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The United Nations Mission in El Salvador:A Humanitarian Law Perspective (Nijhoff Law Specials ; 14) [Paperback]

The United Nations Mission in El Salvador:A Humanitarian Law Perspective (Nijhoff Law Specials ; 14) [Paperback]

By Tathiana Acuna (Author)
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Item description for The United Nations Mission in El Salvador:A Humanitarian Law Perspective (Nijhoff Law Specials ; 14) by Tathiana Acuna...

The United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL) is the result of dialogue and negotiation between the Salvadorian Government and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). It constitutes the first UN attempt to mediate the settlement of an non-international armed conflict. This work studies the benefits and disadvantages intrinsic to a political body in monitoring the respect for international humanitarian law, and analyzes new requirements demanded by the enlargement of the functions of the UN. The analysis is based on the reports of the ONUSAL, prepared during its peace-making phase, and focuses on the question of the extent to which the mission succeeded in assuring a better protection of the norms of humanitarian law. The work is based on a Ph.D. thesis originally written in French. Tathiana Flores Acuna received her doctorate from the European University Institute in Florence in 1994. She now works for the Organization of American States in Costa Rica.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Springer
Pages   270
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.4" Width: 6.2" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 6, 1995
Publisher   Springer
ISBN  9041101233  
ISBN13  9789041101235  

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1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > General
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Reviews - What do customers think about The United Nations Mission in El Salvador:A Humanitarian Law Perspective (Nijhoff Law Specials ; 14)?

ONUSAL  Mar 5, 1997
Review of the book by Tathiana Flores Acuna, The United Nations Mission in El Salvador: A Humanitarian Law Perspective, The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1995. ISBN: 90-411-0123-3. The analysis undertaken in this book is based on the first four reports prepared by the ONUSAL before the cease-fire, which was officially declared on February 1, 1992. The book examines in detail the degree of success the Mission achieved in ensuring a better protection of the norms of International Humanitarian Law. The author dedicated the book to the more than 70.000 victims of the conflict, in the hope that more knowledge about international humanitarian law will make future Peace-keeping missions more effective. The United Nations Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL) was created as a result of the dialogue and negotiations between the Salvadorian government and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). The legal framework for the Mission was the San Jose Agreement signed in July 1990, in which the parties accorded the creation of an international verification mission. The ONUSAL was in charge of monitoring all the agreements signed by the parties during the negotiation process. The book begins with a theoretical analysis of the historical development of UN peace keeping missions, of their role in non-international armed conflicts, and the interaction between human rights and international humanitarian law. Next, a detailed study is made of the ONUSAL's tasks in the field of international humanitarian law. The first chapter contains a study of the norms of the UN Charter relating to the powers of the Security Council in so far as the fundamental purpose of the organization is concerned, namely, the maintenance of international peace and security. The Chapter encloses an analysis of the competence of the Security Council with regard to human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law during non-international armed conflicts, and analyzes the most relevant resolutions adopted by the Security Council in the cases of Somalia, Rwanda, and the violations of the rights of the civil population in Irak during the aftermath of the Irak-Kuwait war. Through a study of the historical development of the functions of the Secretary-General during different UNmissions, this prominent role in the creation and functioning of modern peace-keeping missions, and in particular of the ONUSAL mission is also analyzed. The initial conception of Salvadorian parties with regard to the creation of a verification mission after the cease-fire, and the will expressed afterwards by both parties to create the mission during the conflict, are studied in the second chapter with the view of underlining the interaction between international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The author bases her analysis of the ONUSAL's mandate in this interaction. She qualifies the interpretation found in the Mission's first report as 'restricted and timid' with regard to the large powers granted by the parties in verification of international humanitarian law. In the third chapter, the other reports prepared by the ONUSAL before the cease-fire are fully analyzed, with particular attention to the activities regarding international humanitarian law. The first part of the chapter contains some reflections derived from a detailed study of the Mission's reports, that on the criteria of the author, reflect an evolution of the ONUSAL's interpretation of its mandate in international humanitarian law made in the first report. As an illustration, the extensive interpretation of the mandate of the ONUSAL Mission contained in its Fourth Report should be mentioned. In this report, the Mission affirms that the norms of international humanitarian law will remain in effect from February 1992, date of the signing of the peace, until October of the same year. This implies an interpretation in extenso not only of the provisions of article 6.5) of Protocol Additional II to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 -with regard to the final amnesty for the persons who participated in the hostilities or who were detained as a result of the conflict- but also of the other norms of international humanitarian law. This last position reveals a broad and innovative application of the norms of international humanitarian law, which could be a precedent for future UN Peace-keeping Missions. The second part of the third chapter studies the mandate and functions of the ONUSAL in its peace-making period in relation to the protection of the norms of international humanitarian law. With this aim, the violations to the Titles II and III of Protocol II with regard to the fundamental guarantees to humane treatment, the principles concerning pre-trial proceedings, penal prosecutions, detention conditions as well as those cases of violations of the norms that protect wounded, sick and shipwrecked and civil population in an armed conflict are examined. Furthermore, this chapter analyzes the serious problem of thelandmines, which indiscriminate use was one of the most serious violations of international humanitarian law during the Salvadorian conflict. In accomplishing what it considered a principal task, the Mission included in its Second report, a list of legal instruments concerning the use of mines, booby-traps and similar artifacts as well as the main principles deriving from customary law. On the basis of these principles, the ONUSAL affirmed that the need to establish limits to the means used in non-international armed conflicts is in complete harmony with the principle of humanity that should prevail in the conduct of the hostilities. According to this, the author quotes the third paragraph of the Protocol II's preamble, in which these principles are enounced as follows "in cases not covered by the law in force, the human person remains under the protection of the principles of humanity and the dictates of the public conscience", this clause better known as the Martens Clause. The author concludes that, in spite of the restrictive interpretation made by the ONUSAL of its mandate in the field of international humanitarian law in the first report, through this analogous interpretation the Mission showed its clear position in favour of the essential principles of international humanitarian law. The coordination between the Mission and other humanitarian agents in the field is another relevant issue studied in the chapter. This is the case, for example, of the ICRC, an institution specialized in disemination and verification of the respect of international humanitarian law norms, and consequently, with similar tasks as the ones conferred to the ONUSAL Mission. In the final part of the chapter, some recommendations are made towards improving the role of the UN in the protection of international humanitarian law. The intrinsic advantages and limitations characteristic of a political organ charged with controlling and verifying the norms of international humanitarian law are considered. Recommendations As a conclusion, the author recommends the creation of regional training centres for UN personnel to be send in peace-keeping missions, with the aim of creating a more professional force. In order to reach this objective, she proposes a more comprehensive and complete training, which would include special instruction regarding the impartial character of a UN mission, as well as for a better monitoring of human rights and international humanitarian law. Even though the ONUSAL recognized the complementary nature of the ICRC in certain of their activities, as well as their common attempt to respect the minimum standard of protection of the individuals in the Salvadorian armed conflict, the author affirms that no further position on its efforts to interact or coordinate with the ICRC in humanitarian law can be deduced from its reports. She concludes that a reference to these issues would have been valuable, since it would have allowed an appreciation on the manner in which these international and national organizations managed to avoid, a

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