Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Civilian Monitors in Armed Conflict: Opportunities and Challenges

Please join the Harriman Institute’s Program on U.S.-Russia Relations for a talk with Alexander Hug, Former Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) was deployed on 21 March 2014, following a request to the OSCE by Ukraine’s Government and a consensus decision by all 57 OSCE participating States. The SMM is an unarmed, civilian mission, present on the ground 24/7. Its main tasks are to monitor and establish facts—so that decision-makers can reach resolution—to verify the sides’ commitments to cease fire, withdraw weapons, disengage forces and formations, and de-mine, as well as to facilitate dialogue on the ground in order to reduce tensions and promote normalization of the situation.


Before the SMM appointment, Alexander Hug was a Section Head and a Senior Adviser to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities in The Hague. Mr. Hug, a trained lawyer, served as an Officer in the Swiss Army, including a stint as regional commander of the Swiss Headquarters Support Unit for the OSCE in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has also worked for the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, the Temporary International Presence in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo.