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Does Law Contribute to Peace Operations’ Success?

A Reality Check with the New Leuven Manual

Peace operations are subject to legal frameworks. Yet with constantly evolving missions and increasingly complex operational environments, the rules guiding peace operations are difficult to navigate. Notably the rules on the use of force to defend the mandate as well as immunities and accountability remain highly debated among policymakers and lawyers. The Leuven Manual on the International Law Applicable to Peace Operations (CUP, 2017) tries to unravel the ambiguities: recognized today as the most authoritative guidance in the field, it combines legal rules with commentaries and offers policy recommendations where the law is silent or unclear. But overarching issues remain: Does the law contribute to or undermine mission success? What are the consequences of violations of the law by peace operations? How should future legal frameworks be shaped to ensure mission accomplishment?

This Reality Check will be introduced by Jan Peter Spijk, President of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War (ISMLLW) and Alfons Vanheusden, Senior Legal Advisor at the Belgian Ministry of Defence and Assistant Secretary-General of the ISMLLW. Discussants will be:

Join the debate. Join the reality check.



Tobias Vestner, Security and Law Programme, Geneva Centre for Security Policy



Date and time: Thursday, 3 May 2018 12:30 – 14:00

Meal: Light lunch will be provided before the beginning of the event



This public discussion is the second event of Security and Law: A Reality Check, the new event series to address how international law matters in security affairs. The series aims to critically assess if current norms fit contemporary and future security challenges, how international commitments can effectively be implemented, and how new international law can successfully be shaped. Reality Checks feature a new GCSP format: The audience attending the event is encouraged to steer the discussion by challenging the speakers and experts. Join the debate. Join the Reality Check.


This Reality Check is organised in association with


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