Since the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002, the court had only modest success. In an interview published in issue no. 1/2014 of VEREINTE NATIONEN, Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, speaks about the effects on the court, the critique of African countries, investigation strategies, the significance of witness protection and the deterrent effect of the Court. To prevent that courts must accuse war criminals, the United Nations have developed various instruments of preventive diplomacy, as for instance mediators, Special Envoys, and political missions. Alischa Kugel underlines that preventive diplomacy can achieve positive results, but financial, operational and political challenges have to be overcome. The protection of human rights is one of the United Nations’ utmost priorities. Numerous institutions and treaties can be traced back to United Nations initiatives. Gisela Hirschmann and Monika Heupel show how the UN has reacted to new demands by analysing the development of human rights protection provisions in peace operations and sanctions policies. Hendrik Cremer takes a close look at the third Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which will allow individual complaints and will enter into force on 14 April 2014.
20 years ago in Rwanda, a genocide against the Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu took place before the eyes of the world community. For the United Nations and its Member States, the inability or unwillingness to recognize this genocide as such and to prevent it, was a trauma which continues to resonate even today. The reasons for failing are varied, but they do not serve as an excuse. In issue no. 2/2014 of VEREINTE NATIONEN: Lessons from Rwanda 1994, the authors analyze the developments of Rwandese history that led to the atrocities, the legal proceedings of the genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the different treatments of the past in Burundi and Rwanda, as well as Germany's activities and attitude before, during and after the genocide. Authors are: Manfred Eisele, former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Wolfgang Schomburg, former judge at the Appeals Chamber of the ICTR, as well as Sarah Brockmeier, Ekkehard Griep, Gerrit Kurtz, and Judith Vorrath.
The crises in Mali and the Central African Republic have led to a revival in previously uncultivated avenues of cooperation with regards to peacekeeping between the European Union and the United Nations. In issue no. 3/2014 of VEREINTE NATIONEN, Manuela Scheuermann examines peacekeeping cooperation between the EU, the UN and the African Union in Africa in recent years. She notes that previous patterns related to the division of labor have worked reasonably well, but there is a long way to go when it comes to sustainable, equal and efficient cooperation. In another article, Dustin Dehez compares France’s most recent interventions in Africa to its previous military operations. He comes to the conclusion that France has made an honest attempt to move away from unilateralism and instead further strengthen European integration. Whether or not more German troops should participate in such peacekeeping operations is a pressing question that needs to be answered. Roderich Kiesewetter, the Federal MP from the CDU/CSU coalition, and Stefan Liebich from Die Linke (Left) take contrary positions on the issue.
Over 300 paintings, sculptures, tapestries, relics and other objects are located at the UN Headquarters in New York. The “Knotted Gun” and the “Swords to Ploughshares” sculptures clearly bring to life this global organization’s message: to stand for peace. The assembled articles and interviews in this special issue “The UN and Art”, issue no. 4/2014 of VEREINTE NATIONEN give an overview of the difficult relationship that the UN has with art. Ian Williams takes a stroll through the gardens and corridors of the UN in New York and presents the UN’s eclectic art collection. Michael Adlerstein, the head of the UN Capital Master Plan, gave an interview in which he discussed why the UN Secretariat is only incidentally concerned with the collection and what the UN Arts Committee actually does. Art historian Maria Veie Sandvik has been one of the few individuals worldwide who has dealt with the well-known mural in the UN Security Council, while Boris Abel has pursued the question of whether and how artists thematize the UN. Finally, the film critic Kira Taszman explained why the United Nations is not portrayed well in most films.
Issue no. 5/2014 of VEREINTE NATIONEN addresses some of the foundational questions related to the functioning of important institutions and touches upon recent events such as the situation in South Sudan, the Ebola crisis and Ban Ki-moon’s climate summit. Mayeul Hiéramente assesses how the International Criminal Court has developed since its establishment in 2002. He addresses the allegations of selectivity, a lack of transparency and an excessive focus on Africa. He also gives us a view into the future and shows where there are still areas that require improvement. Further contributions focus upon the foundational deficit of legitimacy at the Security Council, and investigate the working methods and jurisprudence of the now ten UN Human Rights Committees.
In September 2015, a post-2015 development agenda shall be adopted by the UN Member States. Which goals will be included? And what lessons can be drawn from implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? Are the negotiations on the right track towards establishing truly universal and sustainable goals for the first time? These questions are discussed and answered among others by Jürgen Maier and Marie-Luise Abshagen in no. 6/2014 of VEREINTE NATIONEN. Jürgen Bachmann answers three questions regarding the implementation of the potential new goals in Germany. Thomas Pogge and Jan Vandemoortele take opposing viewpoints regarding the assessment of the MDGs.
While these global goals are being considered and negotiated, in many regions of the world war and conflicts remain in daily life. For decades, one of the areas that has suffered under intense violence has been the Middle East, particularly the Gaza Strip. In an interview, Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), calls for an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip and stronger European engagement towards realizing a political solution.