Preventing a conflict relapse in Indonesia (Aceh)


The International Monitoring Presence and the Aceh Monitoring Mission helped to prevent a conflict relapse in the Indonesian province of Aceh.

Prior to the signing of the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding which ended the armed conflict in Aceh, the EU dispatched the Initial Monitoring Presence (IMP) of 82 unarmed observers to Indonesia. These observers were therefore ready to get to work the moment the agreement was signed on 15 August 2005, preparing the ground for the arrival of the 227-strong Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) the following month.1 The AMM was a unique operation, representing a fully integrated initiative carried out jointly by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the EU. The monitoring teams were intentionally multinational and included personnel who had served in the short-lived 2002 monitoring mission deployed by the governments of Thailand and the Philippines. In addition to verifying disarmament and facilitating confidence-building measures, the AMM also chaired the Commission on Security Arrangements, which brought the parties together on a weekly basis to discuss and resolve issues at AMM headquarters. This mechanism has been described as the driving force behind the peace process, with the Commission playing an important role in ensuring that decisions on disarmament, the relocation of Indonesian military personnel, and the provision of economic assistance packages were understood by and consented to by all parties involved.2

By the end of 2005, the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) had been completely disarmed and its militant wing was formally disbanded. Aside from a relatively small residual force agreed to during the peace process, Indonesian troops had also withdrawn from the region under AMM supervision.3 Although initially mandated to only operate until 2006 (the original March deadline was extended to September), the AMM remained in Aceh until 2012. During this period, it played an important role in mediating talks between the former belligerents regarding the implementation of new laws (such as the Special Autonomy Law for Aceh) and the conduct of elections. This sustained presence combined with the AMM policy of “proactive monitoring” to help ensure that renewed conflict did not erupt in Aceh. Its mission complete, the AMM was formally withdrawn on 28 May 2012.4

1 Peter Feith. “The Aceh Peace Process: Nothing Less than Success.” US Institute of Peace. (2007) pp.3-4

2 John Quigley. “Enhancing South-East Asia’s Security: The Aceh Monitoring Mission.” in Sebastian Bersick, et al, eds. Multiregionalism and Multilateralism: Asian-European Relations in a Global Context. (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2006) pp.67-8

3 EU Council Secretariat. Background: EU Monitoring Mission in Aceh (Indonesia) – ACEH/07. (EU Commission, 2006) p.2

4 Staff and agencies. “Editorial: Thank you, EU.” The Jakarta Post. (28 May 2012) Available at: (Accessed 25/01/2022)

Start Year


End Year



Aceh, Indonesia

UN Regional Group


Type of Conflict

Risk of a conflict relapse

Type of Initiative

Monitoring, observation, political, and verification missions

Main Implementing Organisation(s)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the EU, and the governments of Norway and Switzerland




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