Subject: Kings College Study of "Peace Operations"


is a new study by Kings College (UK), on UN missions, including a detailed review of UNTAET. Much of the work was done by former insiders, and the study provides valuable information and analysis from that perspective.

The entire multi-operation report and synthesis is online at The 144-page East Timor part of the report is online at

La'o Hamutuk will review this study in a future Bulletin. At first scan it looks useful, although it doesn't explore systemic problems inherent in any internationally-directed occupying ("transitional") government.

We would appreciate analysis or comments by others which would inform our review.

Thank you.

-- Charlie Scheiner 



Description of the study and mandate

A Review of Peace Operations: A Case for Change is a multi-donor study, funded by Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK, and conducted by the Conflict, Security and Development Group at Kings College London. It aims to identify and synthesise lessons from recent and current peace operations, incorporating the perspectives of both local and international actors. The underlying aim is for the report’s analysis, observations and proposed actions to help improve the planning and implementation processes of both future and existing operations, and provide a basis for developing responses for UN member states and in particular the UN.

The project is based upon in-depth analyses of key peace operations that have been under way since the publication of the Brahimi Report in August 2000. The central case studies cover the operations in East Timor, Kosovo and Sierra Leone. In addition, substantial insights have been drawn from a ‘snap-shot’ study of the operation in Afghanistan as well as from peace operation trends in general. The project collates information on all related UN and non-UN activities, complementing but not duplicating efforts by others, in order to develop a useful and comprehensive study that is both operational and analytical in scope.

A general conceptual framework has been devised as a basis for each of the country studies. The primary focus of analysis, the peace operation, is assessed on the basis of four key criteria: · Relevance ­ the extent to which the mandate, mission design and available means address the problem · Preparedness ­ the degree of readiness to establish the peace operation and implement the mandate · Effectiveness ­ the extent to which the peace operation attains its stated objectives and uses appropriate means to do so · Efficiency ­ the extent to which the peace operation makes an economic and adequate use of its resources. Most importantly, the intended and unintended impact of the operation as a whole on the post-conflict country will be assessed. Each country team will focus on core thematic aspects of the operation including, inter alia, “security”, “governance”, and “humanitarian & development issues”.



CONTENTS (abridged)

1 Mission Planning and Design. 1.b Contingency Planning Post-5 May 1999 1.c Pre-mission Planning

2 External Defence and Internal Security 2.c Peacekeeping 2.d Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration 2.e Defence Force Development 2.f Executive Policing 2.g Police Service Development 2.h Civilian Oversight and Management of the Security Sector

3 Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Rehabilitation. 3.c.1 Refugee Return 3.c.2 The Humanitarian Operation 3.c.3 Quick Impact Projects 3.c.4 Communication Strategies 3.c.5 Post-emergency Co-ordination and Planning 3.c.6 The Role of NGOs 3.d Assessment

4 Public Administration

5 Rule of Law and Administration of Justice 5.c.1 Creating a Legislative Framework 5.c.2 Appointment of Judicial Personnel 5.c.3 Establishment of Transitional Judicial Institutions 5.c.4 Building The Foundations for Legal Policy Development

6 Post-conflict Justice 6.c.1. Serious Crimes Investigations 6.c.2 The Special Panels for Serious Crimes 6.c.3 Border Reconciliation Efforts and Negotiating Returns 6.c.4 The Commission For Reception, Truth and Reconciliation

7 Governance and Political Transition 7.c.1 The Political Transition 7.c.2 UNTAET as a Government

8 Handover and Exit Strategy 8.c.1 Transition to a Successor Peace Operation 8.c.2 Transition to an Independent Government

9 Findings And Recommendations 



i. This study reviews the planning for and work of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), which was established on 25 October 1999 and ended when East Timor regained its independence on 20 May 2002. The report identifies the key characteristics of UNTAET in terms of its mandate, structure, strategy design and implementation, as well as its impact on the people and the governance of the newly independent East Timor. The seven-person team carried out its assessment on the basis of a review of a range of relevant UN and other documentation, approximately 180 interviews conducted in East Timor, New York, London, Washington, Geneva and Canberra, and focus group sessions held in East Timor. The main findings of this research are summarised below.

ii. As a lessons-learned exercise, the primary focus of this study is on areas of UNTAET’s activity where there is scope for improving practice. Its authors have concluded, however, that UNTAET provides lessons in both good and bad practice and that many of the former were learnt during the course of the mission. While the terms of reference of the study required the team to highlight any shortcomings it found, it also found much to admire about UNTAET, which was required to carry out a uniquely broad mandate in extraordinarily difficult circumstances and was faced with many dilemmas, particularly in the areas of governance and public administration, which were exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, to resolve. This study aims to offer constructive recommendations to UN officials and member states on how to address the problems identified. Any critical judgments in this report are intended in this constructive spirit.

iii The limited planning for a UN mission to follow the Popular Consultation of 30August 1999 was based on the assumption that the agreements would be adhered to and that there would be an interim period (Phase II) during which, in the event of a vote for independence, preparations would be made for an orderly and gradual handover from the Indonesian Government. This guiding assumption meant that the limited planning that took place in this period did not encompass the ‘worst-case scenario’.

iv. The planning that took place in the wake of the destruction and violence that followed the announcement of the result of the ballot was necessarily cursory. The short time frame influenced the outcome of the planning process in several ways: the plan that was produced focused on structures rather than on processes; the planning assumptions adopted were not always adjusted to the new situation; and there was heavy reliance on familiar models, in particular the recently-launched UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (although some lessons were also learned from Kosovo). The planning team was also narrowly based and several possible contributors to the process were only tangentially involved, including the UN Secretariat’s Department of Political Affairs, the World Bank and the East Timorese pro-independence umbrella group, the CNRT. UNTAET’s good record in traditional peacekeeping was not matched by its performance in other security-related areas. The deployment of the Australian-led interim multinational force, INTERFET, gave the UN a long time to prepare and deploy the PKF. The PKF assumed a defensive posture on East Timor’s land borders, which successfully deterred militia incursions from West Timor.

v. A lack of clarity about UNTAET’s mandate with regard to armed groups contributed to a delayed decision on what to do about the pro-independence guerrilla force, Falintil. Faced with mounting Falintil discontent about their uncertain status and the poor living conditions in their cantonment, UNTAET decided, almost one year into its mission, to create a defence force (the Forcas de Defesa de Timor Leste, FDTL) whose core would be Falintil. Members of Falintil not recruited to the FDTL were to be demobilised and reintegrated into society through the Falintil Reintegration Assistance Programme (FRAP). The FRAP is broadly assessed to have succeeded in its primary objectives, although it may have been too short. However, the Falintil High Command’s control of both recruitment to the FDTL and eligibility for the FRAP created resentments that lingered on after independence. Moreover, the force was supported by a bilaterally-funded, internationally-staffed Office of Defence Force Development, but provision for civilian oversight was minimal. The FDTL’s role, particularly with regard to providing military aid to the civil power (MACP), has still to be defined in legislation.

vi. UNPOL’s performance in executive policing during the early period of UNTAET was affected by slow recruitment and deployment, the mixed quality of the officers provided, and a difficult and unfamiliar operating environment. However, it improved during the course of the mission. Its exit strategy depended on the development of the East Timorese Police Service (ETPS), but it was slow to elaborate a comprehensive development plan for the ETPS, partly because no UNPOL had been assigned to the police development function in the original mission design. In the absence of a comprehensive strategy, UNPOL focused on training rather than the institutional development of the ETPS. As with the FDTL, selection policy was (and remains) a controversial issue, particularly with regard to the recruitment of East Timorese who had previously served in the Indonesian police service. The development of civilian oversight has also been slow. The ETPS development plan and the arrangements for the transfer of policing responsibilities provide a comprehensive exit strategy, but are unspecific on both civilian oversight and the resources to be devoted to policing.

vii. UNTAET left the institutions traditionally responsible for oversight of the security sector -- Parliament and its committees, the relevant ministries and civilian-led national security co-ordination agencies underdeveloped and incomplete.

viii. The critical period of the humanitarian operation (from September 1999 to January 2000) is generally judged to have been successful. This was the case even though it faced a number of disadvantageous circumstances (including East Timor’s remoteness, a lack of preparedness and pre-positioning, the dispersal of the population over difficult terrain and the limited prior international presence on the ground) and was hampered by limited East Timorese involvement and the slow disbursement of funds through the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP). However, after OCHA’s withdrawal in April 2000 and the assumption of full responsibility for the programme by UNTAET's Humanitarian and Emergency Relief ‘pillar’, overall co-ordination at central and district levels weakened considerably. UNTAET was also not effective in co-ordinating international non-governmental organisation (NGO) activity and failed to plan for the transition from humanitarian intervention to development.

ix. In carrying out its mandate in the area of public administration, UNTAET faced immense obstacles. The circumstances in which mission preparation and initial mission design occurred were not conducive to planning beyond the immediate needs to provide basic government services. UNTAET’s uncertain relationship to the CNRT and the World Bank, the co-ordinator of the Joint Assessment Mission, in the early stages of the mission also impeded progress. The need to address other priorities and the slow deployment and uneven quality of staff delayed the development of public administration and limited UNTAET’s ability to build local capacity. Despite the decision in mid-2000 to ‘Timorise’ the institutions of public administration, UNTAET’s record in building capacity and establishing the infrastructure of a public administration was patchy and marked by considerable variation across sectors.

x. Faced with immense challenges in this area, and without the benefit of detailed planning that might have allowed it to develop a co-ordinated strategy, UNTAET adopted a piecemeal approach to establishing a justice system. Thus, the legislative framework, which UNTAET created using Indonesian law as its basis and introducing new legislation where necessary, was not coherent. Its early decision to appoint judicial personnel from the tiny pool of qualified East Timorese legal practitioners predated the establishment of a court system, which in turn began to operate before regulations relating to the police and the prison service were in place. The training and mentoring given to these inexperienced personnel were not well conceived. Meanwhile, the longer-term objective of legal policy development, which had been identified as an area of responsibility of the Division of Judicial Affairs, was largely neglected, not least because primary responsibility for legal drafting lay elsewhere, in the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor. The resultant lack of clarity and consistency cast doubt on UNTAET’s own commitment to the rule of law. Similar confusion surrounded the initiatives taken in the sensitive area of post-conflict justice.

xi. UNTAET was operating in a relatively favourable political environment and enjoyed a degree of popular support not routinely available to an interim administration. However, the unprecedented breadth of its mandate (as well as its vagueness), the fact that it was a multidimensional mission in which governance was of lower priority than other aspects and its ill-defined relationship to its chief interlocutor, the CNRT, meant that it faced difficult problems of design and implementation. The already brief time frame for the mission was cut back further by the protracted search for a broadly acceptable transition strategy. UNTAET’s interim nature and its limited legitimacy constrained its ability to act as a fully empowered government. These factors reduced its capacity to foster institutional development and an attachment to democratic values.

xii. UNTAET began planning early for the transition to a successor mission. This enabled the UN Secretary-General to include a detailed mandate implementation plan in his final report on UNTAET to the Security Council on 17April 2002. A transition team to deal with the transition to an independent government was set up rather less promptly, and initially it contained no senior East Timorese representation. Communication between East Timorese and international members of the team was poor and the decision-making process was slow. Many of the tasks the team set itself were not accomplished, in particular regarding the transfer of residual government functions from UNTAET, the establishment of offices to handle areas, such as defence and police policy development and management, where none had hitherto existed, and civil service recruitment.


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