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Guest Lecture by General Major (ret) Patrick Cammaert

On Tuesday 19 March Major General (ret) Patrick Cammaert gave a guest lecture about peacekeeping to the students from Leiden University Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs. The lecture was made possible by the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA).

Patrick Cammaert has an extensive background in as well the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps as within the United Nations. During his lecture he draw upon his experiences from for example the MONUC mission the DRC. He talked about Security Council Mandates, Rules of Engagement (RoE), challenges related to the Use of Force and finished with some take-aways. The aim of his presentation was to give insights to major obstacles, challenges and lessons learned in the implementation of the mandate in the use of force to protect civilians.


One of the challenges Cammaert pointed out is the lack of leadership and accountability during a peacekeeping mission. For example, with the interpretation of the Security Council Mandates. ‘Mandates can be seen either as ceiling or floors. Conservative, risk-averse UN officials or commanders constrained by their home government will interpret the mandate as a ceiling. By contrast, creative and decisive commanders will take a leadership role by interpreting the mandate as a floor, defining it operationally and using all their capabilities to implement the spirit, not just the word, of the mandate.’


Another challenge for the future of peacekeeping missions the fact that the mission itself has become a target over years. Also he spoke about the necessity of female military personnel in peacekeeping. Women approach problems in a different way than man do. That needs mental adjustment for some Troop Contributing Counties (TCCs), which helps. Furthermore, Cammaert showed that with successful peacekeeping missions, you need to engage with the local community. Find the hotspots where violence might occur, be pro-active and take preventive action. Be aware of and be prepared for horrific situations, you cannot be distracted by the act of surprise.


Patrick Cammaert ended his presentation with some take-aways he learned during his career. First, intelligence is vital. Second, missions as a whole should be aware of the use of force. Third, you need to engage with the local community. Fourth, show at all times leadership! Like Brahmini mentioned in his report: tell the Security Council what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.

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