Is the Cruz Report the End of Peacekeeping for Japan?

2017 was the most dangerous year in a quarter century for UN-led peacekeeping missions, following a steady trend of increasing attacks on peacekeepers over the past five years. In response, UN Secretary-General António Guterres commissioned former Force Commander Dos Santos Cruz to examine what could be done to limit risks to peacekeepers in today’s conflicts. The resulting report, “Improving Security of United Nations Peacekeepers” (known as the Cruz Report), demands a fundamental shift of peacekeeping toward a more “proactive posture,” requiring that peacekeepers use “overwhelming force” in the face of hostile actors.

This could provide a useful push for the UN, but it will almost certainly complicate Japan’s return to peacekeeping after last year’s withdrawal of its blue helmets from South Sudan. If peacekeeping is heading in the direction of more proactive use of force in the most dangerous conflicts in the world, is there a role for the historically risk-averse Japan? There may be, but Tokyo will need to think creatively if and how Japan is to re-engage in peacekeeping.

Read the full article in The Japan Times.




Emma Hutchinson is a Research Assistant at the UNU Centre for Policy Research. She specialises in issues surrounding global security, weapons of mass destruction, migration and identity. She has a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) from RMIT University, Australia.

Adam Day is a Senior Policy Adviser with the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR). Prior to UNU, he served for a decade in the UN, focused on peace operations, political engagement in conflict settings, mediation and protection of civilians. He served as Senior Political Adviser to MONUSCO (DRC), in the UN Special Coordinator’s Office for Lebanon, in the front offices of both UNMIS (Khartoum) and UNAMID (Darfur), and was a political officer in both the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York.

Prior to the UN, Mr Day worked in Human Rights Watch’s Justice Program, for the Open Society Justice Initiative in Cambodia, and supported the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. An attorney and former member of the New York Bar Association, Mr Day was an international litigator in New York, where he also worked pro bono for the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Guantanamo detainees in their suits against former US officials for torture.

Mr Day holds a Juris Doctorate from UC Berkeley School of Law, a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a Masters in Comparative Literature from Brown University. He has several publications in the areas of international criminal law, head of state immunity for international crimes, and rule of law in post-conflict settings. He is married and has two children.

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