Accepted paper:

pdf download UN Interventions in Cambodia and East Timor: efficacy, legality, and legitimacy


Brendan Howe (Ewha Womans University)

Paper short abstract:

Cambodia and East Timor are widely viewed as successful examples of UN intervention. This presentation examines areas where they failed, including negative long-term impacts on post-UN governance, while still acknowledging the significant contributions to building a narrowly-defined liberal peace.

Paper long abstract:

The Southeast Asian region is one where the Westphalian state rights of political sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the principle of non-intervention are jealously defended. Indeed, such concepts are embodied in regional organisations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in which non-interference is the cornerstone of the "ASEAN Way". It is also a region, however, where two of the most comprehensive examples of UN "interference" can be found. Cambodia and East Timor are widely viewed as successful examples of UN intervention, peacekeeping, and state-building. They are also promoted as such by the organization itself. There are concerns, however, that the UN administrations overstepped their mandates, focused too greatly upon short-term stability and efficiency in their governance prioritisation, and ignored local voices and interests. This potentially undermined legitimacy, human security considerations, and the enduring governance legacy after withdrawal of UN forces and support. This presentation examines the long-term consequences of UN interventions in Cambodia and East Timor through the competing lenses of liberal and socially-constructed peacebuilding in order to assess the extent to which they can truly be judged successes or failures.

pdf download Download the full paper (255405 bytes)
panel J4
Peaceful accidents in the shadow of hegemony: the unintended outcomes of international peace interventions in Asia-Pacific (Cambodia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste)