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 46, No. 6, July/August 1990, pp.13–14. (pdf)



A verification agency under U.N. auspices can be flexible and will make treaty implementation quicker and cheaper.

The U.N. role in arms control has traditionally been confined to discussion and negotiation. But as disarmament prospects brighten and proposals multiply, many members feel it is time for the United Nations to play a more active part by creating a U.N. system to verify treaties. Proponents include the Soviet Union, which has said that the United Nations needs an agency that can employ sophisticated tools, including a satellite monitoring capability and a worldwide system of seismic stations. The United States, in opposing a U.N. agency, has stressed that new treaties require specific sets of verification measures that an agency is unlikely to anticipate.

In 1988, members of the “Six-Nation Initiative”—Argentina, Greece, India, Mexico, Sweden, and Tanzania—proposed that the General Assembly commission a report outlining a U.N. verification system. This proposal was merged with another resolution drafted by Canada, France, and the Netherlands. The result was a final resolution asking the secretary-general to prepare a comprehensive report on the role of the United Nations in verification. The secretary-general’s study, which is being undertaken with the assistance of governmental experts from 20 countries, is due at the General Assembly’s fall session. Although most members favor the creation of a U.N. verification arm, whether the secretary-general’s report will make an outright recommendation is unclear. The report is expected to reflect many of the arguments that have been made during the long debate at the United Nations over verification of arms control agreements.

In 1946, the United States proposed the Baruch plan for the control of atomic energy. This plan would have created a powerful control agency. The Soviet Union rejected the Baruch proposal, interpreting it as a means of assuring that the United States would retain its nuclear-weapon monopoly.

For nearly twenty years, disarmament negotiations remained deadlocked. The East charged that the West wanted “control without disarmament,” and the West charged that the East wanted “disarmament without control.” The United States was unwilling to disarm without a system that could detect and punish violators, but the Soviets were unwilling to allow inspection of their secret military installations until after disarmament was finished. The Soviets wanted only verification of disarmament, regarding monitoring of existing armaments as legalized espionage. But the United States considered monitoring essential in order to check that accepted limits were not exceeded.

In a dramatic policy reversal, the Soviet Union has now accepted intrusive and wide-ranging international inspections—in some cases even before disarmament negotiations are completed. And at the Third U.N. Special Session on Disarmament in 1988, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze proposed the creation of an “international monitoring and verification agency” under U.N. auspices. He suggested that a “multilateral center to assist in verification” be established under the secretary-general for “rendering assistance in verification matters to the parties of bilateral and regional agreements.” During the 1988 regular session, he cited “the acute need for new mechanisms of verification and control,” including a worldwide seismic monitoring system and an international satellite monitoring agency.

The United States, on the other hand, now opposes a U.N. verification agency. It cast the single negative vote against the resolution initiating the secretary-general’s study and expressed the view that verification must be developed and agreed to by negotiating parties. The United States “did not see how the Secretary-General could undertake an in-depth study of the role of the United Nations in the field of verification in the abstract, in the absence of any parameters that specific agreements might provide for such a role in individual cases.”1 Although the United Kingdom expressed the same view, it supported the resolution, declaring that a study of verification issues would nonetheless be useful.

Canada, the main driving force behind the development of verification resolutions in the General Assembly, has taken a progressive but cautious approach. Canada has sought a variety of verification measures short of a comprehensive agency, and has expressed the view that separate verification organizations created under different treaties might serve as stepping stones to the development of a single agency. Most NATO countries and Japan hold similarly cautious views.

Nearly all other member nations support U.N.-sponsored verification. The heads of state of 102 nonaligned nations recently endorsed the “establishment of an integrated multilateral verification system” within the framework of the United Nations.2

An effective U.N. verification agency would offer a number of advantages:

  • Speed in treaty implementation. If international expertise is available before a treaty is signed, a verification system can be in place when most needed-when the treaty is first implemented. A frequently cited example is the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safeguards system, which was in place before the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed; the safeguards system was quickly extended to cover the treaty. Similarly, an existing agency could not only hasten treaty implementation, but agency experts might also be able to assist negotiators in drafting specific provisions.
  • Cost.An agency that verifies a number of treaties can save costs by sharing many scientific, technical, and administrative resources. Since satellite data would be used to verify a number of treaties, the agency could employ a single team of expert image- and photo-interpreters.3 Since verification costs would be spread over a longer time period, an existing agency might also flatten the “funding bubble” that treaties can create-the extraordinary costs incurred at the beginning of disarmament, when weapons are destroyed and verification begins. Much of the cost of personnel and institutional machinery involved in negotiating and maintaining a new agency for each treaty would also be eliminated.
  • Protection of intelligence gathering. A nation that obtains evidence of a treaty violation or suspicious activity may not wish to reveal its intelligence sources, although it may want the matter investigated by an objective body. If a U.N. agency investigated possible acts of noncompliance on request, the requesting state would not have to reveal the details of its sources or its “national technical means,” such as secret satellite monitoring methods.
  • Confidence.The many peace-keeping and peace-making functions entrusted to the United Nations demonstrate that the nations of the world have confidence in the impartiality and objectivity of the secretary-general and the U.N. Secretariat. A verification agency would allow nations with little experience or expertise to exercise their right to know if other parties to a treaty are in compliance. By involving the United Nations in verification, a civilian role would be assured.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold urged that any agency overseeing multilateral disarmament be part of the United Nations. Otherwise, he said, there would be “a hollowing out of the U.N. of one of its main fields of activity.”4

A number of existing multilateral treaties contain no effective verification provisions. These include the 1925 Geneva Protocol banning the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons, the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, the 1971 Sea-Bed Treaty (which prohibits placing nuclear weapons on the ocean floor), and the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. A chemical weapons convention, a comprehensive test ban, and other anticipated arms limitation and disarmament agreements ‘will require international verification. Future nuclear-weapon-free and demilitarized zones could benefit from a U.N. verification agency, and nations undertaking unilateral disarmament measures might request that the agency confirm their actions. If it were appropriate, the activities of the agency could also be expanded to include verification of cease-fire agreements, assistance with peace-keeping operations, and implementation of a global open skies plan.

Opponents of a U.N. verification agency argue that specific measures must be designed by the parties to each treaty. But the agency would have sufficient flexibility to respond to all requests by the negotiating parties. It could have separate divisions to develop special expertise covering the provisions of individual treaties. Each treaty would still be overseen by its own parties, who could meet regularly with agency officials to discuss compliance. The costs for each treaty-specific division could be borne by the parties to the treaty, while the overhead costs of the agency would be a part of U.N. membership fees.

Treaty compliance is the most sensitive issue in arms control. A U.N. agency need not automatically be given authority to evaluate compliance; decisions based on agency fact-finding could potentially be made at any level-an executive council of states overseeing the treaty, the agency’s director, or the secretary-general, or by each party individually. However, the agency should at least be able to express an opinion or make recommendations, since the agency’s scientists and staff would probably be regarded as the most objective judges of the facts when a treaty violation is suspected.

A U.N. verification agency could meet the demand for effective multilateral arms control in coming decades. While bilateral agreements between the superpowers may continue to be based on adversarial inspection and surveillance, regional and global treaties require a strong multilateral framework for verification. The secretary-general has recently been given a mandate to develop a verification capability for the Geneva Protocol, which might be an appropriate first task for the agency.

A U.N. verification agency is the best means to develop an effective, treaty-specific, flexible, and objective system of multilateral verification, one which avoids wasteful duplication and can grow over time. The secretary-general’s report should encourage the evolution of such an agency and lay the foundation for a vital U.N. contribution to progressive disarmament and a safer world.



1. United Nations Disarmament Yearbook 1988 (New York: United Nations, 1989), p. 368.

2. Final documents of the Ninth Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, Belgrade, September 1989.

3. A. Walter Dorn, “Peace-keeping Satellites: The Case for International Surveillance and Verification, Peace Research Reviews, vol. 10 No. 5 & 6, (May/June, 1987).

4. Brian Urquhart, Hammarskjold (New York: Knopf, 1972), p. 325.


A Walter Dorn is the U.N. representative of Science far Peace, a Canadian non-governmental organization. A longer version of this article will be published as a Working Paper by the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security.

The United Nations in the Twenty-first Century: A Vision for an Evolving World Order


A Vision for an Evolving World Order


Originally published in Dorn, A. Walter, ed., World Order for a New Millennium (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), pp. 118-135.


How should we organize ourselves, as a human race, as a human family, at the highest level of governance—that is, on the level of nations, on the global level? How can we move towards a better world, a world that can provide greater peace and justice for all people in the twenty-first century and beyond? These are the grand issues I attempt to address in this chapter.


There are many lessons that we can learn from the successes and failures, the gains and the follies of the present century as we step into the next one. The twentieth century has witnessed two world wars and unprecedented destruction; it is our moral, even sacred duty to make sure that no such global horrors happen again. The gradual evolution of world order and international institutions must serve as the basis of our hope and our vision.

Immediately after the First World War, the leading nations of the world, led by President Woodrow Wilson of the United States, decided that there needed to be new rules to help prevent nations from going to war and that there needed to be a forum in which to discuss all matters of international importance so that collective action could be taken to maintain peace. So the League of Nations was created in 1920. President Wilson wanted America to be the progressive leader of the League, but that was not to be. The great treaty debate of 1919-20 in the U.S. Senate showed very clearly the difference between broad-minded internationalism and narrow-minded nationalism. A band of conservative and crafty Republican senators prevented the United States from joining the League. The isolationists asked why America should be concerned if the European or Asian powers fought. The United States had, they argued, two oceans to fully protect it from harm. (The attack on Pearl Harbor certainly proved this theory to be erroneous.) Some senators, working for partisan gain and unwilling to directly confront the League ideal, called for amendments and reservations to the League Covenant, something that would have required the renegotiation of the entire treaty, which was clearly impossible. President Wilson made an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to “go to Caesar” (his term for the American people) but suffered a stroke during the grueling cross-country tour. In one of his final speeches of the voyage, he predicted that unless there was a concerted effort to support the League, another war, of greater intensity, fought with more powerful weapons—ones that would make the World War I weapons look like “toys,” he said—would once again consume the youth of the world.

Since there was no leadership from America and little dedication to the ideals of the League on the part of the major European powers (who were mostly colonial powers), and since Japan was bent on its aggrandizement, the League was unable to halt the slide to World War II during the 1930s. As Wilson foresaw, a greater war fell upon humankind. As he also predicted, a new attempt was made to renew and rebuild international organization in the wake of this terrible destruction.

Near the end of the Second World War, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, who had supported Wilson in his fight for the League of Nations some 25 years earlier, was able to put into place a stronger, greater organization, the United Nations, with the United States playing the leading role after the war. The Senate, realizing its former mistake, voted overwhelmingly in a bipartisan fashion and without reservations for U.S. membership in the UN.

However, in recent decades conservative elements in the U.S. Congress have once again raised their “America-first” attitude and turned a cold shoulder to the UN, refusing even to pay America’s dues in full or on time. They made it clear that America would act for her own ends, not necessarily according to international law. This unilateralism of the 1980s and the isolationism of the 1920s, in fact, are two sides of the same coin. Both come from an unfortunate, narrow and self-centered attitude that is very unhealthy, not only for international order but also for the United States itself.

As fate would have it, while the United States under Reagan was turning against the UN, the Soviet Union under Gorbachev became a strong proponent of the international organization. It was because of Gorbachev’s enlightened attitude that the Cold War came to a close in the second half of the l980s and that the UN could settle many conflicts.

The West greeted the new Soviet approach to the UN after Gorbachev’s arrival with skepticism. The superpower policies virtually reversed themselves from the 1950s to the 1980s. Concepts that the United States had advocated in the 1950s and 1960s, such as a UN disarmament organization and a stronger UN Secretariat, were being boldly championed by Gorbachev’s Russia and coldly rejected by Reagan’s America. While the United States did not actively seek to undermine the UN, and thus allowed it to realize a remarkable number of achievements, it did not seek the UN’s enhancement either. For over ten years, the UN has been struggling against financial hardships imposed largely by the United States.

At the end of the Cold War, the leading nations, particularly the United States, missed many opportunities to build a stronger UN and to create a foundation for peace in the coming century. The West talked of preventive diplomacy but did nothing to strengthen the UN machinery for such creative initiatives. As the UN’s sphere of responsibility increased, it didn’t expand the structure of the United Nations or give its Secretary-General more resources. Furthermore, the United States certainly didn’t help the East bloc nations, especially Gorbachev’s Russia, with the kind of generosity that it had helped the defeated powers after the Second World War (for example, with the Marshall Plan). The “new world order’ a phrase used by President Bush, was just the same old world order except that instead of two superpowers there was now only one. Granted, the end of the Cold War made many things possible, but it still left many things undone and new challenges unmet.

To summarize our brief sweep through history in this century: After the First World War, we made progress by creating the League of Nations. After the Second World War, we made a further step by establishing the United Nations. But after the end of the Cold War, which consumed as much resources and finances as each of the previous two world wars (of course, over a time period about ten times longer), we simply relied on the institutions we had, without strengthening them. In short, there was a lack of forward-looking international leadership. Historians may well look back on this period as a time of missed opportunities.

The great people of the past, like George Washington, were those who built nations and national law and order, and the great persons of the future will be those who build international institutions and international law and order. However, very few such leaders have stepped forward—Mikhail Gorbachev being the most recent example. Progressive individuals and nations must now forge ties to move ahead on reforms without having to wait for the sole remaining superpower to take the lead.



A person’s vision of future progress depends a great deal on how far he or she is willing to look ahead. Many people, especially government representatives, reject good proposals because they cannot be implemented today. But if we dare to look beyond our present mandates, beyond our terms of office and even beyond our own lifetimes, there are new vistas to explore. The road to world peace and order may be long (perhaps endless!) and arduous, but progress is achieved with modest steps. With a long-term vision, we can, at least, the direction in which we want to go and the steps to be taken. Here, we aim for a world of greater peace, harmony and justice. The United Nations, in spite of all its shortcomings and limitations, is still the best avenue for progress towards such a world.

Let us explore the future in three steps: the short term (5 years), the medium term (25 years) and the long term (50 years and examine beyond). Table 1 summarizes the current status of the UN system and the envisioned developments. These ideas for UN reform, many of them originally proposed by others, are placed into a chronological framework that gives some idea of how far down the line their implementation might be. Obviously the more far-reaching proposals will take longer to become reality and progress must be evolutionary. I concentrate on the principal organs of the UN: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice and the Secretariat.

Table 1: Reforming the UN System: Proposals and Predictions

Current Status (1999)

General Assembly (GA): 185 member states; majority voting

Security Council (SC):15 member states; 5 permanent (with veto)

Secretariat (Sec):approx. 10,000 international civil servants headed by the UN Secretary-General (SG)

International Court of Justice (ICJ): 15 judges; only states have standing

New International Bodies (IOs):World Trade Organization (WTO), Global Environment Facility (GEF), Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Comprehensive (Nuclear) Test Ban Treaty Organization, International Criminal Tribunals (Yugoslavia and Rwanda)

Military:ad hoc national contingents in peace-keeping forces

Next 5 Years

GA: membership increases to 190 (e.g., Switzerland, East Timor)

SC:membership increases to 20-22 through Charter amendment (Germany/EU, Japan & 3-5 developing countries, e.g., India, Brazil, South Africa and/or rotating seats; no new veto rights); more refined sanction system (“Smart sanctions”)

Sec:SG develops early warning systems; plays more prominent role in preventive diplomacy

Legal: establishment (after sufficient ratifications) of an International Criminal Court

Military:peace-keeping standby forces (nationally based)

Next 25 Years

GA: membership decreases to 180 (e.g., unification of Koreas)

SC: British, French, and German seats merge into powerful European Union seat (retaining the veto); new seats to Far Eastern nations; rules guiding use of veto and enforcement provisions (including advisory opinion and review of SC decisions by the ICJ)

Sec:revamped election procedure for SG; global open skies agreement with agency under SG reporting to SC; greatly improved early warning systems ICJ: compulsory jurisdiction nearly universal

Legal: new treaties emphasize responsibilities of individuals in addition to that of states; expansion of International Criminal Court; verification of the ban on secret treaties (Art. 102)

Financial:non-governmental sources of revenue accepted

IOs: reorganization and amalgamation (e.g., of IVOs)

Military:standing peace-keeping forces (nucleus under direct UN employment)

Next 50 Years

GA: weighted voting

Parliamentary Assembly (PA):new body composed of parliamentarians (elected directly or sent from their parliaments) complements already existing UN bodies

SC:membership increases

Military:standing peace-keeping and peace-enforcement units



The General Assembly is currently composed of 185 member states. The dream of universal membership, which the League never attained, has very nearly been achieved. I believe that within 5 or 10 years the few important non-members (including Switzerland and the Taiwanese Republic of China and several new states such as East Timor) will become members. This will increase the membership to an all-time high of 190. After national reunifications within the next 25 years (for example, possibly the Koreas, Chinas and a certain number of the former Soviet republics) we will come down to 180 or so. Over 50 years, with regional unifications, the number may fall even further.

The voting in the General Assembly is currently by majority (two-thirds majority on questions of substance). In the current system, San Marino, the United States and China have equal votes. Adding a weighted voting system (perhaps incorporating the important factors of population and financial contribution to the UN) will provide a more balanced approach. A vote on a given resolution could be considered in two fashions: by the regular majority approach and by the weighted majority approach. If both criteria were satisfied, then the resolution could be given more importance, even the force of law. To adopt this new approach to General Assembly voting would likely, but not necessarily, require Charter amendment. In any case, it may be many years before it is seriously considered.


The Security Council is arguably the most powerful body in the world today. Under the UN Charter, it has “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security” and it has the power to impose its decisions by force through sanctions or military measures (i.e., under Chapter VII of the Charter).

The most important victors of World War II, who were also the principal authors of the UN Charter, gave themselves permanent seats on the Council. These five permanent members (the P5-China,1 France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) also gained a “veto” right, which allows each of them to prevent a resolution from being adopted even when it is approved by all the rest.

The ten non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly on a rotating/regional basis for two years. Since the permanent seats were created to reflect “the reality of power in the international community,” many have asked why have there been no changes in the permanent members as power has shifted over the decades. Countries like Germany and Japan, who now contribute in a major way to the world’s economy and security, would like permanent seats. At present, Japan contributes the most financially to the UN; it beats the United States because that country is so much in arrears.

For several years, there has been a push to reform the Security Council. I would dare to predict that within five years, Germany and Japan will be added to the Council. Since the developing world already complains about the “over-representation” of the developed world in the Council, it is likely that new seats will also be given to developing countries, either by country or region. Since a Council of more than 20 or 25 members is generally considered too unwieldy for rapid action, the number of seats given to developing countries as a whole or to some of the most important ones (Brazil and South Africa, for instance) would not be more than 3 to 5. Given the general discontentment with the use of the veto, it is unlikely that any of the new permanent members will be given the veto right.

In a quarter century, there will be even greater pressure for reform of the Council. If European integration continues, despite the obstacles and delays, then it is conceivable that the French, British and potential German seats will be merged into a powerful European Union seat, which might begin to exert as much influence as the United States currently does. New permanent seats could be given to Far East nations or groupings (for example, ASEAN), since this area of the world will become more powerful economically and politically.

The veto is an inherently undemocratic instrument. It absolutely prevents action from being taken against the most powerful states or their allies. While it is unlikely that even in a quarter century it could be abolished, one could hope that its use will be constitutionally restricted. For instance, on the question of electing a Secretary-General, one could fairly ask that the veto be prohibited. If veto rights are not constitutionally curbed, one could hope that the Security Council itself would give itself guidelines for the use of the veto. The abuse of the veto was painfully apparent during the Cold War: over a hundred Soviet vetoes were cast before the first American one. It is in peaceful times such as these that we must prepare for difficult times and take measures to prevent future abuses of this power.

At present the Security Council is a law unto itself. It can interpret the UN Charter in its own way, even if its interpretation is at odds with other organs of the UN, the majority of member states and a reasonable interpretation of the Charter. There should be a means for judicial review of its decisions. If the Council acts in a clearly unconstitutional manner, one or more nations should be able to bring the issue before the International Court of Justice. The executive branches of most democratic nations permit judicial review of their actions and there is no reason why this should not be the same for international bodies (such as the Security Council), which draw their moral authority from the rule of law.


At present only states can bring cases before the Court. It is envisioned that sometime in the next 10 years, this provision will be loosened to allow international bodies to do so. Within 25 years, the ICJ (or a new court) should be able to take cases concerning the interpretation of international law upon request from commercial and non-governmental bodies. Since most armed conflicts are now of an internal character, there is a need for an internationally authoritative judicial body to which parties to a conflict could turn for a legal settlement. There may be many instances in which such a court would not find itself with jurisdiction, but there could be important instances where it could pass judgement.

The ICJ Statute (Article 36) provides that nations may obligate themselves to present themselves before the Court whenever they are so requested by one or more nations who have made a similar declaration. Such “compulsory jurisdiction” is currently accepted by some 59 states. It can be hoped that this number will increase as a means to elevate and expand the standards of international law and accountability. Perhaps we can aim for 100 countries by 2010.

A smaller step, to be taken over the next five years, would be to give the UN Secretary-General the ability to ask for “advisory opinions” from the Court. The previous Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, saw this as a means to mildly “threaten” nations that were unwilling to negotiate a dispute. Even the most powerful nations do not wish to be seen as acting contrary to international law and would be wary that they might lose in a court of law. Thus, they would be more receptive to reach agreement.

The Security Council has established two International Criminal Tribunals, for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. These are important because they are the first to be created since the Nuremberg trials in which individuals are subject to arrest and prosecution. In a sense they are even more fair than the World War II trials, since individuals on both sides of the conflicts are subject to arrest and prosecution. In addition, monitoring of atrocities was being conducted in the former Yugoslavia even as the tribunal was in session. The next step is the creation of an International Criminal Court, upon entry into force of the 1997 Rome Statute, that would activate when there are substantive allegations of crimes against humanity.

Several important principles and practices are also beginning to emerge. There must be more accountability of national leaders as individuals. Instead of punishing a nation for violations of international law, we must as far as possible identify and punish those in power who made the decisions to violate those laws. In addition, international law should increasingly be supported and enforced by national law enforcement agencies. National parliaments could make selected international treaties part of national law with specific penalties for their violation (as was required, for example, by the Chemical Weapons Convention). Also treaties must contain provisions for international verification and binding mechanisms for dispute settlement to confirm compliance objectively and to make their implementation more fair. This may make the texts of treaties longer and more complicated, but also will make them harder to violate.

One important provision of the UN Charter that is constantly being violated is Article 102, which states that all international agreements should be registered with the UN and published by it. This provision dates back to the first of Wilson’s Fourteen Points (“open covenants of peace openly arrived at”) and the similar provision in the League Covenant. Many nations maintain “secret” treaties that they do not reveal even to their own publics. There is at present no body that monitors which treaties are not being registered with the UN. The existence of many secret agreements is acknowledged by governments and their titles are often known (for example, many defense treaties), but their contents have never been published. The UN should have a “watchdog” function to make sure that nations are not circumventing this important Charter provision and that transparency in international relations is maintained.

The verification of multilateral arms control and disarmament treaties is a function now routinely given to international organizations. For example, the International Atomic Energy Agency verifies non-diversion of nuclear materials under the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty. The newly created Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) monitors compliance with the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) is to monitor compliance with the comprehensive ban on nuclear explosions. What does not now exist is an international organization that can carry out ad hoc verification of unilateral disarmament measures (such as those carried out by Gorbachev in the late 1980s, for example) and bilateral measures upon the request of the involved states. It is desirable to create a disarmament verification organization or unit under the UN to carry out these functions. This has the potential to do for disarmament what peace-keeping has done for conflict resolution: introduce a stabilizing new international actor as a monitor or even supervisor of agreements and measures.

Similarly, the current approach to sanctions monitoring is very ad hoc and generally ineffective. The UN has imposed mandatory and recommendatory sanctions in about a dozen cases, but all of them were violated to some extent. The UN has no system or resident expertise to keep track of prohibited arms flows; it depends on reports from nation states and ad hoc and usually ineffective monitoring arrangements. For instance, large convoys bringing goods, including weapons, into Serbia at the Macedonia border went unreported. The United States decided unilaterally to stop reporting on naval shipments of armaments to Bosnians. It is time that the UN Secretariat develop at least rudimentary forms of sanctions-monitoring expertise. This might possibly be done in conjunction with an arms monitoring and verification unit.


Of the six principal organs of the UN, the one that has grown the most in power and prestige since the creation of the organization in 1945 is the office of the Secretary-General at the head of the UN Secretariat. Through the creative leadership of the Secretaries-General, particularly Dag Hammarskjold and U Thant, new roles were given to that office, including peace-keeping and good-offices functions. The Charter did not provide for such roles, but the Secretary-General proved to be an indispensable actor and, as the most senior “international civil servant,” these roles came naturally.

Of all the organs and actors, the Secretary-General most clearly speaks for the global interest, beyond the narrow national interest. The General Assembly mainly represents the developing world, which holds the large majority of its seats. The Security Council is dominated by the most powerful nations, which have permanent seats. The Court is limited to the issues on which it can speak: only those relating to international law. The Secretary-General has become the closest thing we have to the “voice” of the world’s conscience on the wide range of political, economic and humanitarian issues.

The Charter states that the Secretary-General is the “chief administrative officer,” and that he or she is to perform the functions entrusted to him or her by the other organs. The one area where the Charter explicitly gives the Secretary-General a significant independent role is for warning. Article 99 states that “the Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.” But, ironically, because of a lack of means and political boldness, such warning has rarely been done by the Secretary-General. Article 99 has been invoked explicitly only three times. Usually the Secretary-General has become involved only after conflicts have escalated into armed clashes and are well known to the world.

A major thrust should now be made in conflict prevention, which means strengthening the capacity for early warning and rapid reaction. There has been recent progress in both areas, with the creation of a Humanitarian Early Warning System (HEWS) and a Rapidly Deployable Military Headquarters (RDMHQ), but much more attention and resources should be given to these efforts.

For effective early warning, the UN needs to improve two things: access to information and the capacity to analyze it. Access involves, first of all, the ability to observe and inspect areas where there is a potential for conflict and to talk with the parties. Currently, national sovereignty dictates that UN fact-finding missions require the consent of the host state, something that is often not forthcoming. While the major powers have reconnaissance satellites, which operate above the boundaries of national sovereignty and which can observe all countries of the world, the UN has no such system. A major priority should be to obtain regular access to useful information possessed by member states, such as satellite imagery. There are not, at present, any agreements for the automatic transfer of information to the UN and only vague responsibilities are recognized by member states. These responsibilities should be formalized in one or more information-sharing agreements to help the UN better anticipate conflicts.

An even greater step forward would be for member states to develop a treaty that permitted the UN to conduct inspections on an “any time, any where” basis. Creating more openness is the key to early warning. One component could be to establish a “global open skies” system, which would allow the UN to overfly any desired sites on short (perhaps 12 hour) notice. This would, for instance, allow the UN to spot preparations for surprise attacks. While this is not a guarantee of conflict prevention, it makes the risk of exposure of preparations for attack much greater and hence it is a deterrent to armed conflict.

A greater capacity for analysis is necessary within the Secretariat, including the capacity for scenario-building of conflict escalation and prospective responses. It is therefore proposed that the UN develop an Information, Analysis and Research branch under the Secretary-General to carry out in-depth work, that is beyond the capacity of the current departments and could be of use to them also.

The UN Secretariat is currently understaffed and under-resourced. Subject to U.S. pressure, the number of staff (currently about 10,000 under the Secretary-General) will be cut further. The UN’s regular budget, being held at zero growth, is a small fraction (less than 0.5 percent) of the world’s military expenditure. The world needs to shift its priorities. An increase in UN staff and resources is needed. After the Cold War, the workload of the UN Secretariat jumped significantly but more staff and resources were denied, leading to a decline in morale. If the UN is to meet the major global challenges of peace and security, environment and development, it will be necessary to at least double the staff and resources at the UN and its agencies over the next 25 years.


Of all the UN reform issues, the question of creating UN armed forces is probably the most controversial. It also is the cardinal question of the twenty-first century: whether (and how) to place military force under international authority. In 1945, if you had asked San Francisco delegates to identify the primary difference between the new UN and the old League, the most frequent response would undoubtedly have been that the UN will have its own fighting forces. Under Article 43 of the Charter, nations are supposed to make such forces available to the Council and to sign agreements with the UN on the nature of these forces. However, as the Cold War quickly paralyzed the Council, no such agreements were ever developed. Even now, after the Cold War, the necessary unity of will and vision is not present. The UN is not yet ready to collectively organize and control military forces that might be engaged in war fighting. Military enforcement will have to remain in the hands of members states for at least a few decades, though the Security Council must remain the sole forum to authorize military enforcement actions. At present we will have to continue to rely on existing military organizations (such as NATO in the former Yugoslavia) and ad hoc coalitions (such as the U.S.-led coalition in the 1991 Gulf War) for military enforcement. In the long run (over 50 years), it will become possible to create an international force to operate under strict guidelines and rules of engagement, but the international maturity and will is not now present.

Peace-keeping tasks are a different matter altogether. The UN should now boost its current arrangements for standby peace-keeping forces. Some nations (such as Scandinavian countries) have units ready to assume peace-keeping duties on short notice on request of the UN Secretary-General-but still subject to final national consent. More nations should make such commitments with the fewest possible conditions, in order to strengthen the capacity of the Secretary-General for rapid reaction. Even more desirable would be the establishment of a standing peace-keeping force recruited on an individual basis. The use of national military contingents has many drawbacks: units rarely train together before they reach the field, the standards between contingents are wide ranging, as are their capabilities, equipment and attitudes. Most importantly, peace-keepers in the field feel a dual allegiance: to their own countries and to the UN. At times, this leads to problems, such as a lack of discipline and unwillingness to follow orders from the Secretary-General. An individually recruited force, even if it is only a vanguard force, would overcome many of these problems. The soon-to-be-established Rapidly Deployable Military Headquarters is an important initiative in this direction. It will need an information/intelligence unit for its many tasks, including early warning. If funding can be obtained, the UN could, within the next ten years, start to build its own peace-keeping units of civilians as well as military personnel to be ready on short notice for deployment to the field.


All actions of the UN should be guided by the following principles:

impartiality, proportionality, automaticity, legitimacy and accountability. These principles are the same ones that we have come to demand (though not always obtain) of our national civil services and our domestic law enforcement agencies. Favoritism should be discouraged and an evenhanded approach taken (impartiality). The punishment of a crime should be proportional to the severity of the crime (proportionality). Responses should come with minimum delay (automaticity) and the bodies dealing with these matters should have the proper legislative mandate (legitimacy), and be held responsible to a higher body or the larger international community (accountability). It is especially important to hold the Security Council, the UN’s most powerful body, to these principles. One often has the feeling that its responses are driven by favoritism (or national interests) of the major powers rather than impartiality. The application of mandatory sanctions on Libya for its refusal to hand over alleged terrorists (in the Lockerbie bombing) is a case in point. It can be questioned whether the application of sanctions was impartial and proportionate, since many nations have refused to yield suspected criminals to accusing nations (Canada, for instance, has often refused to deport such persons to the United States) and no such sanctions regime was applied. Its legitimacy might have been tested before the ICJ, but the Court found that Libya could not bring Great Britain and the United States, which were unwilling, to judgement, under the compulsory jurisdiction clause. And finally, although the Security Council reports once a year to the General Assembly and is mandated to act on behalf of all member states, its reports are not substantive and do not provide justifications of its actions. The body must be reminded of its accountability to the international community. In the future, it would be wise to codify these basic principles in a major document.



For this exercise, we have to look far into the future, to the second half of the twenty-first century. Thinking beyond 2050 involves a great stretch of the imagination but, for that reason, it’s also the most interesting (and controversial!). I envision that the structure of international organization will increasingly resemble that of national organization. I believe this trend is desirable and will help secure peace and good governance. It must happen in an evolutionary fashion over a period of decades and apply only to clearly delineated areas of international responsibility, which will grow over time.

Modern governments have three universally accepted branches: the executive (which includes the foreign affairs department and the military), the legislative (parliamentary bodies such as the U.S. Congress, the Japanese Diet or the Canadian House of Commons), and the judiciary (the courts, usually headed by a Supreme Court). See figure 1A (top part).

 IO-Structure Figure1&2


The international counterparts to these already exist in rudimentary form, as illustrated in the lower half of figure lA. The UN Secretariat functions, to some extent, as an executive body with limited decision-making powers. The Security Council is partly an executive and partly a legislative body. The General Assembly is mostly a legislative body, through its resolutions are only recommendatory upon nations. The judiciary is, of course, represented by the International Court of Justice (located in The Hague) but at present the Court can only hear cases with the consent of the disputants, who must be states.

In the current system (figure 1A), it is the executive branches of the national governments that send representatives to the General Assembly and the Security Council and place their officials in the senior ranks of the Secretariat. Since it is the General Assembly that elects judges to the ICJ, one can also say that it is the executive branches that also control the composition of the ICJ.

In the distant future, I envision that there will be direct links between the main branches of national governments and their international counterparts. This will help to ensure checks and balances at the international level. This will reduce the power of the executive bodies of national governments and strengthen the legislative and judicial bodies, giving them more influence over international problems, which are the real challenges of the future.

Specifically, I envision, as shown in figure 1B, that the legislative branches of nations will elect representatives drawn from their own ranks directly to an international parliamentary assembly. National executive branches will send representatives to an executive council and the legal bodies in nation-states will be the source of judges to the international courts. A modified approach is to follow more closely the European Union model. There the European Parliament members are directly elected by constituents and the decisions of national courts can in certain areas be overturned in European courts. In the very long term this may be a desirable model, but it is hard to see how such a “global government” could be made to function fairly and effectively even in 50 years. As long as there are undemocratic national regimes it will be hard to envision free and fair votes for an international parliament.

National governments hold the predominance of economic, political and military power in the world today. This narrow concentration of power in nation states, as opposed to municipal and global organizations, is illustrated by the solid curve in Figure 2. I believe that a more even distribution of power would be better, with local and global organizations gaining power at the expense of the nation state. World peace and world order would increase as would the capacity of people to govern themselves locally. This way of thinking shows that globalization and localization can occur simultaneously and need not be competing factors. For instance, international laws can be developed to increase the power of local government and to protect local cultures.


Figure 2

Figure 2. The current (solid line) and desired (dotted line) distribution of power in the world among governmental institutions. What is deemed necessary is an increase in the power of both international and municipal governance at the expense of national governments (i.e., national sovereignty), as shown by the arrows. The diagram also illustrates how localization and regionalization can take place at the same time.



The UN has been in existence for over 50 years. I have proposed a vision for its second half-century and beyond. Perhaps I am dreaming when I think that major changes can come about, but I do not think so. I have used the yardstick of the past to measure the future. If we make as much progress in the next hundred years as in the past hundred, I think my predictions will not have gone far enough.

Of course, progress is never linear. Things may have to get worse before they get better and for every two steps forward we may have to take one step backwards. But I believe that human beings have the resourcefulness, the strength and the capacity to strengthen the rules and the standards of international behavior, and to improve the institutions that govern them. We should aim to have the same strength of law and order on the international level that we have come to expect on the national level. To avoid the bloodshed that has been a characteristic of this century, we have to expand international organizations to meet the greatest challenge of the next century: creating peace on Earth. At the same time, we have to create a greater awareness of the blessings of peace, on the individual, national and international levels.

For the first time in human history, at the dawn of the new millennium we can think seriously about and plan actively for world peace. Through the centuries, the European powers were so often at war; now they are developing a European Union that makes war between them impossible. For centuries the colonial and imperial powers (for example, France and Great Britain in Europe; others in Asia) fought “hot wars” with each other; in this century the capitalist and communist states fought a Cold War. With the end of the Cold War, we no longer have global power blocs menacing one another. There remain many threats to the peace, no doubt, but we now have, for the first time in a thousand years, the opportunity to create a peaceful world, to establish sufficient harmony so that wars between nations, and eventually within nations, become obsolete.

There will always be tensions and some conflicts among nations, as long as there is conflict among individuals and in our societies. But these conflicts need not become reasons to mobilize armies, fight wars and kill human beings. Instead we should mobilize the tools of peace, of united nations and of the United Nations.

We can now dream of a world so interdependent, so close and so respectful that major wars can become a things of the past. It may take more than one century. It may take two or even three. But I have the fundamental faith that the capacity for peace now exists in seed form. The institutions we have now can form a basis for a strong, harmonious, and peaceful world order.



1. In 1971 the Peoples Republic of China replaced the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the Chinese seat on the Security Council.

Keeping Tabs on a Troubled World: UN Information-Gathering to Preserve Peace

UN Information-Gathering to Preserve Peace


A. Walter Dorn

Originally published in Security Dialogue, Vol. 27, No.3 (September 1996) pp.263–76. Available as pdf.


As Secretary-General of the United Nations … I have often encountered two insuperable obstacles:
(a) The claim of Governments that the Secretary-General has no right to interfere in their internal affairs
or in matters pertaining to their national sovereignty;
(b) The lack of authoritative information, without which the Secretary-General cannot speak …
              — Secretary-General U Thant in letter to Ambassador Samar Sen of India, 30 March 19711



The United Nations needs accurate, detailed and up-to-date information to fulfil its mandate of preserving peace and preventing conflict. Nevertheless, there are severe limitations on the UN’s ability to obtain such information. The UN is curtailed from investigating matters that are essentially domestic in nature even if they may later have serious international repercussions.2 It cannot send on-site observers to the territory of a state without the consent of that state. The UN must not engage in techniques that employ secrecy, stealth, or that might be classified as spying. Nor does the UN have ready access to the high-resolution imagery available to the US and Russia from their reconnaissance satellites, which operate above national airspace and thus beyond the claims of national sovereignty. Furthermore, the UN currently lacks sufficient technical, human and financial resources to do the on-going information gathering and analysis that is required for its ambitious mandate.

The existing political, legal and practical limitations can be traced back to one source: national sovereignty as jealously guarded by governments. Politically, governments are reluctant to allow the UN “in” for fear of introducing new actors and factors they cannot control. Legally, they assert that the UN has no right to investigate or even to discuss “domestic” matters. They justify their positions on the basis of international law, which gives nation states sovereignty, a principle determined more by custom than by treaty.3 On the practical level, UN member states are disinclined to equip the organization with a permanent and independent fact-finding capability for fear that they would be conferring on the organization powers and capabilities which heretofore only belonged to nation states.

Early identification and early warning are the first steps toward conflict prevention. Early warning, in particular, requires a great deal of courage, skill and, not least, current information. It is mainly because of the lack of the latter that the UN Secretaries-General have on only three occasions formally invoked the early-warning privilege provided to them under Article 99 of the UN Charter.4 The Secretary-General must have concrete evidence of a threat to the peace before he5 can issue a warning to the Security Council; otherwise, he risks being accused of “crying wolf.” In addition, in order to head off a threat, he may need to intrude into what is regarded as its internal affairs by the state or against the will of one or more parties to a conflict. It is usually much more difficult to justify such intrusion before conflict breaks out than afterwards. At an early stage in the life cycle of a conflict, the UN is faced with the strongest opposition on the basis of national sovereignty. Yet, it is at this stage that the UN can prove most useful. The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is nowhere more applicable than in international relations. It can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the UN to stop or contain a conflict once war has broken out. The only hope in many cases is to nip conflicts in the bud.

Admittedly, even with a perfect information system there is no guarantee that the UN will be able to successfully act to maintain peace: success depends on political will and practical resources, not to mention good luck. In any case, sound information, generated from objective sources and shared among the international community, is an essential prerequisite for early international action. It is fundamental to the development of international political will and the practical means for effective action.

It would also be undesirable to go to the opposite extreme and provide the United Nations with unlimited powers of intrusion and investigation in the affairs of sovereign states. The UN should not, and could not, be the “big brother” that carries out continuous surveillance over the actions of individuals and states. The UN must continue to impose definite limits on itself in regards to its powers of intrusion and investigation. Individual privacy must be protected and there are activities of an entirely domestic matter which the UN has no business investigating. In the current state of our world, however, the balance between sovereign rights and rights of the international community falls too far on the side of national sovereignty. If we are to establish a firm base for international peace and security, then UN fact-finding at an earlier stage and in a more intrusive manner should be permitted.

Before proposing new means for enhanced information-gathering, it is valuable to review UN experience and summarize the UN’s current information sources and capabilities. Fortunately, there is a rich history of UN fact-finding spanning fifty years, upon which one may draw. Both successful and unsuccessful fact-finding missions can provide insights and valuable lessons for the future.



UN history abounds with cases where the UN was denied the access it was seeking in its fact-finding endeavours. Perhaps the most classic case arising from denied access is the failed early warning but a successful “late” warning of the outbreak of the Korean war. In 1949, the UN General Assembly gave the United Nations Commission on Korea (UNCOK) a mandate to report on “developments which might lead to military conflict” on the peninsula. In the months prior to the attack in 1950, the Commission heard many allegations by senior South Korean officials of an imminent invasion by the North, based on information supplied by defectors, captives and secret operatives. But UNCOK failed to issue any urgent warnings back to UN headquarters. They relied primarily on US information and analysis. Furthermore, the South Korean generals were not considered objective sources. On 30 May 1950, General William Roberts, head of the US Korean Military Assistance Group, reported: “There is no build-up of North Korean military forces along the thirty-eighth parallel at the present” and that it was “as safe in Korea as in the United States”.6 Thus, the UN joined the US in being caught totally off-guard in Korea a few weeks later.

Shortly before the attack, UNCOK sent two military observers in a jeep to survey troop deployments along the south side of the 38th parallel that divided the two Koreas. The observers returned to Seoul on June 23 and reported that the South Korean army, the only one they could observe, “was in no condition to carry out a large-scale attack against the forces in the North.” They might have added that it was in no condition to defend against attack either. Furthermore, the UN observers, who relied on the US and South Korean military officials they met, failed to seek any indicators of an imminent attack. The day after their return, on June 25, some 90,000 North Korean troops poured into the South along the entire front, overtaking Seoul within three days and occupying 80 percent of the South within a matter of weeks. Only the entry of UN troops (mainly from the US) prevented Kim Il Sung from unifying the country by force under communist rule.

The Korean case became a case of “late warning.” Seven hours after the attack began, Secretary-General Trygve Lie first learned of the attack through a midnight phone call from a US Assistant Secretary of State. The Secretary-General then requested and obtained confirmation of the attack from UNCOK before relating the news to the Security Council later that day. He pronounced North Korea in violation of the UN Charter and called for Security Council action. This intervention of the Secretary-General, using information corroborated by an objective source (UNCOK), caused some of the otherwise-sceptical delegates to vote for the Council resolutions to restrain, and later to repel, the North Korean forces.7

What is surprising is that the attack took both the US and the UN totally by surprise. In today’s world, with sophisticated intelligence satellites, the achievement of this element of surprise for a massive invasion would be much more difficult, if not impossible. At the time, the high flying U-2 aircraft were not yet in operation, flights along the border with side-viewing photography had not been introduced, and the allegations of defectors and spies were discounted.

Other cases of unsuccessful early warning and preventive diplomacy can easily be identified. In Hungary in 1956-57, the UN tried unsuccessfully to dispatch an investigatory group during the Soviet invasion.8 The puppet government being installed in Hungary immediately claimed full sovereignty and in the face of the Soviet military grip on the state, the UN could do little. In 1968, Secretary-General U Thant first learned of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia on his car radio. His efforts to get a “foot-in-the-door” with a fact-finding team also ran aground.

Even with it has peace-keepers inside a country, the UN can be so narrowly confined in its information-gathering as to prove ineffective in averting catastrophe. During the months prior to the 1994 Rwandan holocaust, the commander of the UN peace-keeping force in Rwanda (UNAMIR), Canadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire, received secret communications from moderates in the Rwandan army alleging that macabre plots were being made by members of President Habyarimana’s entourage. Although UNAMIR was supposed to monitor the security situation, the peace-keepers did not have the capabilities to investigate or corroborate secret plans, even for mass genocide. “The UN does not have an intelligence-gathering structure,” Dallaire stated later. “I mean, that is not within our philosophy nor in our mandate.”9 Shortly after the President’s plane crashed (probably part of the plot), Gen. Dallaire rushed to Rwandan military headquarters. There he tried to convince Col. Theonest Bagosuro to help calm the situation, unaware that the Colonel was one of the main instigators. In such situations, it would have been wise for the UN Commander to have had some inkling of the potential involvement of Col. Theonest in the plots. This intelligence may have required some discreet probing based on the allegations and even posing some questions directly to army commander about his connection with Network Zero, the genocide plotters. In retrospect, such an early investigation would have been wise, though it would have faced severe criticism from the military leaders. They would have accused the UN of interfering in personal as well as internal affairs. It could have resulted in the expulsion of the UN force. On the other hand, there may well have been discreet ways for the UN to follow up on the leads provided to them regarding the genocide plots. Even after the killing had started, it was some time before the UN (and the international media) could determine that the vast majority of the organized slayings was being perpetrated by Hutus against Tutsis. Daillaire complained about being “deaf and blind” in the field. Had UNAMIR provided sound evidence to the UN Secretary-General for presentation to the Security Council at a much earlier date, it is possible that international action could have been taken at several points to avert the massive extent of the tragedy.

UN history also provides cases of successful early warning. Armed with the right to conduct inspections in signatories of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the UN’s nuclear arm, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was able to probe into the affairs of North Korea in a fashion undreamed of in 1950. Through sophisticated technological means (isotopic, chemical and particle analysis) the agency discovered that the DPRK was falsifying its declarations regarding nuclear materials at its nuclear complex at Nyongbong. Furthermore, when the US showed the IAEA Board of Governors high-resolution satellite pictures, most doubts about the extent of DPRK non-compliance vanished. This then allowed the international community to negotiate with the DPRK before the state had acquired nuclear weapons and eventually to convince North Korea to stop its weapons programme.

There have also been cases where sovereign states have specifically requested that the UN carry out investigations on their territory. States sometimes do this when they feel wrongly accused or seek objective international verification of their claims. Such was the case in 1958, when both Laos and Lebanon called on Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold to send teams to investigate alleged large-scale infiltration across their borders from Vietnam and Syria, respectively. In both these cases, the UN observers were unable to verify the claims. It soon became apparent that the claims arose from domestic politics. By showing that the fears were false, the UN played an important confidence-building role. Other allegations have been proven correct. For instance, Iran successfully prevailed upon the Secretary-General to send inspection teams that verified Iraqi use of chemical weapons against Iranian troops on its territory.

The UN can also be present to verify positive events. The UN monitored elections in Nicaragua in 1990, the first time that it did so in a sovereign member state. This was followed by even more extensive election monitoring missions in Haiti in 1990, in Cambodia in 1993 and in South Africa in 1994. In all these cases the UN presence promoted both national and international confidence in the elections, and made cheating more difficult. Election monitoring is an excellent example of how UN fact-finding can play a constructive role in assisting a sovereign state.



In spite of its many limitations, the UN does have a variety of means to gather information. Seven principal sources of information can be identified: governments, UN offices abroad, on-site UN missions, regional organizations, NGOs, and direct observation using remote-sensing technologies (e.g., satellite).

Governments provide the UN with its information base. They bring disputes or situations threatening peace to the attention of the Security Council. The Secretary-General also has the statutory authority to do so.10 There have been plenty of dramatic Security Council meetings where new information has been provided by governments, especially during peak moments of the East/West confrontation. US ambassador Adlai Stevenson unveiled high-resolution aerial photographs of Soviet missile in Cuban in November 1962 taken by U-2 reconnaissance aircraft overflying Cuban territory. As mentioned, Secretary-General Trygve Lie learned of the attack on South Korea in 1950 from a US official and confirmed the essentials by communicating with UNCOK observers located in Korea. But even UNCOK relied largely, though not solely, on American information sources, having sent one of their members to the American military headquarters immediately after learning of the attack.

Governments have resources which the UN cannot hope to match. They have embassies abroad, desk officers at capitals, military establishments and intelligence agencies, all trying to keep on top of current situations. In addition, it has become common practice for nations to eavesdrop on the telecommunications of others. The UN is not prohibited from accepting information gained by governmental intelligence methods but it must be careful not to encourage specific unlawful activities. In general, the provision of information from governments is essential and should be encouraged.

UN agencies and centres abroad, the second information source, are established with specific mandates, which usually do not include monitoring the affairs of the state in which they are located. UN Information Centres and UNDP resident representatives are stationed in over 120 states primarily to provide information and assistance to those states. They have, however, in recent years been instructed to provide information to headquarters on matters relating to potential threats to the peace. After the Cold War, the UN has been exploring the idea of integrated UN offices, such as those established in the former Soviet Union. These allow the UN to centralize its activities, including information-gathering, in a region.

On-site UN observers may be stationed in conflict zones if permission is obtained from the state and preferably also, though not necessarily, from all the parties to the conflict.11 Such on-the-spot observers can be invaluable in following conflicts. The UN Secretary-General learned of the outbreak of the two wars involving Israel and Egypt in 1967 and 1973 through immediate cables from observers situated between the countries.

The UN has, in the past, had very weak information links with regional organizations (ROs), mostly because such organizations had little information to share or little desire to share. But the situation is changing for the better. NATO conveyed a great deal of information to the UN, including information from satellite and aerial reconnaissance, during the course of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. The Western European Union (WEU) relayed information about the sanctions busting in the region. The results of the OSCE human rights missions in the Baltic states are provided to the UN. As the regional organizations develop their informational infrastructures, there will increased opportunities to share information with the UN.

The media provides the backdrop for most UN debates. In spite of inaccuracies and biases, it is a fact of life that the media, especially the American media, has a tremendous impact. The New York Times is considered required reading for delegations in New York. As a newspaper producing stories “for the record,” it has been cited on numerous occasions in UN speeches. The Soviets, for example, cited the New York Times in their speeches much more often than did the Americans, especially in instances when the Times took positions contrary to those of the US government. CNN is watched by UN staff on television monitors which are set up in various locations around the UN building.

The UN is not inhibited from receiving information from NGOs and individuals, but formal arrangements are usually not made. Informal briefings with humanitarian aid organizations, such as Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF) and the Red Cross, are common at UN Headquarters but the minutes and summaries of these meetings are not published. Again, the UN is ruled by member states and there is a reluctance in the Secretariat and in UN organs to introduce other actors, even in an information-providing role, into the process. Similarly, some aid organizations are cautious about approving the free flow of information to the UN, lest their host countries protest and thus jeopardize their primary purpose.

In the human rights field, on the other hand, there is more openness to information received from individuals and NGOs. In fact, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has established a 24-hour fax “Hot Line” for reporting violations of human rights. Amnesty International reports are taken very seriously by UN human rights investigators, as well as by the UN Commission on Human Rights and the accused state itself.

Finally, observation technologies can provide the UN with important information. The UN has used aerial reconnaissance as part of several peacekeeping missions (first in the Congo operation), though never to its fullest extent. UN peacekeepers in the Middle East recognized that aerial reconnaissance could provide tremendous benefits in both efficiency and scope of surveillance, but the host nations were concerned about possible overflights, even over buffer zones, lest they lose further control over what areas and activities the UN is able to see and not to see. Thus, binoculars remain the most common technology commonly used by peace-keepers in the Middle East.12

Satellite reconnaissance can offer the UN some important advantages, not least of which is that the consent of the state being observed is not required under international law. But politically, the latter point is a major concern of members states, developed and developing. As the costs decrease and new image services become widespread,13 however, there is every likelihood that the UN will begin to purchase satellite imagery from commercial sources and request it from governments.



In this world of sovereign states, progress—however slow and halting—is being made in developing international law and order, including in the field of UN fact-finding. When sovereign states willingly surrender part of their freedom, it is usually on an incremental scale and in a well-codified manner, usually by treaty. For instance, as peace-keeping forces are put in place, the UN usually signs agreements with the host state, called Status of Forces agreements. Certain arms control treaties authorize UN bodies to conduct specific types of inspections on the territory of state parties. For instance, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the IAEA may send inspection teams to visit nuclear sites. Under the Chemical Weapons Convention, states must accept on-site inspectors from a new international organization, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Under the provisions for “challenge inspections,” any site can be inspected at any time with minimal notice (12 hours).14

Politically, the greatest area of improvement has been in the human rights field. The manner in which states treat their citizens was once thought to be entirely within the bastion of national sovereignty, with the international community having no right to carry out investigations. Currently, international human rights bodies routinely carry out investigations using on-site visits where basic human rights are possibly threatened. In the arms control field, as well, one can cite breakthroughs. Recent arms control agreements, like the Chemical Weapons Convention, will provide international organizations with unprecedented powers of observation and inspection on a global scale. Ad hoc investigations are also breaking new ground. In 1994-95, the UN Centre for Disarmament, at the request of some West African nations, sent teams to investigate the traffic of illegal arms across their borders.

The Security Council, reinvigorated after the end of the Cold War, has created new bodies with unprecedented investigatory mandates. As already mentioned, the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), for example, may under resolution 687(1991) conduct inspections anytime, anywhere in Iraq, without right of refusal for the purposes of verifying the destruction of weapons of mass destruction. The costs of these inspections are borne by Iraq, both financially and in terms of its sovereignty. While such inspections could only be imposed in the most exceptional circumstances, the UNSCOM example reflects the new resolve of the Security Council to impinge upon the sovereignty of a state through stronger or forced fact-finding.

The new generation of peacekeeping operations has also expanded the realm of fact-finding. In the Cambodia settlement, outlined in the Paris Peace Accords, the UN was given the right to conduct document searches in the files of national political parties. This right was vigorously exercised by the UNTAC Special Investigations Unit. For instance, documents in the regional headquarters of the State of Cambodia (SOC) party were searched for any evidence of illegal activities and plans. This enabled the unit, for instance, to detect thinly-veiled references to political assassinations.

International law has been evolving slowly both by treaty and custom towards a more productive balance between the right of the UN to investigate actual or potential threats to the peace and the state’s right to deny the UN access. Since the end of the Cold War, the pace of change has quickened considerably. The adoption by the General Assembly of the 1991 Declaration on UN Fact-Finding15 is one recent advance regarding UN fact-finding. Though such declarations are not binding on states, they do carry weight in the establishment of customary international law and in the development of international norms of behaviour. The Declaration adopts a broad definition for fact-finding (Article 2):

“fact-finding means any activity designed to obtain detailed knowledge of the relevant facts of any dispute or situation which the competent United Nations organs need in order to exercise effectively their functions in relation to the maintenance of international peace and security.”

For the most part, the Declaration codifies existing practice and strikes the familiar balance between national sovereignty and international security, while encouraging the maximum use of fact-finding. The dispatch of a UN fact-finding mission to a state “requires the prior consent from that State, subject to the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations” (Article 6). States should give “timely consideration” to requests to receive a mission (Article 19) and, if they refuse, should “indicate the reasons” for their refusal (Article 20). States should “follow a policy” of admitting and cooperating with such missions (Article 21 and 22). The weak nature of the Declaration is apparent in that the word “should” is used in almost all cases, except in relation to the required consent of the host state. One would hope that international law will evolve so that the “shoulds” become “shalls” and that the possibilities for the UN become rights of entry.

Perhaps the most important provisions of the 1991 Declaration is the expanded role it suggests for the Secretary-General. He “should monitor the state of international peace and security regularly and systematically in order to provide early warning of disputes or situations which might threaten international peace and security.”

This is a significant extension of the Secretary-General’s mandate for fact-finding, as established under Article 99 of the UN Charter:

The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten international peace and security.

Though Article 99 has seldom been invoked in a formal fashion, it has been used as a legislative basis for most of the independent activities initiated by the Secretary-General, including but also going beyond fact-finding. Briefings are now given daily by the Secretary-General or his representative to Security Council members.16

On the practical side of UN information-gathering, there have also been significant advances: the UN is developing more extensive information-gathering systems and is making greater use of advanced technologies. The UN’s Situation Centre, established in 1993, gathers information from peace-keeping missions around the clock. A direct computer link with the US mission and thus the Pentagon has also been established. UNSCOM employs sophisticated observation technologies, including reconnaissance using American U-2 aircraft, and has an advanced Information Assessment Unit for data collection, fusion and analysis. Computers networks, now ubiquitous in the UN Secretariat, allow access to a pool of UN information that was previously unimaginable, including the UN library of documents. Most professionals in the UN system now have access to electronic mail and the Internet.

The New York Times was in the past the foremost source of media information for UN officials but the computer and CNN may be changing this. Electronic clipping and news-wire services (e.g., NewsEdge) are used to keep abreast of the recent developments described in the world’s media (including wire services, journals and magazines). During the Gulf War, TV monitors were set up in many UN corridors and tuned into CNN to allow staff to monitor events on a real-time basis. The UN announced on Charter Day 1995 the establishment of its own World Wide Web site.17



The longer one’s time horizon, the more political, legal and practical ways one can envision to increase the UN’s ability to gather information. Politically, it is most important to gradually de-stigmatize the presence of UN fact-finding missions. In 1962, Premier Castro crystallized the sentiments of many national leaders, past and present, when he expressed the view that UN inspection meant humiliation. As we enter the twenty-first century, it is time to replace that notion, born of a past age, with the more wholesome notion that permitting international fact-finding missions can be routine, if not generous, acts of a good host, done to build international confidence and to promote a climate of openness. More nations should agree to on-site investigators for positive events and even for relatively trivial ones as a means of creating precedents for the conduct of inspections. UN missions to monitor elections in Nicaragua, Haiti and especially South Africa created very positive precedents for the future.

In the legal sphere, one can envision in the long-term new treaties to confer new fact-finding rights to the UN. The nations of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact signed an Open Skies Treaty for mutual overflights of each other’s territory. It is worthwhile considering the possibility of a future Open Skies system operated under the United Nations. Such a proposal was originally made by President Eisenhower in 1960.18 Overflights could be carried out by the United Nations and the information shared with all parties to the treaty. Preparations for surprise attack would be made much more difficult. Particularly in hot spots such as Kashmir, it would be highly desirable to establish local UN open skies regimes as a confidence- and security-building measure.

To permit UN observers to be stationed at short notice, it should be possible to create a special UN pass which would allow designated UN personnel to cross borders with greater (though perhaps not absolute) freedom. Such passes, obtained in advance and perhaps mandated by a general treaty, could give UN inspectors the right to investigate certain sites and conduct interviews within a nation state at short notice. One mandate of such observers might be to spot disturbing trends and indicators of conflict. They might also be dispatched to observe violations of the UN Charter, both potential and actual, as well as threats to the peace. Unlike most recent treaties, the UN Charter contains no verification provisions for periodic review and reporting on the compliance of all the UN member states. The Secretary-General could be mandated to gather facts on such violations before the Security Council, the International Court of Justice or a new body created for this purpose passes judgement.

On the practical side, it is hoped that the UN will become better equipped with new resources, financial and technical, as well as with structures to better meet the needs of international security. Why not establish mobile UN fact-finding teams with the ability to use and benefit from advanced technologies? As a start, the UN Secretariat could create a unit which could form the nucleus for future missions. In this way, the UN could gather information earlier and better. Previous efforts to establish standing UN fact-finding bodies failed because there was no attempt to equip the Secretariat with a strong and central role. Rapid UN responses, now the subject of great international interest, would be more forthcoming if based on mobile inspection team reports.

Early warning networks have been growing in many other areas, especially in the fields of the environment and disaster relief. There is a Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture, administered by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to warn of food shortages and famines. The World Health Organization (WHO) administers a Epidemiological Early Warning System for alerts on outbreaks of disease worldwide. There is a UN System-wide Earthwatch, administered by the UN Environment Program (UNEP), to act as a focal point for information on changing environmental conditions. There are humanitarian and refugee early warning systems operated by the UN. Yet there is no structured early warning system for the UN’s primary function: the maintenance of peace and security. Why not develop an extensive network to warn of impending conflicts? The UN could rely more on NGOs and the world-wide Internet to increase its early warning capability and provide increased information for conflict management and resolution. In addition, the UN could study the political, military and socio-economic indicators of potential conflict to help identify upcoming “hot spots” and to trigger diplomatic visits and fact-finding missions.

At present, there is little chance for potent institution-building at the United Nations. Major contributors, suffering from large deficits at home and increased UN dues after the Cold War, especially for peace-keeping operations, are exhibiting a phenomenon of “donor fatigue” or, more critically, “deadbeat disease.” The international community at present lacks leaders who champion the cause of the UN and seek to develop a much strengthened world order. All of the energy of UN delegates is spent on handling the latest crisis. Former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, in his Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech in 1957, lamented that “we prepare for war like precocious giants and for peace like retarded pygmies.”19 Surely the end of the Cold War has given us the opportunity and the good sense to reverse this undesirable situation.

Even without a grand vision, however, the international community can bring about gradual improvements. The UN, though sorely short of cash and resources, can create links for information sharing with the regional organizations responsible for security, perhaps through the creation of a global PeaceWatch network. Strong ties should be developed with the satellite imagery interpretation centre of the WEU, the Central Organ of the OAU’s new Conflict Prevention Mechanism and the Conflict Prevention Centre of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Recently, Canada proposed the establishment of a small permanent multinational headquarters unit within the UN of 30 to 50 military officers and civilian experts who would analyze intelligence and constantly update contingency plans for future peacekeeping operations.20

By strengthening the UN’s “informational infrastructure” the organization will be able to discover earlier and better the threats to the world’s peace. As we approach the end of the twentieth century, a century which has seen exorbitant human suffering in internal and external wars, the UN member states have a responsibility and an opportunity to strengthen the world organization to help preserve peace during the coming century.



1. UN Archives, New York, File DAG-l/S.
2. Article 2(7) of the UN Charter states: ‘Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII’, Member-states often consider UN investigations, even without on-site visits, as a form of intervention. It is important to recognize, however, that Article 2(7) is not an absolute prohibition, First, it only asserts that the Charter does not authorize intervention in domestic affairs; it does not prohibit such intervention if other sources of authorization can be found. Second, it does permit intervention for the application of Chapter VII enforcement measures. Third, there are different interpretations of what is meant by the word ‘intervention’.
3. Sovereignty is mentioned only two times in the Charter: in Article 2(1) and 78, both dealing with the sovereign equality of states. Article 2(7) is the chief provision of the UN Charter relating to non-intervention in domestic or ‘sovereign’ affairs.
4. Article 99 states: ‘The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security’,
5. The male pronoun is used subsequently for convenience, and does not suggest in any way that the Secretary-General need be a male.
6. Glenn D. Paige, The Korea Decision: June 24-30,1950 (New York: The Free Press, 1968) p.73.
7. Trygve Lie, In the Cause of Peace: Seven Years with the United Nations (New York:
MacMillan Co., 1954).
8. An ‘Investigatory Group on the Problem of Hungary’ was created by General Assembly resolution 1004 (ES-II) to examine the situation after the invasion, but it was denied entry into the territory.
9. Interview with General Romeo Dallaire, ‘Rwanda: Autopsy of a Genocide’, CBC News – Our Magazine, Thursday, 29 November 1994, CBC transcript, p. 12,
10. Article 34 of the UN Charter gives any member the right to bring any situation which threatens peace to the attention of the Security Council. Article 99 gives the Secretary-General the same right. The Security Council’s Provisional Rules of Procedure (Rule 3) state that the Council shall meet if such disputes or situations are brought to its attention. Article 99, however, has seldom been invoked explicitly but implied invocations are more common. For a tabulation, see A. Walter Dorn, ‘Keeping Watch for Peace: Fact-finding by the UN Secretary-General’, in Eric Fawcett & Hanna Newcombe, eds, UN Reform: Looking Ahead After 50 Years (Toronto: Science for Peace/Dundurn Press, 1995).
11. The UN has stationed observers in countries against the wishes of rebel forces in several instances, for instance in Greece in 1946 and in the Congo in 1960.
12. Night-vision devices are also used in some peace-keeping missions.
13. Russia began selling images from its reconnaissance satellites of 5-6 metre resolution in 1987 and since 1992 has been selling images of 2-metre resolution. (See William Broad, ‘Russia Is Now Selling Spy Photos From Space’, New York Times, 4 October 1992.) The USA has declassified CIA reconnaissance satellite pictures from the period 1960 to 1972, but is not offering pictures made more recently.
14. At least 12 hours must be given to the inspected State Party before inspectors arrive at the point of entry in the state. See Article IX in The Chemical Weapons Convention with Selective Index (New York: United Nations, 1994), Sales No. E.95.IX.2.
15. Officially called the ‘Declaration on Fact-finding by the United Nations in the Field of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security’. It was adopted on 9 December 1991 without a vote in General Assembly resolution 46/59 and is annexed to the resolution.
16. Currently, Mr. Chinmaya Gharekhan, an Under-Secretary-General in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, has the responsibility of giving daily briefings to Security Council members.
17. The Internet address of the UN’s Home Page is
18. President Dwight Eisenhower, ‘Radio and Television Address by President Eisenhower on the Collapse of the Paris Summit Conference, May 25, 1960,’ Documents on Disarmament 1960 (Washington, DC: US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1961), p. 88.
19. Lester B. Pearson, ‘The Four Faces of Peace’, Nobel Lectures: Peace (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1972) Vol. 3, p. 129.
20. Government of Canada, Towards a Rapid Reaction Capability for the United Nations (Ottawa: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Department of National Defence, 1995).


* A. Walter Dorn is a Research Associate of University of Toronto International Relations Programme. He also serves as the UN Representative of Science for Peace and on the Board of Canadian Pugwash. He is currently doing consulting work with the Government of Ethiopia and also with UN Studies at Yale University. The author thanks Prof. Paul Diehl, Mr. David Bell, Lt. Col. Christian Harleman, Mr. Eric Mullerbeck and Mr. Douglas Scott for their helpful comments.

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda

Shake Hands with the Devil:
The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda

 by Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, Random House Canada, Toronto, 2003, 562 pp.
Review by A. Walter Dorn

Originally published in Canadian Foreign Policy, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Spring 2004), pp.119-128.



Lieutenant-General (retired) Roméo Dallaire was reluctant to write this book, procrastinating for years despite ardent pleas from friends and associates. He did not want to relive the hellish nightmare of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the most intense slaughter of human beings since the Second World War, and revive his feeling of utter helplessness in the face of merciless machete massacres. It is hard for anyone to contemplate, let alone describe in detail after witnessing up close, the systematic slaughter of 800,000 human beings in a mere hundred days with no one trying to stop it. Well, almost no one. Fortunately, Dallaire made a supreme effort, and to his credit he found the courage to write his story, including the small successes and the colossal failure of his mission.

This book is a play-by-play account of his experiences as Force Commander of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). Dallaire is a keen observer, writing in captivating detail about the situations and people he encountered, from the kind and calm Kofi Annan (“trying to save the UN from itself”) to the blood-soaked militia (Interahamwe) leaders whom he could not consider human because of the unthinkable atrocities they had engineered. Leaving a meeting with the génocidaires he felt he had “shaken hands with the devil,” and felt guilty for having “actually negotiated with him.” Still, their agreement to allow UN transfers of captives across the battle lines would save lives, though not as many as UNAMIR’s other efforts to provide protection and humanitarian aid.

Probably Dallaire’s greatest disappointment is that he was not permitted to take preventive action before the genocide was unleashed. He had caught wind of a mysterious “third force.” A conscientious informant had told him about macabre plans by extremists to “exterminate” the Tutsi minority in Kigali. Dallaire requested permission to raid the extremists’ arms caches in Kigali, which were a violation of the Arusha Peace Accord that UNAMIR was to help implement. But UN headquarters, still reeling from the failures of an overly-aggressive Somalia experience, repeatedly “blew the plans out of the water”, ordering a defensive posture that would not offend any parties to the conflict. Furthermore, Dallaire’s New York superiors alleged that his innovative plans were outside the mission’s mandate. Like a good soldier, Dallaire followed his orders.

Though frustrated, under-resourced and under-staffed, the Canadian general pushed as far as he could to make a difference. And in this, he was quite successful. He saved tens of thousands of lives. He conducted transfers of innocents, both Hutu and Tutsi, between enemy sides. His thinly-spread UN peacekeepers guarded half a dozen unofficial safe areas and patrolled or visited many other safe havens regularly, providing medical and humanitarian aid. The King Faisal hospital, the Amahoro stadium and UN Force Headquarters quickly became overpopulated with thousands of terrified civilians. UN soldiers made many daring rescues, placing their lives on the line to save civilians from murder by machete or machine gun. Dallaire engaged in “shuttle diplomacy”, moving between the belligerents’ zones at great risk to his own life, especially after he was targeted for assassination by Hutu extremists. He chaired meetings of the belligerents, fostered formal and informal agreements between them (including the Kigali Weapons Secure Area agreement early on) and conveyed important messages between the leaders. But the mediator’s role did not prevent him from berating the leaders after attacks on UN workers or violations of the Accords or affronts to his deep sense of humanity.

After the genocide had been raging for several weeks for all the world to see, he finally received a robust mandate from New York but not the forces needed to implement it. Virtually no nation (Canada having been the notable exception) was willing to send its soldiers into this raging conflict. Belgium had withdrawn its contingent after suffering a lethal blow—ten paratroopers deliberately targeted on the first day of the genocide. Still Dallaire worked away, fraying both his forces and his wits, until both seemed to give way. When his UN military observers (UNMOs) eventually questioned whether their patrols were worth the risks they entailed, he curtailed these missions. And when he noticed that, due in part to his inability to sleep, he was frequently daydreaming, losing his temper and repeating himself to his soldiers, he asked to be relieved early.

The last month in Rwanda was bittersweet for Dallaire. He witnessed the end of the most brutal phase of the genocide after the Rwandese Patriotic Front took Kigali on July 4 (though he wondered why they did not capture Kigali sooner). While he vehemently disagreed with the French Opération Turquoise that protected the Hutu population fleeing into Zaire, he used UNAMIR to minimize clashes between RPF and French forces. After the genocide had subsided, a number of embarrassed and guilty nations finally started sending troops, though it was, in Dallaire’s words, “too much, too late.” Towards the end of his term, he was honoured in front of his officers with Canada’s Meritorious Service Cross. Characteristically, he felt ashamed of “being decorated ahead of so many of my troops” (p.404) who had risked so much.

In telling his story, Dallaire has done the United Nations and the world a great service. He describes many of the troubles and tensions routinely found in UN peacekeeping operations that desperately need to be fixed (and gradually are being fixed), problems aggravated by the extreme stress of conditions in Rwanda. First, there was the headquarters-field tension. In New York, the staff of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) could not meet the mission’s desperate logistical needs, despite incessant demands made under extenuating circumstances. (The implementation of the UN’s Brahimi Report of 2000 is helping solve this problem.) A risk-averse leadership in New York proved unwilling to give UNAMIR flexibility in the interpretation of its mandate and DPKO provided minimal information or feedback to the peacekeepers in the field, leading Dallaire to believe that the belligerents were better informed than he about intentions in New York. Furthermore, the ridiculous restriction on the rules of engagement (“not to fire unless fired upon”) imposed by DPKO meant a peacekeeper could not shoot even if a gun was pointed at his head, and even if a massacre of innocents was being conducted in front of him. (Perhaps as a result of the Rwanda experience, the trend has been to make peacekeeping more robust or muscular, though this has meant, in some cases, shifting responsibility from the UN to organizations like NATO.) In New York, a hands-off and apparently uncaring Security Council, led by its Permanent members, did not even try to prevent the oncoming genocide. Before the slaughter, the US emphasis was on keeping costs down and even after the genocide had exploded onto the world scene the US avoided the word “genocide” for many weeks because of the legal obligation to act that this word implied under the 1948 Genocide Convention. (Memory of this negative experience may have influenced subsequent US policy. In 2004, for instance, Secretary of State Colin Powell would proudly point out that the US was the first nation to label the killings in Darfur, Sudan, as a genocide, though there has been, at the time of writing, little US commitment to action.) No doubt there was, and there remains, a deplorable lack of political will in the Security Council to take creative and forceful action to prevent atrocities, especially in Africa.

Within the field mission itself, Dallaire felt a number of tensions and failings. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), the “politico” who is head of mission, was passive and aloof, preferring to stay in luxury in Nairobi than be close to the action in Kigali when conditions worsened. SRSG Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh, who had been appointed by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, acted in ways partial to Hutu leaders, and rarely took the initiative, eventually isolating himself and his political staff from the rest of the mission. The value of a creative and competent SRSG was underlined after Booh-Booh resigned and was replaced by a dynamic and insightful individual, leaving Dallaire to “only dream of what Shaharyar Khan might have done for Rwanda if he had been the one who had led the mission from the start” (p.463). It was a similar case for the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), who handled the supply of goods and contracted services within a UN mission. Dallaire’s first CAO was parsimonious and a nitpicker, unable to push the New York bureaucracy and exacerbating the great shortages in the mission. This CAO eventually resigned in frustration when the rules were bent by SRSG Booh-Booh. (Though the selection of SRSG and CAO remains the prerogative of the Secretary-General and DPKO, one would hope that through gained experience better choices would be made. DPKO is currently instituting a civilian recruitment system where career paths can be made within UN peacekeeping so that good personnel are retained while poor ones are dropped.)

As in most peacekeeping missions, the national contingents arrive with wildly varying attitudes, training, leadership, equipment, competencies and commitments. Dallaire had to contend with the aggressive and colonial attitudes of some Belgian soldiers, though the Belgian contingent formed the backbone of his mission. (The Belgian Senate later advocated the policy that Belgium should not send peacekeepers to its former colonies.) The Belgian contingent commander, Colonel Luc Marchal, however, is portrayed as a very competent, dependable and committed Kigali sector commander, undeserving of the court-martial he received after his return to Belgium (which, fortunately, ended in acquittal). The Bangladeshi contingent came without the requisite equipment and, even more tragic, without permission to take the required risks. It became a burden on the mission and was evacuated at the outset of the genocide, embarrassing the UN even in the hasty and overly enthusiastic manner of its withdrawal. The Bangladeshi medical platoon was an exception, headed by a superb surgeon who performed marvels in an overwhelmed King Faisal Hospital. The Ghanaians receive uniform praise from Dallaire for courage, commitment and staying power. In fact, Dallaire wanted a Ghanaian Brigadier to take over command after he left, but the UN Secretary-General chose a Canadian instead. While Canada received poor marks for mission support prior to the genocide it was top of the class afterwards, as the only country to reinforce the mission in April and May 1994 (p.207). The risky Canadian Hercules flights into Kigali became the life-line of the mission during the genocide. The Canadian military observers and humanitarian teams also performed yeomen service.

In the book, Dallaire admits to some personal failings, though this was not the mea culpa that he first thought of writing. He wonders if he was adequately trained and experienced enough, this being his first field command and his first tour in Africa. He faults his inability to identify early the villainous “third force” that was behind the killings and assassinations, and he feels he was duped by the extremists, especially in the early hours of the genocide. In a bizarre turn, he even wonders if he was duped by the RPF and its leader Paul Kagame as the possible hidden hand behind the whole sordid affair, though all the evidence in the book points towards the Hutu extremists as sole authors and perpetrators of the genocide. Most importantly, he wears upon himself the burden of failing to find an effective solution and to gain sufficient international support for his force.

As a man of great conscience, Dallaire seems to take Rwanda’s burden onto his own shoulders. Doing that is as unbearable (he did try to commit suicide several times after the mission) as it is unfair. Dallaire did what he could, going far beyond the call of duty and making personal sacrifices that few UN commanders have ever made. Now, with this book, he does more good by describing his experiences for future generations of peacekeepers, policy makers and the world at large.

The book is a long read, no doubt, at over 500 pages. At times, it reads as easily as gripping fiction and feels as suspenseful as a thriller movie.1 Fortunately, the reader is aided by three maps, a 22-page glossary of terms and a thorough index to help sort things out. The heroes are, undoubtedly, the courageous peacekeepers but unlike fictional heroes they are unable to stop the tragedy, only to mitigate it a bit. At points, they seem to make huge mistakes. One is left wondering whether UNAMIR’s threats of withdrawal only encouraged the génocidaires and whether their efforts to establish a ceasefire between battling armies were misguided since it was the genocide within Hutu territory that should have been targeted. The mass slaughter would have raged on even if a ceasefire between forces had been achieved; perhaps it would even have gained strength as the Rwandese Government Forces could have devoted more resources to the macabre task. It was the RPF victory that eventually put a halt to this greatest of crimes against humanity (though the RPF were certainly not clear of responsibility for some atrocities themselves.) There was also the sad but usual UN penchant for dealing exclusively with official leaders, not getting to the real powerbrokers and troublemakers, e.g., the extremists who were the “spoilers” of the peace process. But UNAMIR was not permitted to stray from the restrictive instructions from New York.

Two shortcomings of the book can be cited. Dallaire does not tell the reader UNAMIR’s original mandate, which was contained in the Security Council resolution that created the mission. (Resolution 872 is not even mentioned.) Therefore the reader cannot judge how right or wrong were Dallaire’s superiors in New York when they claimed that his proposed actions were exceeding the mission’s mandate. Readers might be misled when Dallaire asserts that it was within his mandate to “provide security for the citizens of Kigali” (p.202) when, in fact, the resolution only gives him authority to “contribute to the security of Kigali”, a much weaker mandate. Secondly, Dallaire asserts that he could have stopped the genocide with a brigade of well trained and equipped troops but he does not tell us how that could have been done. We have to take him at his word and believe the conclusion of the “high ranking officers” (p.547) who analyzed his plan at a 1997 session at Georgetown University (where the judgment was, in fact, far from unanimous). Still, many (including this author) believe that Dallaire could have greatly mitigated, if not prevented, the genocide if it had he had been given the proper resources and mandate (see Dorn and Matloff, 2000).

The account is an intensely personal one and therefore presents a biased view of Rwanda and the UN mission, but Dallaire is self-critical and scrupulous about factual accuracy (demonstrating a fantastic memory). At times, especially towards the end of the book, the storyline becomes repetitive and somewhat tedious, leaving the impression that Dallaire is simply taking events out of his diary and presenting unnecessary details about unimportant meetings.

In the final analysis, however, any criticisms of Dallaire and his book are minor since he is rightfully a hero of humanity who has, in addition to his remarkable service within Rwanda, produced a monumental work about the tragedy of the UN in Rwanda, displaying admirable literary skills, an uncanny memory and great insight. The lessons of Rwanda are invaluable, and may already have been learned in part: witness the humanitarian interventions in Zaire, Kosovo and East Timor before the decade was over.

Dallaire was not only a proactive commander of UN forces but also the voice of humanity, working hard for peace and then denouncing and protesting after the abominable horrors had begun. In doing what he could with the limited means that he had, he has redeemed humanity in part, showing that courageous and committed individuals do exist.

The world must thank Dallaire for facing his demons and telling his story. He may not have been able to save the many lives that were lost but his account and his recommendations may yet save lives in the future. If only by increasing the awareness of the weaknesses and challenges of the UN, and indicating solutions, he is making the world a better place.



Dorn, A. Walter and Jonathan Matloff (2000), “Preventing the Bloodbath: Could the UN have Predicted and Prevented the Rwandan Genocide? ”, Journal of Conflict Studies , Vol. XX, No. 1 (Spring 2000), p. 9.


1. A movie drama called “Hotel Rwanda” was released in 2004, based, in part, on Dallaire’s experience, with the UN commander being a composite of several UNAMIR peacekeepers. A documentary based on the book and titled “Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire” was also released in 2004. with a dramatic plot line and a mysterious villain, but, being reality, it is a great deal more complex.


Cuban Missile Crisis Resolved: Untold Story of an Unsung Hero


Untold Story of an Unsung Hero


Originally published in The Ottawa Citizen under the headline “HE SAVED THE WORLD: Kennedy went ‘eyeball to eyeball’ with the Soviets, but the man in between them, U Thant, deserves much of the credit for averting nuclear war” (22 October 2007, p.A12). A detailed study was published in the journal Diplomatic History (pdf available here).

The last week of October 1962 witnessed the world’s closest brush with nuclear holocaust, the Cuban Missile Crisis. On 22 October 1962, President John Kennedy shocked the world by exposing publicly the clandestine placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba and imposing a US naval “quarantine” around Cuba directed at all Soviet bloc ships. With the superpowers on a collision course, war seemed imminent. Cities tested their air raid sirens; school children practiced their bomb drills. Thankfully, one side backed down. After the crisis, US Secretary of State Dean Rusk euphemistically characterized it: “We went eyeball to eyeball with the Russians, and the other guy blinked,” referring to Khrushchev’s decision to withdraw his missiles.

But this favourable result was not merely due to US military threats or even the Soviet leader’s common sense. There is another story hidden behind the nuclear showdown that transcends the contest of wills and that remains relevant today. A quiet unassuming UN Secretary-General, U Thant, actively mediated and helped resolve this nuclear confrontation. At the request of much of the UN member states he was able to push the leaders to step back from the brink to give diplomacy a change. His contribution was left unexplored for decades. US historians glossed over Thant’s part in the drama, depicting the conflict as a unilateral US victory achieved by Kennedy’s resolve and a strong military show of force, in which the US was willing to risk nuclear war. But both State Department documents and transcripts of tapes that Kennedy kept of his “crisis cabinet” meetings, as well as newly-unearthed UN archival documents, show that Thant’s mediation was vital in helping Kennedy and Khrushchev resolve their impasse. Indeed, Kennedy recognized the contribution but did not elaborate on it, simply saying: “U Thant has put the world deeply in his debt.”

Shortly after the blockade took effect October 24, when a naval conflict and an escalation to general war seemed likely, Thant took his first initiative. He successfully appealed to Kennedy and Khrushchev to allow time to resolve the crisis peacefully. This breathing space proved critical in allowing both leaders to face down their hardliners. Khrushchev turned back many of his ships, but kept others steaming to Cuba so as not to appear to back down entirely. Thant’s initiative then prompted Kennedy to ask Thant to follow up with a more detailed appeal to Khrushchev to keep his ships away “for a limited time” so an agreement could be worked out.

Thant sent this second appeal as his own proposal so it would not appear as an American initiative. Coming as a request for moderation from the UN Secretary-General rather than as a demand from his adversary, Khrushchev readily accepted the proposal and used it to save face while keeping his remaining ships away. US Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson later described Thant’s action to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “At a critical moment – when the nuclear powers seemed set on a collision course – the Secretary-General’s intervention led to the diversion of the Soviet ships headed for Cuba and interception by our Navy. This was the indispensable first step in the peaceful resolution of the Cuban crisis.” Thant’s went on to assist the parties deal with the two main issues of the conflict, namely the missiles in Cuba and Cuba’s security concerns.

In these tense negotiations Thant again played an important role. As Kennedy feared the short-range missiles in Cuba were about to become operational, he was under enormous pressure to attack Cuba. The most peaceful solution he could foresee involved a freeze on all missile activity and prolonged negotiations. Members of his advisory council, the Executive Committee, pushed for military solutions, including a first-strike against Cuba. But Thant proposed a faster and more reasonable solution. He suggested that the Russians dismantle their missiles in exchange for an American guarantee that the United States would not invade Cuba. Thant advocated this solution publicly in televised Security Council debates, then privately to ambassador Stevenson. He even phoned Secretary Rusk to push the idea. Two days later this became the basis for the superpower agreement, accompanied by a secret commitment made though Attorney-General Robert Kennedy to remove US missiles from Turkey.

During the hottest phase of the crisis, after a US U-2 spy plane was shot down, Thant’s initiatives exerted a powerful pacifying influence, especially on John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Dean Rusk. All three argued with their colleagues in favour of restraint rather than escalatory actions against Cuba. The President, in particular, cited Thant’s efforts as the basis for a hoped-for peaceful settlement, requiring some US restraint.

When agreement was finally reached and Castro threatened to upset it, Thant shuttled to Cuba at the end of October and convinced Castro to tone down his rhetoric. In support of Thant’s mission, Kennedy lifted the U.S. blockade and aerial overflights for two days.

Though Castro refused a UN supervisory force, which Kennedy and Khrushchev had agreed upon, Thant helped find a way to verify the missile removal. He facilitated high-level Soviet and American negotiations at the UN to work out a plan so that the returning missiles on Soviet ships could be viewed by US planes and ships.

Kennedy’s resolve played a role in this conflict, no doubt, but he also understood the need to give his opponent an honorable way out and how to use an internationally prominent and skilled mediator to do so. Kennedy made large concessions, including the withdrawal of US missiles from Turkey, and exercised enormous restraint, even to the point of refusing to give orders to attack the gunners that shot down the U-2 plane.

For the United Nations, the Cuban missile crisis turned out to be one of its finest moments, thanks to the skill of U Thant, however unsung has been his role afterwards. It was the week that a UN Secretary-General helped the superpowers to pull back from nuclear annihilation. As America considers its options with regard to a nuclearizing Iran and other dangerous confrontations, it would do well to consider and recognize the helpful role that the UN and its Secretary-General can and did play forty-five years ago.


Walter Dorn is a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and Chair of the Canadian Pugwash Group. Robert Pauk is a research associate and a former Canadian military officer and UN peacekeeper.


Arms Control  |  Canada  |  Conflict  |  Just War  |  Peace Operations  |  Religions & War/Peace  |  UN  |  Complete List


Tracking the Promises: Canada’s contributions to UN peacekeeping (html)
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Canada’s cluster bomb legislation: shamelessly flawed (iPolitics)
Chemical and nuclear Inspection agencies: OPCW/IAEA Comparison, IAEA Bulletin (html) (pdf)
Chemical Weapons Convention: an overview
Chemical Weapons Convention: compliance provisions
Chemical Weapons Convention: ratification testimony before the Foreign Affairs Committee (html) (full session)
Compliance Mechanisms in Disarmament Treaties (html) (pdf)
NPT Compliance and North Korea: carrots, sticks and bombs (html) (pdf) 
PAXSAT: a Canadian initiative in arms control
Satellite and Airborne Surveillance for Arms Control: workshop report
Small Arms, Human Security and Development (html) (pdf)
Treaties for Arms Control: tabulation (html) (pdf)
UN Should Verify Treaties  (pdf
UN Verification: case for a UN Verification Agency
Verification Agency Inside or Outside the UN? 


Canada & Peace Operations (by year)

Unprepared for Peace? Canadian Training for Peacekeeping (html) (pdf, 2016) (Fr) (CCPA) (Toronto Star Editorial) 
UN peacekeeping: Canada’s back? When? How? (Policy Options, 2017) 
Canada: The Once and Future Peacekeeper (pdf: enfr) (WFMC Book, 2017)
Back in the Game: Canada’s potential contributions to UN operations (2-pager for Defence Policy Review, 2017)
     (pdf: enfr(Update 2018, pdf: enfr)
Canadian Contributions to UN Peace Operations: House Defence Committee testimony 2018 (html)
     transcript (enfr); audio; handout graphs (pdf: enfr); 2-page brief (pdf: enfr, 2018); full report (pdf: en, fr)
     Senate Security/Defence Committee (2016): testimony (en, fr) (full report pdf: en, fr)
Peacekeeping Training in Canada (html) (International Journal) (2018)
Tracking the Promises: Canada’s contributions to UN peacekeeping (html)  (2019) ** Updated mid-monthly **

Op-eds (by year)

Canada Pulls Out of Peacekeeping (Globe and Mail op-ed, 2006)
Where are Our Peacekeepers? (Toronto Star op-ed, 2009)
It’s Time to Keep the Peace Again (National Post op-ed, 2011)
Canada Moves Further from Peacekeeping  (Toronto Star op-ed, 2013)
A return of Canada, the Peacekeeper (html) (Open Canada) (pdf, 2015)
Canada to keep the peace again (html) (Hill Times op-ed) (pdf, 2016)
Canada dithers on peacekeeping committment (html) (Ottawa Citizen, 2017)
Trudeau Government’s Rhetoric on Peacekeeping Has Priority Over Action (Ottawa Citizen, 2017)
What happened to Trudeau’s peacekeeping promise? (html) (Toronto Star) (version en français)




The International Criminal Court and the Crime of Aggression
Arms Control 



Afghanistan: give peacekeeping a chance (html) (pdf)
Air Power in UN Operations: Four Facets (html) (pdf)
AIR POWER IN UN OPERATIONS: Wings for Peace (Ashgate/Routledge, 2014) (full contents, pdfs)
Bosnia Security Sector Reform (pdf)
Canada: See section Canada & Peace Operations (above)
Central African Republic: Opportunity for Canadian peacekeeping (html)

Combat Air Power in the Congo, 2003– (html)
Cyberpeacekeeping: A New Role for the United Nations? (html) (pdf(digest in Peace Magazine)
East Timor: personal encounters with militias
First UN “Air Force”: peacekeepers in combat, Congo 1960-64 (html) (pdf) 
Gaming Peace: A Call for Peacekeeper Roles (Defence Report link) (html 
Mandates of peace ops (lists and extracts): Traditional, Multidimensional, Summary 
Peace Operations: Terms & Definitions (for House Defence Committee) (pdf: en, fr annex)

Peacekeeping Then, Now and Always (html) (pdf
Protecting Civilans with force: Haiti (html) (pdf) (Routledge)
Regional Peacekeeping Is Not the Way (html) (pdf)
Rwanda: “Preventing the Bloodbath”, could the UN have predicted & prevented the genocide? (html) (pdf)
The Peacekeepers Film Study Guide (pdf), NFB (en, fr)
UN Humanitarian Air Service: Flying Humanitarians (html) (pdf)
Web links on Peacekeeping

Who is Dying for Peace? (Fatalities in Peacekeeping) (html) (pdf)

Peacekeeping Intelligence  

Congo: Intelligence and Peacekeeping: the UN Operation in the Congo 1960-64 (html) (pdf)
Haiti: Intelligence-led Peacekeeping: the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (html) 
Human Security Intelligence (pdf)
Intelligence-Gathering in UN Peacekeeping: the limits (html) (pdf)
Lebanon: Aerial Surveillance 1958 (html) (pdf)
Mali: Evolution of Peacekeeping Intelligence (html) (pdf)
Namibia: Crisis warning 1989 (html) (pdf)
UN Headquarters Intelligence: Zaire 1996 (html) (pdf)
UN Peacekeeping Intelligence, chapter in Oxford Handbook (html, OUP access) (pdf1) (pdf2)

Technology in Peace Ops

Airships for Humanitarian & UN Peace Operations? (html) (pdf)
Give the Peacekeepers Tools They Need (html) (National Post op-ed) 
High-tech peacekeeping (html) (pdf)
Innovative Technology: Mission-Multiplier (2017 Vancouver Ministerial) (enfr) (pdf: enfr)
KEEPING WATCH: Monitoring, Technology and Innovation in UN Peace Operations (contents, full pdf)

Performance Peacekeeping: technology and innovation in UN peacekeeping (UN panel, 2015) (pdf 11 MB)
Smart Peacekeeping: Toward Tech-Enabled Operations (Exec Summary html) (IPI) (pdf, 1.4  MB)
Smartphones for Smart Peacekeeping
Surveillance in Cyprus: UN peacekeeping force (html) (pdf)
Technologie: le maintien de la paix à la fine pointe de la technologie? (html link) (pdf)
Tools of the Trade? monitoring and surveillance technologies for UN peacekeeping (pdf)
Tracking Peacekeepers in Real-time (html) (pdf) (IPI version, pdf)
UAVs in UN operations: Eye in the Sky (pdf)
UN Drones: “Les drones onusiens pour le maintien de la paix” (fr, pdf)



Hinduism’s Rāmāyaṇa and the Just War (html) (pdf)
Lotus on the Lake: eastern spirituality & world peace (html) (pdf)
Modern Sikh Warriors (html) (pdf
The Sword and the Turban: armed force in Sikh thought (html) (pdf)
U Thant: Buddhism in action (html) (pdf)

War & Peace in World Religions (Scriptural Justifications):
Part I: Abrahamic religions (pdf)
Part II: religions of Indic origin (pdf) 
Part III: comparison of seven world religions (pdf) (yumpu view)

   Religions on War/Peace Page


>> Citations of publications by “A. Walter Dorn”: Google Scholar; Google Scholar Profile and Google Books.

Publications – Complete List

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For complete list of publications, see: pdf (Nov 2019). 


(Publications are single author unless otherwise noted.)


Air Power in UN Operations: Wings of Peace, W. Dorn (ed.), Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, UK. July 2014, 350 pp. (web:

Keeping Watch: Monitoring, Technology and Innovation in UN Peace Operations, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2011, 273 pp. (web:; UNU Press)

World Order for a New Millennium: Political, Cultural and Spiritual Approaches to Building Peace, A. Walter Dorn (ed.), St. Martin’s Press, New York, and Macmillan Press, London, 1999, 288 pp.

Treaty Compliance: Some Concerns and Remedies, Canadian Council on International Law and Markland Group (W. Dorn et al., eds.), Kluwer Law International, The Hague, 1998, 144 pp.

Disarmament’s Missing Dimension: A UN Agency to Administer Multilateral Treaties, Douglas Scott, George Alexandowicz, A. Walter Dorn, Michael Greenspoon, Jennie Hatfield‑Lyon and Gerald Morris, Samuel Stevens, Toronto, 1990, 150 pp.

Peace-keeping Satellites: The Case for International Surveillance and Verification, Peace Research Reviews, vol. X, Parts 5&6, July 1987, 184 pp.


War and Peace in the Scriptures of World Religions [three parts already published online by Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) as listed below; hard copy (book), publisher yet to be determined], approx. 400 pp.

Global Watch: UN Monitoring and the Evolution of International Organization, United Nations University Press or Palgrave-Macmillan [both requested first right of refusal].


Smart Peacekeeping: Tech-Enabled UN OperationsProviding for Peacekeeping No. 13, International Peace Institute, New York, July 2016. (IPI webpage, pdf, 1.4 MB)

Unprepared for Peace? The Decline of Canadian Peacekeeping Training (and What to Do About It), by A. Walter Dorn and Joshua Libben, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Rideau Institute, February 2016 (online at CCPA) (pdf

Performance Peacekeeping: Final Report of the Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping (Ib Bager, Walter Dorn, Michael Fryer, Jane Holl Lute and Abhijit Guha), United Nations, 2015, 144 pp. (online, pdf 11 MB)

Tools of the Trade? Monitoring and Surveillance Technologies for UN Peacekeeping, Peacekeeping Best Practices Unit, Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), United Nations, New York, 2007, 70 pp. (UN-commissioned independent study tabled and orally presented to the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, 5 March 2007, and formally welcomed in the Committee’s 2007 annual report)

Blue Sensors: Technology and Cooperative Monitoring for UN Peacekeeping, Occasional Paper 36, Cooperative Monitoring Centre, Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, SAND2004-1380, 2004, 43 pp. (Available onlineA revised and updated version was circulated by Col. M. Hanrahan, Cdn Mil. Adviser, to the Military and Police Advisers Community (MPAC) in New York, December 2004.

The Compliance Provisions in the Chemical Weapons Convention: A Summary and Analysis, A. Walter Dorn and Douglas Scott, PSIS Occasional Paper Number 2/1995 (Programme for Strategic and International Security Studies), Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, 1995, 69 pp. Available online.

Index to the Chemical Weapons Convention, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), Geneva, 1993, 66 pp. (UN Sales No. GV.E.93.0.13). [Abridged version published in “The Chemical Weapons Convention with Selective Index,” United Nations, New York, 1994 (UN Sales No. E.95.IX.2)]

Controlling the Global Arms Threat: Technologies for Arms Control Verification in the 1990s, P. Brogden & W. Dorn (eds.), Canadian Centre for Arms Control & Disarmament, Ottawa, 1992, 102 pp.



“Protecting Civilians with Force: Lessons and Dilemmas from the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti,” in The Use of Force in UN Peacekeeping, Peter Nadin (Ed.), Routledge, 2018, pp.124–144.  (html) (pdf) (Routledge)

“The Evolution of Peacekeeping Intelligence: The UN’s Laboratory in Mali,” (by Sebastiaan J. H. Rietjens, and A. Walter Dorn) in E. Braat, F. Baudet and J. van Woensel (eds.) In Between Learning and Law. Perspectives on Military Intelligence from the First World War to Mali, T.M.C. Asser Press, The Hague, July 2017. (book info)

“Keeping the Peace: UNFICYP and its Electronic Eyes on the Green Line”, in Contemporary Social and Political Aspects of the Cyprus Problem, Jonathan Warner (ed.), Cambridge Scholars Press, 2016, pp.156–175. (book info)

“Le hoja de maple y el casco azul: la experiencia de Canadá en las operaciones de mantenimiento de la paz de la Organizacion de las Naciones Unidas,” (translation of “The Maple Leaf and the Blue Beret: Canada’s Experience in UN Peacekeeping”) in México y las operaciones de mantenimiento de la paz de las Naciones Unidas: retos y oportunidades,”  María Cristina Rosas (ed.), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Mexico City, 2015, pp.71–109.

“Peacekeepers in Combat: Fighter Jets and Bombers in the Congo, 1961–63,” in A. Walter Dorn (ed.), Air Power in UN Operations: Wings for Peace, Ashgate, Farnham, UK, 2014, pp.17–39. [using parts, with permission, from a longer article in J. Military History]

“Flying Humanitarians: The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service” (A. Walter Dorn and Ryan Cross) in A. Walter Dorn (ed.), Air Power in UN Operations: Wings for Peace, Ashgate, Farnham, UK, 2014, pp.101–133.

“Aerial surveillance: Eyes in the Sky” in A. Walter Dorn (ed.), Air Power in UN Operations: Wings for Peace, Ashgate, Farnham, UK, 2014, pp.119–133. [Reprinted (with permission) from Keeping Watch: Monitoring, Technology and Innovation in UN Peace Operations].

“UN Observation Group in Lebanon: Aerial Surveillance During a Civil War, 1958”, in A. Walter Dorn (ed.), Air Power in UN Operations: Wings for Peace, Ashgate, Farnham, UK, 2014, pp.135–145.

“Combat Air Power in the Congo, 2004–,” in A. Walter Dorn (ed.), Air Power in UN Operations: Wings for Peace, Ashgate, Farnham, UK, 2014, pp. 241–253.

“Human Security Intelligence: Towards a Comprehensive Understanding of Humanitarian Crises” by Fred Bruls and Walter Dorn, in Open Source Intelligence in the Twenty-First Century: New Approaches and Opportunities, Christopher Hobbs, Matthew Moran and Daniel Salisbury (eds.), Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp.123–144. (info)

“The Just War Index: Comparing Warfighting and Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan,” in Davis Brown and Henrik Syse (eds.), The Just War Tradition: Applying Old Ethics to New Problems, Routledge, Abingdon, UK, 2014, pp.119-139. [Reprint of paper published in J. Military Ethics (2011).]

“Les drones onusiens pour le maintien de la paix – Des premier pas sous haute surveillance” (par Damien Larramendy, Etienne Tremplay-Champagne et Walter Dorn, Guide du Maintien de la Paix 2013, Réseau de Recherche sur les Opération de Paix, Montréal, 2014, pp.31–50.

“O Capacete Azul e a folha de bordo: As contribuições do Canadá para as Operações de Paz da ONU,” (translation of “The Maple Leaf and the Blue Beret: Canada’s Contributions to UN Peacekeeping”) by A. Walter Dorn and Robert Pauk, in O Brasil e as Operações de Paz em un Mundo Globalizado, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Institute of Applied Economic Research,, Brazilia, 2012, pp.119-157. (pdf)

“Warfighting, Counterinsurgency and Peacekeeping in Afghanistan: Three Strategies Evaluated in the Light of Just War Theory” in Gary D. Badcock and Darren Marks (eds.), War, Human Dignity, and Nation Building: Theological Perspectives on Canada’s Role in Afghanistan, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011, pp.15-69.

“Operaciones de mantenimiento de la paz en el nuevo siglo: por un México del siglo XXI,” in María Cristina Rosas (ed.), La seguridad internacional en el siglo XXI: retos y oportunidades para México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 2010, pp.249-271.

“United Nations Peacekeeping Intelligence” in Loch Johnson (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence, Oxford University Press, New York, 2010, pp.275-295.

“Canada’s Honourable Role as a Peacekeeping Nation” in Lucia Kowaluk and Steven Staples (eds.), Afghanistan and Canada: Is There an Alternative to War? Black Rose Books, Montreal / New York / London, 2009, pp.275-283.

“Tecnología para el Monitoreo en las operaciones de mantenimiento de la paz de las Naciones Unidas,” in Maria Cristina Rosas (ed.), Las operaciones de mantenimiento de la paz de las Naciones Unidas: lecciones desde el mundo, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Mexico City, 2008, pp.169-215.

“U Thant: Buddhism in Action,” in Kille, Kent (ed.), The UN Secretary-General and Moral Authority: Ethics and Religion in International Leadership, Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC, 2007, pp.143-186. Available online.

“Intelligence at UN Headquarters: The Information and Research Unit and the Intervention in Eastern Zaire (1996)” in David Carment and Martin Rudner (eds.), Peacekeeping Intelligence: New Players, Extended Boundaries, London: Routledge (an imprint of Taylor and Francis Group PLC), 2006. Available online.

“Operaciones de paz: una orgullosa tradición canadiense” (Spanish translation of “Peacekeeping: A Proud Canadian Tradition”) in Maria Christina Rosas (ed.), in Les operaciones de mantenimiento de la paz de las Naciones Unidas: lecciones para México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Mexico City, 2005, pp.123-153.

“Early and Late Warning by the UN Secretary-General of Threats to the Peace: Article 99 Revisited” in Albrecht Schnabel and David Carment, (eds.), Conflict Prevention From Rhetoric to Reality: vol. 1: Organizations and Institutions, Lexington Books, Lantham, MD, USA, 2004, pp.305-344.

“Taking Stock of Security Sector Reform in Bosnia 1995-2002,” A. Walter Dorn and Jeremy King, in Bridges to Peace: Ten Years of Conflict Management in Bosnia, Charles Pentland (ed.), Centre for International Relations, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, 2003, pp.63-96.

“Globalization, Inequity and Technology” in Jasjit Singh (ed.), in Peace in the New Millennium, Knowledge World, New Delhi, 2002, pp.163-69. (Also published in Pugwash Newsletter, vol. 39, no. 1, June 2002, pp.21-24.)

“Compliance Mechanisms and Agencies for Arms Control” (first draft, Chapter 3), Coming to Terms with Security: A Handbook on Verification and Compliance, Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC), London, 2003.

“Early Warning and Late Warning by the UN Secretary-General of Threats to the Peace: Article 99 Revisited,” in Ted Woodcock, and David Davis (eds.), Analysis for Crisis Response and Societal Reconstruction, Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, NS, 2001, pp.357-381.

“Of Guns and Goods: Small Arms, Human Security and Development” in M.V. Naidu (ed.), Perspectives on Human Security: National Sovereignty and Humanitarian Intervention, CPREA, Brandon University, 2001, pp.109-129. Available online.

“UN Information-Gathering for Peace and Security” in Peter Hajnal (ed.), International Information: Documents, Publications and Information Systems of International Governmental Organizations, Libraries Unlimited, Englewood, CO, 2001, pp.275-297. Available online.

“Technologies for United Nations Peace Operations” in Technologies for Peace: Improving the Effectiveness of Multilateral Interventions (Jeremiah Sullivan, ed.), Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security (ACDIS), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001, pp.37-54.

“Compliance Mechanisms in Disarmament Treaties,” A. Walter Dorn and Douglas Scott in Trevor Findlay (ed.), Verification Yearbook 2000, Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC), London, UK, 2000, pp.229-247. Available online at

“Carrots, Sticks and Bombs: Securing Disarmament Treaty Compliance Without a World Police” in A. Walter Dorn (ed.), World Order for a New Millennium, St. Martin’s Press (New York) and Macmillan Press (UK), 1999, pp.25-34.

“A Vision for the UN in the Twenty-First Century” in A. Walter Dorn (ed.), World Order for a New Millennium, St. Martin’s Press (New York) and Macmillan Press (UK), 1999, pp.118-135. Available online.

“Early Warning and Late Warning by the UN Secretary-General: Article 99 Revisited,” in Suzanne Schmeidl, Synergies in Early Warning, Columbia International Affairs Online ( sec/dlc/ciao), 1998. [Published subsequently in revised and updated version.]

“Keeping Watch for Peace: Fact-finding by the UN Secretary-General,” in E. Fawcett, and H. Newcombe, United Nations Reform: Looking Ahead after Fifty Years, Science for Peace, Toronto, 1995, pp.138-154.

“Keeping Watch for Peace: Fact-finding by the UN Secretary-General” in J. Altmann, T. Stock, and J-P Stroot (eds.), Verification After the Cold War: Broadening the Process, VU University Press, Amsterdam, 1994, pp.308-317.



“Eliminating Hidden Killers: How Can Technology Help Humanitarian Demining?” Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, 8(1): 5 (2019), pp.1–17. (html) (pdf)

“Cyberpeacekeeping: New Ways to Prevent and Manage Cyberattacks (with Stewart Webb), International Journal of Cyber Warfare and Terrorism (IJCWT), 9:1 (March 2019). (html) (pdf)

“Preparing for Peace: Myths and Realities of Canadian Peacekeeping Training,” International Journal, 73:2, pp.257–281 (July 2018). (html)(pdf)

“Airships in UN Humanitarian and Peace Operations: Ready for Service?” (by A. Walter Dorn, Nicolas Baird and Robert Owen), Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education and Research, 27:2, pp.41–57 (May 2018). (JAAER)(pdf)

“Modern Sikh Warriors: Militants, Soldiers, Citizens” (by Walter Dorn and Stephen Gucciardi), Journal of Military Ethics, 16:3–4, 272–285 (2017). (html)(pdf)(JME)

“Cyberpeacekeeping: A New Role for the United Nations?” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 18:3 (Fall 2017), pp.138–146. (html)(pdf)(GJIA)

“Eyes in the Sky for Peacekeeping: the Emergence of UAVs in UN Operations,” (by A. Walter Dorn and Stewart Webb) in Loch K. Johnson, “An INS Special Forum: Intelligence and Drones,” Intelligence and National Security,  32:4, 413-417 (June 2017). (T&F, html, pdf)

“New Technology for Peace and Protection: Expanding the R2P Toolbox,” by Lloyd Axworthy and A. Walter Dorn, Daedalus (Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences), 145 (4) (Fall 2016).

 “Blue Mission Tracking: Real-Time Location of UN Peacekeepers” by A. Walter Dorn and Christoph Semken, International Peacekeeping, vol. 22, no. 5 (2015), pp.1–20. (html, T&F) (pdf)

“NATO’s Libya Campaign 2011: How Just or Unjust?” by Andrew Wedgwood and A. Walter Dorn, Diplomacy & Statecraft, vol. 16, no. 2 (2015), pp.341–362. (html(html-tandf) (pdf)

“How Just Were America’s Wars? A Survey of Experts Using a Just War Index” by A. Walter Dorn, Walter, David Mandel and Ryan Cross, International Studies Perspectives, 2014 (Wiley; pdf).

“Eyes on the Green Line: Human and Technological Surveillance by the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus,” Intelligence and National Security, vol. 29, no. 2 (November 2013), pp.184–207. (html, pdf; TandF).

“The UN’s First ‘Air Force’: Peacekeepers in Combat, Congo 1960–64”, J. Military History, vol. 77, no. 4 (October 2013), pp.523–556. (pdf)

“True or False Alarm? The United Nations and Threats to Namibian Independence 1989” by A. Walter Dorn, Robert Pauk, and Emily Cope Burton, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, vol. 26, iss. 3, 2013, pp.507–529. (IJICI, html, pdf)

“Violence in the Valmiki Ramayana: Just War Criteria Reflected in an Ancient Indian Epic,” Raj Balkaran and A. Walter Dorn, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, vol. 80, Iss. 2 (July 2012), pp.659–690. (JAAR; html; pdf)

“The Just War Index: Comparing Warfighting and Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan,” J. Military Ethics, vol. 10, no. 3 (2011). (Available online: JME; pdf; html)

“The Sword and the Turban: Armed Force in Sikh Thought,” A. Walter Dorn and Stephen Gucciardi, J. Military Ethics, vol. 10, no. 1 (2011), pp.52-70. (Available online: JME; pdf, html, re-published with permission and acknowledgement in the The Sikh Review (Calcutta, India), July 2012.)

“Intelligence-Led Peacekeeping: The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), 2006-07,” Intelligence and National Security, vol. 24, no. 6, pp.805-835, December 2009. Available online (pdf).

“Unsung Mediator: U Thant and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” (with Robert Pauk), Diplomatic History, vol. 33, Issue 2 (April 2009), pp.261-292. Available online (pdf). [Reviewed in H-Diplo in 2009.]

“Fatally Flawed: The Rise and Demise of the ‘Three Block War’ Concept in Canada,” International Journal, vol. 63, Iss. 2 (Autumn 2008), pp.967-978.

“Response to ‘Michael Ignatieff, Idealism and the Challenge of the Lesser Evil’,” by A. Walter Dorn and Mike Varey, International Journal, vol. 62, Iss. 3 (Summer 2007) pp.707-710.

“Canadian Peacekeeping: Proud Tradition, Strong Future?” Canadian Foreign Policy, vol. 12, no. 2, Winter 2005-2006, pp.105-106. Available online.

“Intelligence at UN Headquarters? The Information and Research Unit and the Intervention in Eastern Zaire (1996),” Intelligence and National Security, vol. 20, no. 3, Sept. 2005, pp.440-465. Available online.

“The United Nations as a Spiritual Institution,” Interreligious Insight, vol. 3, no. 2 (April 2005), pp.30-37. Available online at 2005/April05Dorn.html.

“An Unprecedented Experiment: Security Sector Reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina” (co-authored with J. King), Saferworld Report, co-published by Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC), Bonn, and Saferworld, London, September 2002, 44 pp. Available online at .

“Lotus on the Lake: How Eastern Spirituality Contributes to the Vision of World Peace,” J. Oriental Studies, vol. 39, no. 2 (2000), Tokyo, pp.106-122 (Japanese translation). [English published in J. Oriental Studies, vol. 11, Dec 2001, pp.156-166, available at; reprinted in the Living Buddhism, vol. 6, no. 12, December 2002, pp.4-10; excerpts published in Today’s Youth, February 2003, Kathmandu, Nepal, p.24.]

“Preventing the Bloodbath: Could the UN have Predicted and Prevented Genocide in Rwanda?” A.W. Dorn and J. Matloff, Journal of Conflict Studies, vol. XX, no. 1 (Spring 2000), pp.9-52. Available online. A longer version published as A. Walter Dorn, Jonathan Matloff and Jennifer Matthews, Occasional Paper #24, Peace Studies Program, Cornell University, November 1999, 62 pp. Available at

“The Cloak and the Blue Beret: Limitations on Intelligence in UN Peacekeeping,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counter‑Intelligence, vol. 12, no. 4 (December 1999), pp.414-447. [Published with acknowledgement of the earlier and longer piece in the Pearson Papers.] Available online.

“The Cloak and the Blue Beret: The Limits of Intelligence Gathering in UN Peacekeeping,” Pearson Paper Number 4, Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, Nova Scotia, 1999.

“Securing Compliance with Disarmament Agreements: Carrots, Sticks and the Case of North Korea,” A.W. Dorn and A. Fulton, Global Governance, vol. 3, no. 1, 1997, pp.17-40. Available online.

“Keeping Tabs on a Troubled World: UN Information-Gathering to Preserve Peace,” Security Dialogue, vol. 27(3), September 1996, pp.263-76. Available online.

“Intelligence and Peacekeeping: The UN Operation in the Congo 1960-64,” A. Walter Dorn and David J.H. Bell, International Peacekeeping, vol. 2, no. 1 (Spring 1995), pp.11-33. Available online.

– A shortened version of this paper was republished (with permission and acknowledgement) in Serge Bernier (ed.) Peacekeeping, 1815 to Today, XXIst Colloquium of the International Commission of Military History, Dept. of National Defence, Canada, 1995, pp.579-591.

– Also republished as a “Seminal Past Publication” in Ben de Jong, Wies Platje and Robert David Steele (eds.), Peacekeeping Intelligence: Emerging Concepts for the Future, OSS International Press, Virginia, 2003, pp.253-280.

“U.N. Should Verify Treaties,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 46, no. 6 (July/August, 1990), pp.12‑13.

List of refereed journals: Canadian Foreign Policy, Diplomatic History, Global Governance, Intelligence and National Security, International Journal, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, International Peacekeeping, Interreligious Insight, Journal of Conflict Studies, Journal of Military Ethics, Journal of Military History, Journal of Oriental Studies, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Security Dialogue.


“Humanitarian Demining: An Old Problem Needing New Tools,” Defence Report, 16 September 2019.

“What happened to Trudeau’s peacekeeping promise?” The Toronto Star, 22 August 2019, p.A15.

“The Battle for Peacetech,” United Nations Technology and Innovation Lab (UNTIL), 28 June 2019.

“Peacekeeping Promises: Kept or Broken?” in John Trent (ed.), The United Nations and Canada: What Canada Could and Should Do at the United Nations 2018: A Question of Leadership, World Federalist Movement – Canada, 2018. ( (pdf:  Dorn paper, entire booklet).

“Gaming Peace: A Call for Peacekeeper Roles,” (by A. Walter Dorn & Stewart Webb), Defence Report, 23 July 2018.

“Cyberpeacekeeping: the Challenge,” Peace Magazine, vol. 34, no. 1, p.27, 30 (January–March 2018).

“Beyond Troops: Possible Canadian Contributions to NATO in Three Areas Outside of Military Operations,” (by Danielle Stodilka and Walter Dorn), Defence Report, 28 November 2017.

“Trudeau Government’s Rhetoric on Peacekeeping Has Priority Over Action,” Ottawa Citizen, Defence Watch (Guest Writer), 15 November 2017.

“Canada: The Once and Future Peacekeeper” in The United Nations and Canada: What Canada Has Done and Should Be Doing for UN Peace Operations, John E. Trent (Ed.), World Federalist Movement – Canada, November 2017, pp.12–13. (Article as pdf: EnFr) (Full booklet as pdf: EnFr)

“UN peacekeeping: Canada’s back? When? How?” Policy Options, 7 November 2017.

“Advanced Technology Saves Lives in Kidal, Mali,” iSeek (UN intranet), June 2017.

“Field Technology Sense-and-Warn System Saves Lives in Kidal Attack,” Field Technology website, UN intranet, 23 June 2017.

 “Canada dithers on its peacekeeping commitments – and loses credibility for it,” (by Fergus Watt and Walter Dorn), Ottawa Citizen, 21 March 2017 (link).

“Sikhism and War” (by Stephen Gucciardi and A. Walter Dorn) in War and Religion: An Encyclopedia of Faith and Conflict, and other encyclopedia entries (Adi Granth, Baba Dip Singh, Banda Singh Bahadur, Battle of Sirhind, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Dasam Granth, Dharam Yudh Sikhism, Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Gobind Singh, Guru Nanak, Khalsa, Sant Sipahi, Sikhism and War), 2017 (encyclopedia info).

 “Canada keeping the peace once again,” opinion piece, The Hill Times, 30 August 2016, available online: The Hill Times, html.

 “Wings for Peace: The Four Facets of Air Power in UN Operations,” Penser les ailes françaises (journal of the French Air Force), no. 32 (2015) (pdf; full issue pdf).

“The UN at 70: A return of Canada, the Peacekeeper,” Open Canada (online), 24 October 2015.

“How Just or Unjust was NATO’s Libya Campaign 2011?”, Defence Report, weekly recap, 17 July 2015.

 “Tracking the Blue:  Phone and Vehicle Location Systems for UN Peacekeeping,” New Issues in Peacekeeping, International Peace Institute, 2015, 20 pp. (html, pdf)

 “Torture in Somalia and Afghanistan” in Kirk W. Goodlet, Roger Sarty and Alistair Edgar, Canada in Africa: Addressing Insecurity in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, LCMSDS Press /  Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2015, pp.69–74.

“The Opportunity for Air power in Peace Operations” (excerpts from the “Preface” in Air Power in UN Operations: Wings for Peace), Vanguard magazine, October/November 2014, pp. 38–39 (pdf).

“Unprepared for Peace: A Decade of Decline in Canadian Peacekeeping,” in The United Nations and Canada: What Canada Has Done and Should be Doing at the United Nations, John E. Trent (ed.), World Federalist Movement Canada, Ottawa, September 2014, pp.14–15 (html, pdf: En; Fr) (entire booklet, pdf: En; Fr) (2013 version: html, pdf-WFC)

“Air Power in UN Operations: A Bibliography,” by A. Walter Dorn and Ryan Cross, online, 2014.

“Shameless: Canada’s cluster bomb policy,” iPOLITICS, 6 December 2013 (html).

“A Tribute to Major General (Ret’d) Leonard V. Johnson,” Science for Peace Bulletin, vol. 33, no. 2 (December 2013), p.5.

“Just Wars, Unjust Wars, and Everything In Between,” Peace Magazine, vol. 29, no.1 (January-March 2013), pp.6-9. (Available online at Peace Magazine and in pdf).

“The Closest Brush: How a UN Secretary-General Averted Doomsday” (A. Walter Dorn and Robert Pauk), Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 68, no. 6 (November/December 2012) (available online), 6 pp. (Globe and Mail article by Paul Koring published on this research; quote used in The Guardian.)

“The UN Mediator Who Prevented Doomsday,” Embassy magazine, 24 October 2012, p.8.

“Between the superpowers in the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Ottawa Citizen, 15 October 2012.

“50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis: Give credit to UN Secretary General U Thant” (A. Walter Dorn and Robert Pauk), Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, online, 2 pp., 12 October 2012.

“Intel and Early Warning: Peacekeeping’s High Tech Imperative” (A.W. Dorn and R. Cross), Vanguard: Canada’s Premier Defence and Security Magazine, February/March 2012, pp.26–27. (Available online).

« Le maintien de la paix à la fine pointe de la technologie? », Bulletin du ROP (Réseau francophone de recherche sur les opérations de paix), 8 décembre 2011. Available online.

“Give the Peacekeepers Tools They Need,” National Post, 26 September 2011. (A.Walter Dorn and Peter Langille). Available online.

“Smartphones for Smart Peacekeeping,” by Nicholas C. Martin, Charles Martin-Shields, and A. Walter Dorn, The Mark (, published online, 2 June 2011.

“It’s Time to Keep the Peace Again,” (with Dominic Leger), National Post, 6 June 2011. Available online.

“The Crime of Aggression,” Peace Magazine, Summer 2010, vol. 26, no. 3 (July-Sept 2010), p.31.

“Give Peacekeeping a Chance in Afghanistan,” Esprit de Corps, vol. 16, Issue 11 (December 2009), p.12&45. Republished in the Ottawa Citizen’s Defence Watch (David Pugliese), 4 December 2009.

“The Rise and Demise of the ‘Three Block War’ Concept,” Canadian Military Journal, vol. 10, no. 1, Fall 2009, pp.38-45. [Requested by the journal accepting to acknowledge an earlier version published in the International Journal in 2008.]

“Balance the Mission, Re: ‘Peacekeeping Reloaded?’ by Cam Ross,” Letter to the Editor, Calgary Herald, 23 August 2009. Available online.

“Where are Our Peacekeepers?” by W. Dorn and P. Langille, Toronto Star, 8 August 2009, p.IN6. Available online. Also published in the Edmonton Journal under the title “Where have all the peacekeepers gone?” 12 August 2009, p.A19, available online, and as “Where have All the Canadian Peacekeepers Gone” in the Georgia Straight, 7 August 2009, available online,.

“Who is Dying for Peace? A Statistical Analysis of Peacekeeping Fatalities,” Annual Review of Global Peace Operations 2008, Lynne Rienner, Boulder, 2007, p.70.

“He Saved the World: Kennedy went ‘eyeball to eyeball’ with the Soviets, but the man in between them, U Thant, deserves much of the credit for averting nuclear war,” W. Dorn and R. Pauk, Ottawa Citizen, 22 October 2007, p.A11.

“Technology for Peacekeeping: Tools of the Trade?” Peace Magazine, vol. 23, no. 3, July-September 2007, p.16. (Subsequently reprinted in , Issue 6 – September, 2007).

“Afghanistan and UN Peacekeeping: A Canadian’s Perspective.” Ahimsa Nonviolence (journal of the International Gandhian Institute for Nonviolence and Peace, Kadavur, India), vol. 12, 2007.

“Militias in East Timor: Personal Encounters,” Today’s Youth Asia, no. 9 (March-April 2007), pp.26-29.

“Canadian Peacekeeping: No Myth—But Not What It Once Was,” SITREP: A Publication of Royal Canadian Military Institute, vol. 67, no. 2 (March-April 2007), pp.5-10.

“Ignatieff’s Writings,” W. Dorn and Mike Varey, Letter to the Editor, Peace Magazine, vol. XXIII, Issue 1, January/March 2007, p.5.

“‘The Peacekeepers’ Study Guide” (with Col. M.E. Hanrahan; accompanies the Special Edition DVD Set of the Film “The Peacekeepers”), National Film Board of Canada, Montreal, 2006, available online at NFB.

“You are a Canadian Peacekeeper,” The Thin Blue Line (Newsletter of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping), Fall 2006 (15 December 2006), pp.29-30.

“For the Record: Things Could Be Different for Canada’s Troops,” Embassy (magazine), 25 March 2006, p.6. (Extract of Globe and Mail article.)

“Canada Pulls Out of Peacekeeping,” Globe and Mail, Commentary, 27 March 2006.

“Peacekeeping Then, Now and Always,” Canadian Military Journal, vol. 6, no. 4 (Winter 2005), pp.205-06.

“The Development Costs of Arms Procurement in India,” A.W. Dorn and B. Nepram, Table 1 in Guns or Growth? Assessing the Impact of Arms Sales on Sustainable Development, Control Arms Campaign, June 2004, p.21, available online.

“UN Peace Monitoring: An Emerging Global Watch?” Pugwash Newsletter, vol. 40, no. 2, December 2003, pp.64-73. Available online at

“An Eye that Does Not Slumber: The UN’s Global Watch,” Peace Magazine, vol. XIX, no. 4, Oct-Dec 2003, pp.8-9. Available online at

“Preventing the Weaponization of Space: Report on the Joint Forum of the Canadian Pugwash Group and Science for Peace, University of Toronto, 22 March 2003,” Canadian Pugwash Group, Toronto, 2003, available on the “Events” section of

“Meditation,” Panorama, Agni Press, New York, 2003, p.69.

“Take the United Nations Route,” Peace Magazine, vol. XIX, no. 1 (January-March 2003) p.5.

“Building Affordable, Ethnically Balanced Security Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Box 4.6, Human Development Report 2002, United Nations Development Programme, New York, 2002.

“Towards an Effective UN Early Warning System: A Review and Some Recommendations,” course reading (C-99) Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, NS, November 2000.

“Small Arms, Human Security and Development,” Development Express, no. 5, 1999-2000, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Ottawa, November 2000. (Available on the CIDA web site.) French translation: Les armes légères, la sécurité humaine, et le développement,” in Express sur le développement, Numéro Spécial du Nouveau Millénaire,no. 5, 1999-2000.

“East Timor: Observations of an Electoral Officer,” Peacekeeping and International Relations, vol. 28, no. 5-6 (Sept-Dec 1999), p.1. (A similar article with same title published in Mondial, October 1999, p.3)

“The Militias in East Timor: Personal Encounters,” Peace Magazine, vol. 15, no. 5 (Fall 1999), p.16-18. Available online at

“Why the UN Needs to be in East Timor,” Ithaca Journal, September 15, 1999, p.11A.

“The United Nations in the Twenty-First Century,” Cornell Political Forum, vol. XIII, no. 1, October 1998, pp.18-22.

“Regional Peacekeeping is Not the Way,” Peacekeeping and International Relations, vol. 27, no. 2, July-October issue, Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, Nova Scotia (Canada), 1998, p.1.

“The Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty: Recent Developments,” in “Compliance Matters” in The Bulletin of the Canadian Council on International Law, vol. 24, no. 2, Spring-Summer 1998, pp.11-12.

“An Ounce of Prevention: UN Early Warning Needed,” SGI Quarterly, Number 8, April 1997, pp.24-25. Reprinted in Today’s Youth Asia, no. 10, May-June 2007, pp.27-28.

“Landmines Control—An Emerging Compliance regime,” Bulletin of the Canadian Council on International Law, December 1996.

“The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,” Bulletin of the Canadian Council on International Law, August 1996, p.16.

“Vice-President’s Message,” Science for Peace Bulletin, vol. 16, no. 1, January 1996, p.1.

“Canada and Chemical Weapons: Science for Peace Testifies to the Biological and Chemical Defence Review Committee,” Science for Peace Bulletin, vol. 15, no. 2, August 1995.         

“The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the IAEA: A Comparative Overview,” IAEA Bulletin, 3/1993, pp.44-47. Available online (pdf).

“UN Verification [Resolution]: Behind the Times and Insufficient,” Disarmament Times, vol. XV, no. 6, 18 December 1992, p.4.

“Verification: Key to Effective Arms Control,” Peter Benedict, Ann Rolya and Walter Dorn, Parliamentarians for Global Action Newsletter, no. IV/3, October 1992, p.8.

“Multilateral Verification Bulletin,” Newsletter of the Multilateral Verification Project, Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) (W. Dorn supervised the publication of this newsletter and was responsible for numerous articles in the first two issues.)

“Arms Verification Project,” PGA Newsletter, no. IV/2, June 1992, p.9.

“Technology for Arms Control Verification: Controlling the Arms Explosion,” T.W. Brogden and A. Walter Dorn, Science for Peace Bulletin, vol. 4, no. 3, October 1991, pp.2‑3.

“The Case for a U.N. Verification Agency,” IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, Special Issue on Disarmament Verification, vol. 9(4), December 1990/January 1991, pp.16‑27.

“Soviets Not to Blame,” Letter to the Editor, Peace Magazine, vol. VI, Issue III, June/July, 1990, p.5. (regarding talks on Open Skies Treaty)

“The Need for U.N. Verification,” Disarmament Times, vol. XIII, no. 2, May, 1990, p.4.

“Technologies for Peace: Canada Proceeds Cautiously,” Science for Peace Bulletin, vol. 10, no. 1, March 1990, pp.20‑21.

“The Case for a United Nations Verification Agency: Disarmament Under Effective International Control,” Working Paper 26, Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security, Ottawa, 1990, 41 pp. Available online.

   [Circulated to UN member states in 1990 by the Chairman of the First Committee of the General Assembly. Digest of paper printed in Focus on Vienna (Newsletter of the Austrian Committee for European Security and Cooperation), no. 16, December, 1989.]

“An International Monitoring Agency for the Arctic,” Information North, vol. 15, no. 1, January 1989, Arctic Institute of North America, 4 pp.

“Define ‘Weapon’!,” Letter to the Editor, Peace Magazine, August/September, 1989, p.5 (regarding chemical weapons agents in Canada)

“Making Arms Control Treaties Work: Progress at the Conference on Disarmament,” International Perspectives, January/February, 1989.

“Sri Chinmoy: Inner and Outer Peace,” Peace Magazine, December 1988/January 1989, 23 pp.

“Peace‑keeping Satellites: A Review of Science for Peace Activities,” Science for Peace Bulletin, vol. 8, no. 4, April 1988, p.4.

“Verification of Arms Control Treaties,” Pugwash Papers, Canadian Student Pugwash, Ottawa, Spring, 1988, p.4.

“PAXSAT: A Canadian Contribution to Arms Control,” Peace Magazine, October/November 1987, pp.17‑18. Available at

“Satellite and Airborne Surveillance for Arms Control Verification, Peacekeeping, Crisis Monitoring and Sovereignty Purposes,” Workshop Report, Science for Peace, University of Toronto, September 1987.

“Peacekeeping Satellites for the United Nations,” Peace Magazine, Dec 1986/Jan 1987, p.32. available online at


“Peace Operations: Terms & Definitions,” Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence, 11 May 2018. (html, pdf)

“Canada and International Peacekeeping,” House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence, Ottawa, 26 April 2018. Testimonyaudio, transcript (enfr); handout graphs (pdf, enfr); brief (pdf, enfr).

“Canada’s Involvement in NATO: Comparison to the UN,” House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence, 1 November 2017, Evidence: En, Fr. Written brief: Beyond Troops: Canadian Contributions to NATO (Commons pdf: En, Fr; pdf: EnFr)

“Canada’s Slow Return to Peacekeeping,” Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, 19 September 2016. Testimony transcript: En, Fr. Quotes and references to the testimony appeared in the Committee’s final report:  UN Deployment: Prioritizing Commitments at Home and Abroad (pp. 9, 13, 21,22, 23, 27-28, 41, 43, 80) (pdf: En, Fr).

“Back in the Game: Potential Canadian Contributions to UN Peace Operations,” submission to the Toronto Roundtable with the Minister of National Defence, 20 May 2016. Online brief: En, Fr and “Implementing the Convention on Cluster Munitions: Strengthening Bill C-6,” witness testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, 21 November 2013, Hansard transcript: En, Fr

“Implementing the Convention on Cluster Munitions: Strengthening Bill C-6,” witness testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, 21 November 2013, Hansard transcript: En, Fr.

“Implementing the Convention on Cluster Munitions: Strengthening Bill S-10,” witness testimony to the Senate Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, 18 October 2012, televised on CPAC (statement at 23:10 min). Hansard transcript: En, Fr.

“The Rising Sun, the Maple Leaf, the Blue Beret and the Electronic Eye: Technological Innovation in UN Peacekeeping Operations,” Proceedings of the 10th Annual Canada-Japan Symposium on Peace and Security Cooperation, Tokyo, 19–20 April 2012, Japanese Foreign Ministry, Tokyo, 2012.

“Bridging the Monitoring Gap to Make UN Peacekeeping Safer, More Effective and More Robust,” Report to the Military Planning Service of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (internal circulation), 10 January 2010.

“Science for Peace,” testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, 5 June 2008, transcript available on the Committee’s website.

“Canadian Contributions in UN Peacekeeping and in Afghanistan,” testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT), 22 March 2007, transcript available online on the Committee’s website.

“Strengthening the Implementing Legislation for the Chemical Weapons Convention,” testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT) regarding Bill C-67, Ottawa, 6 June 1995. Transcription available online at

“The Chemical Weapons Convention: Linking Export Restrictions with Treaty Compliance,” Parliamentary Briefing Paper, Parliamentarians for Global Action, New York, July 1992.

“Chemical Weapons Convention: Ratification and Implementation,” SPD Arms Control Committee, German Parliament, Bonn, February 1993.

“The Chemical Weapons Convention: The Responsibilities of Parliamentarians,” Parliamentary Briefing Paper, Parliamentarians for Global Action, New York and Paris, July 1992. (This paper formed the basis of the “Paris Statement on the Role of Parliamentarians in the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” signed in 1993-94 by over a thousand parliamentarians from about 20 nations.)

“The Chemical Weapons Convention: An Introduction,” Parliamentary Briefing Paper, Parliamentarians for Global Action, New York, July 1992.

“Canada’s Role in Arms Control: A Brief to the Right Honourable Joe Clark, Secretary of State for External Affairs,” by seven members of the Markland Group, January 1989, 90 pp.

“A Role for the Canadian Space Agency in Developing Surveillance Technology for Peace‑keeping, Arms Control Verification and Sovereignty Purposes,” L.W. Morley, W.H. Dorn and E. Fawcett, Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Research, Science and Technology (examining Canada’s Space Program), May 13, 1987. (Passages and recommendations from the brief were included in the Committees report “Canada’s Space Program: A Voyage to the Future,” Ottawa, June 1987. See pp.21-22.)

“Peace‑keeping Satellites: Brief to the Interdepartmental Committee on Space (ICS) of the Government of Canada,” presentation by E. Fawcett, L. Morley and W. Dorn on December 10, 1986 (summary), Science for Peace National Office, University of Toronto, 1986. 


“Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Study for MINUSCA: A Contribution to the Joint Capability Study of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic,” United Nations, New York, 2018. (internal report)

“Employment of MALE UAS and the airborne ISR manned option: Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Joint Cell Assessment visit to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali,” United Nations, New York, 2018. (internal report)

“The Justifications for War and Peace in World Religions. Part III: Comparison of Scriptures from Seven World Religions,” Defence Research Reports, CR 2010-036, Defence Research and Development Canada, 2010, 46 pp. (online, pdf)

“The Justifications for War and Peace in World Religions. Part II: Religions of Indic Origin,” by A.W. Dorn, R. Balkaran, S. Feldman, and S. Gucciardi, Defence Research Reports, CR 2010-034, Defence Research and Development Canada, 2010, 179 pp. (online, pdf)

“The Justifications for War and Peace in World Religions. Part I: Abrahamic Religions” by A.W. Dorn and A. Frances Cation, Defence Research Reports, CR2009-125, Defence Research and Development Canada, 2009, 151 pp. (online, pdf)

“Indicators and Indices of Conflict and Security: A Review and Classification of Open-source Data” (“Indicateurs et indices de conflits et de menaces à la sécurité : révision et classification des données de sources ouvertes”), by Nada J. Pavlovic, Lisa Casagrande Hoshino, David R. Mandel and A. Walter Dorn, Defence Research and Development (DRDC) Canada, Technical Report, TR-2008-167, September 2008, 161 pp. (online pdf)



“Twenty-First Century Peacekeeping for a Twenty-First Century Mexico,” Keynote address, 10 September 2009, Centro de Estudios Superiores Navales, Mexico City. Spanish translation published in María Cristina Rosas (ed.), La seguridad internacional en el siglo XXI: retos y oportunidades para México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 2010, pp.249-271.

“Canadian and Japanese Contributions to UN Peacekeeping: More than ‘Boots on the Ground’,” Proceedings of the 5th Canada-Japan Symposium on Peace and Security Cooperation, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, 2007, pp.151-168.

“Science and Technology: Their Contribution to Human Security,” Proceedings of the International Seminar on Human Security and Science and Technology, Ambassador R. Gonzales Aninat (ed.), Permanent Mission of Chile to International Organizations in Vienna, Vienna, 2002, pp.26-29.

“Monitoring Technologies for UN Peace Operations” in Joseph Rotblat (ed.), The Long Roads to Peace: Proceedings of the Forty-Eighth Annual Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs (held atQuerataro, Mexico, 29 September – 4 October 1998), World Scientific, River Edge, N.J., 2001, pp.171-284.

“Security Sector Reform: Issues and Options for the International Community” in Security Sector Reform: Proceedings of a Roundtable on Security Sector Reform, Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, December 2000, pp.89-99.

“The UN in the Twenty-First Century,” Peace and Policy (Journal of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, Tokyo), Spring 1997. Available online.

“The Chemical Weapons Convention,” Arms Control in the 1990s: Proceedings of a Workshop on Chemical Weapons, Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control in Outer Space, P. Brogden (ed.), Aurora Paper no. 22, Canadian Centre for Global Security, Ottawa, 1994.

“The Broader Context of Non‑Proliferation and Disarmament: Response by Walter Dorn” in Non‑Proliferation in a Disarming World (Proceedings of the 1990 Bellerive Colloquium, June 20‑21, 1990; Sadruddin Aga Khan, ed.), Bellerive Foundation, Geneva, 1990, pp.209‑211. Appendix V is a reprint of the paper “The Case for a U.N. Verification Agency: Arms Control Through International Control” by A. Walter Dorn and William Epstein, pp.286‑312.

“Technology for Peace‑keeping and Verification,” Ralph Bunche Institute on the United Nations, City University of New York, New York, October 24, 1990. (Summary of the presentation made in the Moses Leo Gitelson Seminars series.)

“Satellite and Airborne Remote Sensing in Arms Control: Past, Present and Future,” T.W. Peter Brogden, A. Walter Dorn, and Douglas Scott, Proceedings of the 1989 International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, vol. 4, pp.2543‑2546, Vancouver, July 10‑14, 1989.

“Satellite Surveillance for Verification and Crisis Monitoring,” Disarmament Possibilities II, Department for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations, 1989, pp.126‑130. (Transcript of speech of May 12, 1989, at the United Nations.)

“Statement from Science for Peace to the Third United Nations Special Session on Disarmament,” The Non‑Governmental Voice at the United Nations Third Special Session on Disarmament, United Nations, New York, 1988, pp.120‑1. (co-author with Prof. Derek Paul)

“Statement from the Peace Research Institute–Dundas to the Third United Nations Special Session on Disarmament,” The Non‑Governmental Voice at the United Nations Third Special Session on Disarmament, United Nations, New York, 1988, pp.210‑11.

“Regional Satellite Monitoring Agency (RSMA): A Canadian Perspective,” Eric Fawcett and Walter Dorn, Proceedings of the Thirty‑Seventh Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, Gmunden am Traunsee, 1‑6 September 1987, 5 pp.


(Publications in refereed journals and book chapters. Research was funded in part by the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security as part of a “Chemical Sensing for Arms Control” project. Note: W. Dorn served as a referee of manuscripts for a number of scientific journals, including Analytica Chimica Acta, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Langmuir and Thin Solid Films.)
“Intrinsic Conduction of Inorganic Ions through Bilayer Lipid Membranes”, A. Walter Dorn and Michael Thompson, Chapter 3 in Ion Transfer Kinetics: Principles and Applications, J. Sandifer (ed.), VCH Publishers, New York, 1994.
“Selective Chemical Transduction Based on Chemoreceptive Control of Membrane Ion Permeability”, Michael Thompson and Walter H. Dorn, Chapter 7 in Chemical Sensors (T.E. Edmonds, ed.), Blackie and Son, Glasgow, 1987, pp.168 189.
“The Primary Events in Chemical Sensory Perception. Olfaction as a Model for Selective Chemical Sensing”, M. Thompson, W.H. Dorn, U.J. Krull, J.S. Tauskela, E.T. Vandenberg and H.E. Wong, Analytica Chimica Acta, 180, 251 269, 1986.


“Lateral Surface Potential Distribution of a Phospholipid Monolayer”, Wolfgang M. Heckl, Hermann Baumgärtner, Helmut Möhwald, Thin Solid Films, 173, 269 278, 1989. (Theoretical work in Appendix A by W. Dorn).
“Sensitivity and theoretical aspects of perturbation of lipid-membrane admittance by ionophore and dipole probes,” M. Thompson, V. Ghaemmaghami, P.J. Savoie and Walter H. Dorn (Interfacial Processes in Chemical Sensor Technology Session, 195th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Toronto, June 5 10, 1988). Abstracts of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 195, 169, 1988.
“A Dipole Reorientation Model Applied to Lipid Membrane Ion Conduction and to Synaptic Depolarization”, W.H. Dorn and M. Thompson, Electrochemical Society Meeting, Boston, May 4 9, 1986. Abstract published in J. Electrochemical Society, 133, 33, 1986.


“Inorganic Ion Conduction Across Bilayer Lipid Membranes”, Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 1995, 226 pp.
“The Dipole Potential in Monolayers, Bilayers and Biological Membranes”, M.Sc. Thesis, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 1985, 148 pp.