Bertrand G. Ramcharan

Bertrand G. Ramcharan is Chancellor of the University of Guyana and Professor at the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. He served as Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2003-2004), Director of the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, and Director of the Africa I Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs.

The idea of preventive diplomacy has captivated the United Nations ever since it was first articulated by Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld nearly half a century ago. Preventive diplomacy was presaged by Article 99 of the United Nations Charter, which allowed the Secretary-General to bring to the Security Council's attention threats to international peace and security. From the outset of the United Nations, Secretary-General Trygve Lie used the competence under this Article to gather information about situations, to establish contacts with those concerned, to send emissaries to look closely at situations, and to do whatever he could to head off or contain crises of international concern.