Washington International Law Journal


In 1999, East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia. That same year the United Nations Security Council created the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor ("UNTAET") to help East Timor transition to democracy, self-governance, and sustainable development. Seven years earlier, the United Nations launched a similar mission in Cambodia called the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia ("UNTAC"). There are many similarities between East Timor and Cambodia, and both UNTAET and UNTAC are second-generation United Nations peacekeeping missions. UNTAC and UNTAET had similar mandates, including security, civil administration, and elections. UNTAC encountered opposition from the Cambodian parties, and consent for its mandate eroded. UNTAET fulfilled its mandate, because it had broad consent bases for its mission. UNTAET also had a comprehensive transitional plan that integrated the East Timorese and organized its components, United Nations agencies, and external organizations. Given UNTAET's success, it is evident that designing peacekeeping missions to ensure intricate coordination between various constituencies and organizations improves the outcome. Gathering and maintaining broad consent is thus a necessary condition for successful UN peacekeeping missions, especially missions designed to rebuild governments, infrastructure, and civil society.

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