International Organizations and Ethnic Conflict

International Organizations and Ethnic Conflict

International Organizations and Ethnic Conflict

International Organizations and Ethnic Conflict

Excerpt

One noticeable outcome of the end of the cold war has been the great disparity between the rising demand and expectations for intervention by the United Nations and other international organizations and the limited capabilities of these IOs to meet these demands and expectations. The demise of the Soviet-U.S. rivalry has exacerbated and highlighted ethnic conflicts, not only increasing the need for IOs but also testing the limits of existing norms. Most ethnic conflicts are "internal" matters within the "domestic jurisdiction" of states. Thus, where there are no obvious "threats to international peace and security," the legal basis for intervention is difficult to establish, especially when there is no clear "consent" by the local parties. International law and the Charter of the UN have always contained two value clusters, state system values and human rights values, but the former have usually won out over the latter (Damrosch 1993). Thus, the debate about the changing role of IOs pertains to three issues: their norms, their capabilities, and the degree of their autonomy from member states.

Two recent cases of UN intervention raised expectations about changing norms and capabilities. The first, the Iraq-Kuwait conflict, is remarkable in its use of substantial capabilities of member states under the authorization of the UN Security Council to implement UNSC resolutions, and in the degree of international intrusion into the sover-

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