John Nikita, a 33-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, shares his experiences in three different United Nations peacekeeping operations: Haiti, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Nikita discusses the challenges of recruitment and vetting, particularly in countries that are under the administration of the United Nations and have ceased to have a functioning military. His experiences with donor relations, between individual donor states and the U.N., offers insight into the coordination of efforts required for police reform. He reflects on the predeployment training policies of the Canadian government, as compared with the U.N.'s Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and on the changing nature of the "traditional" peacekeeping operation. Nikita stresses the importance of the preparedness, cultural sensitivity and suitability of the U.N. and donor state police advisors on the ground in addition to the quality of the recruits for the national police.
At the time of this interview, John Nikita had retired as director of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's International Peace Operations Branch in Ottawa, at the rank of superintendent, after more than 33 years of service to Canada. As a member of Canada's national police service, he served in a variety of positions including municipal, provincial and federal law enforcement. In 1994, he formed the RCMP's United Nations Civilian Police Administration and Logistics Unit. After establishing Canada's national police peacekeeping operations program, he went on to serve in three U.N. peacekeeping operations. In 1997, he served as the deputy commissioner and chief of operations for the U.N. mission in Haiti. In 2000-2001, he served as the chief of operations of the U.N. Interim Administration Mission Border Police, followed by a period as the chief of human resources of the Kosovo Police Service within the U.N. mission in Kosovo. In 2005-2006, Nikita served as the senior police adviser to the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.