This article critically reanalyses the action, or lack of action, taken by UN peacekeepers in Rwanda and Srebrenica in the 1990's. The lack of action of UN peacekeepers in Rwanda and Bosnia has long been criticised as a conscious decision made by peacekeepers to not act in defence of those being targeted but instead to act as bystanders of genocide when they had the ability to prevent acts of genocide taking place. This article re-examines the actions of the UN command under Romeo Dallaire in Rwanda and Thom Karremans in Srebrenica, Bosnia in terms of the stress-related factors which influenced their decisions and actions. A modern risk assessment tool for Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder, the DRRI-2 Scales, developed by psychologists at the National Centre for PTSD in the United States, evaluates which stress-related factors make modern-day soldiers deployed to conflict zones susceptible or more resilient to developing PTSD. This article reveals that in four out of the six diagnostic categories analysed by the DRRI-2 Scales, that UN peacekeepers in Rwanda and Srebrenica would have answered affirmatively to being exposed to a significant number of stressors outlined in the DRRI-2 Scales. This article challenges the reader to critically rethink the judgements that have been placed on peacekeeper's actions in Rwanda and Srebrenica based on this close analysis of their deployment environment, operational limitations and perceived threat to life. Given the multi-layered and persistent stress which these circumstances placed on peacekeepers, I ask what behaviour could have been reasonably expected of UN peacekeepers in Rwanda and Bosnia?
"Failure to Protect?: Applying the DRRI-2 Scales to Rwanda and Srebrenica,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol14/iss3/6
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