A key contention of the transitional justice movement is that the more comprehensive and vigorous the effort to bring justice to a departed authoritarian regime the better the democratizing outcome will be. This essay challenges this view with empirical evidence from the Iberian Peninsula. In Portugal, a sweeping policy of purges intended to cleanse the state and society of the authoritarian past nearly derailed the transition to democracy by descending into a veritable witch-hunt. In Spain, by contrast, letting bygones be bygones, became a foundation for democratic consolidation. These counter-intuitive examples suggest that there is no pre-ordained outcome to transitional justice, and that confronting an evil past is neither a requirement nor a pre-condition for democratization. This is primarily because the principal factors driving the impulse toward justice against the old regime are political rather than ethical or moral. In Portugal, the rise of transitional justice mirrored the anarchic politics of the revolution that lunched the transition to democracy. In Spain, the absence of transitional justice reflected the pragmatism of a democratic transition anchored on compromise and consensus.
This article challenges the common assumption that the external actors involved in the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) are driven either by neo-realist strategic competition or by the constraining power of domestic lobbies, or by a mixture of both. Such implicit assumptions are evident in the controversial argument of the power of the ‘Israel lobby’ as promoted by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. This article argues that approaches based on such assumptions fail to explain adequately the policies adopted not only by the United States, but also by other key external actors who have been historically engaged in the MEPP — the Soviet Union and the European Union. A better explanatory framework is provided by treating the MEPP as an institution and by applying a historical institutionalist approach to the development of the MEPP, using such concepts as critical junctures, path dependence and positive feedback to analyse how the main external actors involved in the MEPP came to adopt their distinctive national approaches to the peace process. In particular, it is the responses of these actors to certain critical junctures, most notably but not exclusively to the period of the 1967 and 1973 Arab– Israeli wars, that has had a particularly strong influence on policy formulation. For the US case, the creative policymaking of Henry Kissinger during the period after the 1973 war, which was subsequently incorporated into the US conceptualization of the MEPP, provides powerful and generally unrecognized insights into the initial puzzle identified by Walt and Mearsheimer — the consistent and almost unconditional support given to Israel by the United States despite the strategic problems this creates for broader US Middle East policy.
It is uncontroversial that the invasion and occupation of Iraq involved the following errors: the misinterpretation of intelligence; the underestimation of the number of troops requisite for law and order; the disbanding of the Iraqi army; and indiscriminate debaathification of the civil service. The first error was one of imagination rather than virtue; the others were caused by ‘callousness”, impatience, and consequent imprudence. These vices were partly responsible for massive civilian casualties, which many wrongly assume to teach the fundamentally erroneous character of the invasion. Nonetheless, we should beware such moral flaws in tomorrow’s policy-makers and renounce the managerial mentality that fosters them.
Another lesson is that, in so far as nation-rebuilding requires substantial and long-term commitments, it must command the support of the nation-builder’s domestic electorate; and to do that, it must be able to justify itself in terms of the national interest. From this we should not infer the further lesson that morality’s reach into foreign policy is limited, since, according to Thomist ethics, the pursuit of the national interest can itself be moral.
Finally, one lesson that we should not learn from Iraq is never again to violate the letter of international law and intervene militarily in a sovereign state without Security Council authorization. The law’s authority can be undermined as much by the UN’s failure to enforce it, as by states taking it into their own hands. It is seriously problematic that the current international legal system denies the right of individual states to use military force unilaterally except in self-defence, while reserving the enforcement of international law to a body, whose capacity to act is hamstrung by the right of veto. Given this situation, military intervention without Security Council authorization could be morally justified on certain conditions.
Judging by the popular press, in January 2011 Twitter and Facebook went from being simply engaging social diversions to become engines of political change that upended decades of Arab authoritarianism. It is tempting to be swept away by this narrative, which suggests that social media prompted hundreds of thousands, and then millions, of Tunisians and Egyptians to pour into the streets and peacefully demand change. Brittle authoritarian regimes had little choice but to comply, and in this way, social media irrevocably changed the future of the Middle East. Following the logic to its conclusion, it would suggest that the Middle East is on the brink of a period of democratic consolidation, as the ideals and tools of revolutionaries lead the region forward into a period of anti-sectarianism, liberalism, and hope.
On numerous occasions in the past fifteen years, U.N. peacekeepers have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing the populations they serve. A Comprehensive Review of peacekeeper misconduct completed in 2005 identified significant problems and recommended numerous changes to address them. The U.S. Army and NATO, in a response to the possibility that their deployed troops will be engaged in or facilitate human trafficking, have enacted new policies intended to remove their troops from the demand for women trafficked for sexual services. The Department of Defense and NATO initiatives are similar to those being considered by the United Nations for preventing sexual misconduct by its peacekeepers. Because the United States, NATO, and the United Nations are all addressing the problems of sexual misconduct by deployed troops, their efforts should be mutually reinforcing. The examples of American and NATO armed forces offer hope that the United Nations will also enact strong measures to prevent future misconduct by its peacekeepers.
In 2006, the author spent three months in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia working as an environmental lawyer with a small Mongolian human rights group called the Center for Human Rights and Development (CHRD). CHRD was working to stop human trafficking, promote human rights, and protect the environment in the face of extreme poverty, government secrecy, corruption, and a post-Soviet government dominated by former members of the Communist party. The proliferation of NGOs at the national and international level is not only important to the process of nation-building, but can also offer remarkable opportunities for people who wish to contribute to that process. If my own experience is any guide, the NGO sector can be far more open, flexible, and welcoming than the governmental sector.
A wide range of activities were carried out by UNEP in Iraq between 2003 and 2006, primarily through the Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch (PCDMB) based in Geneva, Switzerland, and the International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) based in Osaka and Shiga, Japan. Many activities continued into 2007 and beyond. This report is an up-to-date compilation of the various activities undertaken by UNEP in Iraq between 2003 and 2006. Its objectives are the following:
1. To provide a complete description of the various activities undertaken by UNEP in Iraq between 2003 and 2006;
2. To make an objective assessment of the impacts of UNEP’s intervention; and
3. To document the lessons learned by UNEP in implementing activities in a complex situation such as Iraq.
As the smoke and dust settled and peace was re-established in what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the summer of 1999, it was evident that not only had people been through untold pain and suffering but that the environment had suffered as well. However, the extent and nature of the conflict-related damage to the environment and the threats these might pose were unknown.
In response to widely voiced concerns, the United Nations Environment Programme established a task force (the Balkans Task Force) with a mandate to assess objectively and scientifically immediate threats to human health and the environment arising from the conflict.
This was the first time that environmental issues had been recognized and integrated as a central part of the immediate United Nations post-conflict humanitarian effort. In October 1999 UNEP presented its findings in the report entitled The Kosovo Conflict – Consequences for the Environment and Human Settlements. This drew a number of important conclusions on the post-conflict situation in the region and – in particular – singled out four heavily polluted environmental ‘hot spots’ (Pancevo, Kragujevac, Novi Sad and Bor), for immediate humanitarian assistance. This report documents in detail how, during a period of four-and-a-half years (mid-1999 to December 2003) UNEP went about assessing the environmental consequences of the war and implementing a pioneering clean-up project to address serious conflict-related environmental damage.
“Nation-building” is an increasingly frequent activity of Western governments and the United Nations, with Kosovo an important recent example. This study examines the reconstruction by the United Nations of Kosovo’s internal security infrastructure from 1999 to 2004. It analyzes United Nations and other activities to build democratic police and justice systems. Through a model of security reconstruction, it examines in detail the primary security challenges facing Kosovo, the specific efforts the United Nations made to address these challenges, the ultimate effectiveness of the reconstruction in establishing stability and rule of law, and the linkages between reconstruction efforts and democracy. It concludes with several lessons for improving the effectiveness of such efforts in the future.
In this essay I will reflect on the effects of training for peacebuilding and nonviolent conflict transformation. I will reflect on these issues from the point of view of a practitioner – a peace activist and trainer for peacebuilding and nonviolent action – and not as a scientist (although we do strive to combine activism and structured thinking and planning in our work). The text reflects peacebuilding experiences through the lens of an insider – although nowadays it is inevitable to think of roles of both insiders and outsiders and their co-relation. The second section presents the goals and methods of CNA’s training work, followed by a third section that outlines lessons learned and recommendations for practice. The fourth section goes beyond the training issue as it discusses general trade-offs and dilemmas we face in our peace work. It also reflects on the difficulty of assessing the impact and influence of training. Training aims at changing the attitudes of individuals. The question is whether conducting “successful” training, or conducting more of these activities, will necessarily lead to a situation where social change will follow. It is a difficult task to generate sustainable force that will have social impact. The fifth section draws conclusions and points to remaining challenges.
This article analyses which of the major lessons learned from previous experiences in nation building have been applied or ignored in Iraq. It focuses on the first six months of the post-combat period, a time frame generally recognised as being critical for laying the foundations for a stable and democratic future. A review of previous cases points to six lessons that, in fact, have been unlearned, and only two that have been realised in this initial phase in Iraq.
Civil wars and state repression have left many societies traumatised and shattered. Unsolved atrocities and injustices can easily provoke new cycles of violence. Impunity may undermine trust in the legal system, increasing the risk that vigilante justice will be resorted to and encourage further atrocities. Mistrust and hatred between former adversaries inhibits reconstruction, decision making and economic development. An amnesty deal may be required to end violence and enable a peace treaty. The call for compromise and national reconciliation may be necessary to ensure an end to hostilities, but past injustices that are never addressed can easily become a source of renewed violent conflict. Often victims can only make peace with their perpetrators if they know their own suffering and that of their loved ones is officially acknowledged. Furthermore, for the reintegration of perpetrators and victims into society they must be commonly accepted. The first section of this chapter reviews various instruments and institutions that have been established to support peaceful coexistence and the restoration of law. It addresses the following questions: Under which conditions can criminal tribunals, truth commissions or amnesty laws be helpful in dealing with past atrocities? How can property issues be solved through mediation or in community courts? The chapter then outlines some general considerations as to the principles and strategies that should be followed by third parties who seek to support such institutions and instruments. Arguing for a long-term approach, the final section summarises some issues for further debate, pointing to some problematic assumptions and developments that have so far gone hand in hand with the current enthusiasm for international criminal law and truth commissions.
Establishing the rule of law is increasingly seen as the panacea for all the problems that afflict many non-Western countries, particularly in post- conflict settings… This Article argues that this newfound fascination with the rule of law is misplaced… This Article proceeds as follows: Part I traces the historical origins of the links among security, development, and human rights discourses since World War II and identifies some recurring themes, despite real differences among them. Part I also points out the ways in which the lines among these discourses began blurring since the 1970s and during the post-Cold War period, especially in the context of peace operations. Part II discusses the convergence between the human rights and rule of law discourses in the post-Cold War period, but also points out the continuing differences between the two. Part III examines the meaning of the rule of law in the context of development and finds that the rule of law is no substitute for human rights. Part III also questions whether the rule of law is even a key requirement for successful economic growth. Part IV examines the meaning of the rule of law in the context of security and finds that reliance on this concept cannot hide the more fundamental question of legitimacy in the post-9/11 world. In the field of security, it would not be prudent to lessen the reliance on the discourse of human rights for the fuzzier discourse on the rule of law. The Conclusion then offers some reflections on the lessons that have been learned about how best to capture the synergy that may exist between different fields of international interventions in the security, development, and human rights policy domains.
The United States has consistently failed to deal with the breakdown in public order that invariably confronts peace and stability operations in internal conflicts. Analysis of experience in Panama, Somalia, Haiti, the Balkans and Iraq demonstrates that indigenous police forces are typically incapable of providing law and order in the immediate aftermath of conflict, and so international forces must fill the gap – a task the US military has been unwilling and unprepared to assume. After 20 years of lessons learned (and not learned), this article argues that the United States must develop a civilian ‘stability force’ of constabulary and police personnel deployable at the outset of on operation to restore public order and lay the foundations for the rule of law.
There is a growing recognition of the need for home-grown solutions to transitional justice issues rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. In part, this reflects the commonsense view that without local ownership of transitional justice processes, there is unlikely to be domestic buy-in and sustainability. Despite its growing popularity, the concept of local or home-grown transitional justice is ambiguously defined. It is frequently insufficiently spelt out, used interchangeably and applied uncritically. This article uses a case study of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) to explore the concept of home-grown transitional justice and posit preliminary questions. The HET is a bespoke unit set up by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to re-examine deaths attributable to the conflict in Northern Ireland and answer the unresolved questions of families of conflict victims. The work of the HET is unique and innovative in the world of policing. In transitional justice terms, it breaks new ground as amicro-level information-recovery mechanism. This article argues that the current euphoria for ‘all that is local’ may be in danger of overlooking important considerations, such as who are ‘the locals’ and whose interests are being served. It raises further questions about issues of ownership, trust and legitimacy. The article concludes that there needs to be clarification of concepts, as well as more careful evidence-based analysis of what constitutes home-grown transitional justice and what such a processmight conceal.
This text provides a glimpse into the research-workings of a project entitled ‘Conflict Cultures and Intercultural Mediation’, based at the Berghof Research Center. It covers findings resulting from the pilot phase of the project, which came to an end in September 1995, and it can therefore only do partial justice to the range of expectations aroused by its title. The aim has been to bring home to the reader, working as closely as possible to the analysed material, just how difficult a form of intercession intercultural mediation is.
The general aim of the paper is to examine conclusions stemming from empirical research and contribute to the studies on the possibility of ethnic conflict prevention. The analysis has the following goals: a) Exploration of case study related to the situation of the Hungarian minority in Romania since the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu and the 1990 confrontation to the results of 2000 elections and their aftermath. b) Discussion on practical lessons for ethnic conflict prevention that could be drawn from the case after ten years of developments. c) Formulation of initial conclusions concerning the relevance of the Romanian experience for a model of ethnic conflict dynamics.
Peacekeeping has been a significant part of Australia’s overseas military engagement since the end of the Second World War. Yet it is a part of the country’s history that has been largely neglected until the 1990s, and even since then interest has been slow to develop. In the last sixty years, between 30,000 and 40,000 Australian military personnel and police have served in more than 50 peacekeeping missions in at least 27 different conflicts. This insightful, engaging and superbly-edited volume approaches Australian peacekeeping from four angles: its history, its agencies, some personal reflections, and its future. Contributors discuss the distinction between peacekeeping and war-fighting, the importance of peacekeeping in terms of public policy, the problems of multinational command, and the specialist contributions of the military, civilian police, mine-clearers, weapons inspectors and diplomats.
Peacekeeping has long been treated as an instrument of conflict management, which is unfortunately flawed in that it usually fails to address the underlying causes of the conflict. However, we will focus on its capacity as a tool for conflict resolution, paying particular attention to the dual goal of containing violence on the one hand and furthering peacebuilding efforts on the other. While we recognise, of course, that peacekeeping has over the years been performed by various organisations, this chapter will centre on United Nations peacekeeping, reasoning that many of the aspects explored here are obviously relevant to the peacekeeping efforts of other organisations as well. The first section outlines the parameters of contemporary peacekeeping. The second section elaborates on the significance of conflict research and theory building for peacekeeping practice. This will be further explored in three contexts: conflict analysis and its relevance for the establishment of intervention frameworks; differing time frames and the importance of distinguishing between these in managing violent conflict, especially in relation to the latest discussions on robust peacekeeping; specific skills and the training necessary for contemporary peacekeeping missions, focusing especially on the contribution of conflict resolution. This section concludes with a discussion of perspectives on, and examples of, the application of conflict resolution theory in peacekeeping. The final section discusses future priorities and needs and concludes by commenting on the future of peacekeeping in the light of latest efforts to strengthen the UN‘s peacekeeping capacity.
Internationally, there is a current rising demand for police to participate in complex peace operations. Achieving multilateral â€˜integrated missionsâ€™ has become a key objective for these operations. One of the key requirements for such operations is interoperability between police drawn from different countries. Australia has had police serve in multilateral and other kinds of missions in Timor-Leste since 1999. In this article, we draw on interviews with 64 Australian police officers who participated in different missions in Timor-Leste. Integrating the insights from cultural analysis, the paper explores the specific challenges of bringing together police from different nations to work effectively within these operations.
Fukuyama brings together esteemed academics, political analysts, and practitioners to reflect on the U.S. experience with nation-building, from its historical underpinnings to its modern-day consequences. The United States has sought on repeated occasions to reconstruct states damaged by conflict, from Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War to Japan and Germany after World War II, to the ongoing rebuilding of Iraq. Despite this rich experience, there has been remarkably little systematic effort to learn lessons on how outside powers can assist in the building of strong and self-sufficient states in post-conflict situations. The contributors dissect mistakes, false starts, and lessons learned from the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq within the broader context of reconstruction efforts in other parts of the world, including Latin America, Japan, and the Balkans. Examining the contrasting models in Afghanistan and Iraq, they highlight the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq as a cautionary example of inadequate planning.
In particular, this article focuses on the potential contributions of civil society actors for peacebuilding and conflict transformation.1 Some of the central questions addressed in this text are: What types of activities do international and transnational NGOs undertake in order to influence international politics in a way that contributes to stable peace and coping with global challenges? What potential do actors from civil society offer for war-to-peace transitions? What problems and dilemmas are faced in the development of civil society in war-torn societies? What are the limitations of civil society’s contributions and how does it relate to state-building? Finally, how does any of this impact on theoretical conceptualisations of the term “civil society”? By way of elaborating these questions, the second section of this article discusses various terms and definitions linked to debates about civil society. The third section gives a general overview of NGO activities at the international and regional level. The fourth section presents a critical assessment of their roles and the fifth section deals with their impact and legitimacy. The sixth section addresses the potential contributions of civil society in war-torn societies and post-conflict peacebuilding, with specific reference to the last 10 years of experience in the Balkans. The seventh section contextualises the development of civil society in relation to the challenges of state-building and investigates the theoretical implications of this relationship for conceptualising the term “civil society”. The eighth section draws some central conclusions, makes policy recommendations and identifies the needs for further research.
This article discusses the attempts at state-building by international actors in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It uses this experience to discuss some of the obstacles and dilemmas facing external state-builders. I argue that attempts at state-building by foreign actors in the DRC have not had much success, and point out four reasons. First, insufficient resources have been provided. Second, donors have used a standardized approach that does not take local context sufficiently into account. Third, domestic power relations have been such that state-building has not served the interests of key actors. Finally, the policy has been based on a fixed, non-negotiable conception of what the state eventually should look like. Although all these factors have contributed to the failure to create a liberal state in the DRC, the last two appear to be more fundamental than the first and the second.
The 19th of April Movement was the first of many guerrilla groups in Colombia to start a negotiation process that concluded in a final peace agreement involving its demobilisation as an armed group and leading to some of its members founding a new political party, the Democratic Alliance M19. This not only paved the way for seven other groups to start peace negotiations and ultimately transform from armed to political actors. This study combines interaction between first-hand experience and academic knowledge of this peace process. The study is divided into four sections. The first explores the context in which M-19 emerged, the reasons for its appearance and the way in which it engaged in armed struggle as a political-military movement. The second section considers the internal and external factors that pointed this guerrilla group towards the path of peace. Section 3 analyses the way in which M-19 entered the peace process, negotiated a political agreement and subsequently formed a legitimate political movement that participated in electoral life. A final section draws out the results of this process, highlighting some lessons that could be relevant to other groups who consider a similar path.
Keeping the Peace explores the new multidimensional role that the United Nations has played in peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding over the last few years. By examining the paradigm-setting cases of Cambodia and El Salvador, and drawing lessons from these UN ‘success stories’, the book seeks to point the way toward more effective ways for the international community to address conflict in the post-Cold War era. This book is especially timely given its focus on the heretofore amorphous middle ground between traditional peacekeeping and peace. It provides the first comparative, in-depth treatment of substantial UN activities in everything from the demobilization and reintegration of forces, the return of refugees, the monitoring of human rights, and the design and supervision of constitutional, judicial, and electoral reforms, to the observation and even organization and conduct of elections, and the coordination of support for economic rehabilitation and reconstruction of countries torn by war.
This study contains the results of research on best practices in nationbuilding. It is intended to complement a companion volume, America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq, which focuses on U.S.-led nationbuilding efforts. Its purpose is to analyze United Nations military, political, humanitarian, and economic activities in post-conflict situations since World War II, determine key principles for success, and draw implications for future nation-building missions. The study contains the lessons learned from eight UN cases: Belgian Congo, Namibia, El Salvador, Cambodia, Mozambique, Eastern Slavonia, Sierra Leone, and East Timor. It also examines the nationbuilding effort in Iraq.
Since the mid-1990s the UN, in tandem with major western powers, has embarked upon an ambitious effort of peace support operations in Africa. The results of what we may call the ‘Annan experiment’ are not yet in. But there are good reasons to fear that, in many African countries, such peace operations have defend normative outcomes that are beyond realistic expectation, so that they can never hope to ‘succeed’. This article examines the political and economic functioning of fragile African states using the lens of a ‘political marketplace’ in which local elites seek to obtain the highest reward for their loyalty, over short time horizons, within patrimonial systems. In such systems, political institutions are incapable of managing confect, which means that standard peacemaking efforts and peacekeeping operations do not align with domestic possibilities for settlement. To the contrary, external engagements can so distort domestic political markets that they obstruct national political bargaining and result in an open-ended commitment to peacekeeping in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.
This article examines the role of development co-operation in the 1991-2001 civil war in Sierra Leone. British military intervention, sanctions against Liberia for supporting the rebellion and the deployment of UN peacekeepers were key, albeit belated, initiatives that helped resolve the conflict. The lessons are that, first, domestic forces alone may be incapable of resolving large-scale violent conflicts in Africa. Second, conflict tends to spread from one country to another, calling for strong regional conflict resolution mechanisms and deeper regional integration to promote peace. Third, donor policies need to address the root causes of state fragility, especially the political and security dimensions, which they tend to ignore. Fourth, a critical analysis is required to determine circumstances in which elections could undermine peace: the conduct of donor-supported elections under an unpopular military government in Sierra Leone culminated in an escalation of the conflict. Finally, a united international community is crucial to resolve a complex conflict and it should be accompanied by strong and timely measures informed by a full understanding of local conditions.
This paper examines the experience of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), specifically, its Post-Conflict Assessment Unit (PCAU), as an instrument of post-conflict environmental peacemaking. The ecological challenges facing war-torn societies can be as daunting as the social ones, as people struggle to provide themselves with clean water, sanitation, food and energy supplies in settings marked by toxification, the destruction of infrastructure, the loss of livelihoods, and the disruption of local institutions. Over time, these immediate environmental difficulties evolve into more diffuse but equally important challenges: establishing systems of environmental governance, creating the requisite administrative and institutional capacity, and finding sustainable trajectories for economic reconstruction and development. If handled effectively, environmental challenges may create a solid foundation for peace and sustainable development; if handled poorly, they risk undercutting the already tenuous peace that typically marks such situations. The paper identifies common patterns across several recent cases in which UNEP/PCAU has been active. Particular attention is paid to UNEP’s impact, or lack thereof, with regard to four core themes: (1) the problem of reconstituting government; (2) monitoring and assessment challenges in militarized environments; (3) linking environmental assistance and humanitarian aid; and (4) moving from environmental clean-up to planning and administration.
Post-conflict governments and donors prioritize rebuilding the justice sector through state delivered rule of law and access to justice programmes. Misunderstanding the nature of the post-colonial state, such programmes make questionable assumptions. First, that a lack of access to state justice is the same as an overall absence of justice. Second, that the state system that is being built is what people want. Third, that the state system of justice that is being built could provide a sustainable nationwide network in the foreseeable future. Based on interviews conducted with policy designers, practitioners, local people and chiefs at three sites in southern Sudan 2007, this article calls for a rethinking of donor-supported justice and police development and advocates an approach that recognizes the importance of local justice.
The Trouble with the Congo suggests a new explanation for international peacebuilding failures in civil wars. Drawing from more than 330 interviews and a year and a half of field research, it develops a case study of the international intervention during the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s unsuccessful transition from war to peace and democracy (2003–2006). Grassroots rivalries over land, resources, and political power motivated widespread violence. However, a dominant peacebuilding culture shaped the intervention strategy in a way that precluded action on local conflicts, ultimately dooming the international efforts to end the deadliest conflict since World War II. Most international actors interpreted continued fighting as the consequence of national and regional tensions alone. UN staff and diplomats viewed intervention at the macro levels as their only legitimate responsibility. The dominant culture constructed local peacebuilding as such an unimportant, unfamiliar, and unmanageable task that neither shocking events nor resistance from select individuals could convince international actors to reevaluate their understanding of violence and intervention.
Why do international peacebuilders fail to address the local causes of peace process failures? The existing explanations of peacebuilding failures, which focus on constraints and vested interests, do not explain the international neglect of local conflict. In this article, I show how discursive frames shape international intervention and preclude international action on local violence. Drawing on more than 330 interviews, multi-sited ethnography, and document analysis, I develop a case study of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s transition from war to peace and democracy (2003-2006) I demonstrate that local agendas played a decisive role in sustaining local, national, and regional violence. However, a postconflict peacebuilding frame shaped the international understanding of violence and intervention in such a way that local conflict resolution appeared irrelevant and illegitimate. This frame included four key elements: international actors labeled the Congo a “postconflict” situation; they believed that violence there was innate and therefore acceptable even in peacetime; they conceptualized international intervention as exclusively concerned with the national and international realms; and they saw holding elections, as opposed to local conflict resolution, as a workable, appropriate, and effective tool for state- and peacebuilding. This frame authorized and justified specific practices and policies while precluding others, notably local conflict resolution, ultimately dooming the peacebuilding efforts. In conclusion, I contend that analyzing discursive frames is a fruitful approach to the puzzle of international peacebuilding failures beyond the Congo.
This article clarifies the origins of the field of transitional justice and its preliminary conceptual boundaries. I argue that the field began to emerge in the late 1980s, as a consequence of new practical conditions that human rights activists faced in countries such as Argentina, where authoritarian regimes had been replaced by more democratic ones. The turn away from “naming and shaming” and toward accountability for past abuse among human rights activists was taken up at the international level, where the focus on political change as “transition to democracy” helped to legitimate those claims to justice that prioritized legal-institutional reforms and responses—such as punishing leaders, vetting abusive security forces, and replacing state secrecy with truth and transparency—over other claims to justice that were oriented toward social justice and redistribution. I end by discussing the many ways in which these initial conceptual boundaries have since been tested and expanded.
In the practice of conflict transformation, the military, as the perceived perpetrator in most armed conflicts, is almost always excluded. This paper attempts to explore the advantages of integrating armed forces in the process of conflict transformation through the description of the different approaches in engaging the military in peacebuilding, including the use of various instruments that are appropriate and effective with this particular target group. An experiment of this kind conducted in southern Philippines has shown the positive results of this approach in the cessation of hostilities in its 40-year civil strife between the Muslim insurgents and the Christian government, with a direct impact on the behavior and attitudes of the conflict actors both on intrapersonal and interpersonal levels. Finally, this paper analyzes the future challenges of converting capacities of war, such as the military, into capacities for peace within the context of the peace process.
The illicit business side of armed conflict can involve clandestine exports to fund combatants, reselling looted goods on the black market, smuggling weapons and other supplies, sanctions evasion and embargo busting, theft and diversion of humanitarian aid, and covert ‘trading with the enemy’. How does such illicit business affect peace operations in conflict zones, and how do such peace operations, in turn, affect illicit business? This article provides a preliminary answer in the case of the 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Instead of reinforcing the common tendency simply to ignore or condemn the illicit business side of conflict and its relationship to peace operations, it stresses the more ambiguous and double-edged nature of the issue. Peace operations in Bosnia contributed to illicit business activities, but in some respects illicit business also contributed to a number of peace operation goals, including helping to sustain the civilian population and even bringing an end to the conflict. The end result was actually more of a symbiotic rather than exclusively predatory relationship between peace operations and illicit business activities.
In the pages that follow, we shall address these questions regarding the impacts of agencies that work in or on conflict. We shall begin, in Sections II and III, by describing two collaborative efforts undertaken by agencies to learn more about their impacts on conflict within the societies where they work. The first, the Local Capacities for Peace Project (LCCP), involves a number of humanitarian and development assistance agencies seeking to understand how their efforts to save lives, alleviate suffering and support indigenous development interact with, and in some cases reinforce, inter-group conflicts in areas where they provide aid. The second project, Reflecting on Peace Practice (RPP), involves a number of agencies that specifically work on conflict; that is, those agencies that undertake inter-group mediation, reconciliation, peace education, conflict management, conflict transformation and other approaches to reducing the dangers of conflict. In these sections we describe the background, approaches and outcomes of these two projects. In Section IV, we turn to a review of what has been learned through LCCP about how to assess the impacts of humanitarian and development programmes on conflict and, in Section V, we present the findings about how to assess outcomes of efforts intended to reduce conflict and build peace. Finally, in Section VI, we discuss the similarities and differences in assessment techniques required, depending on whether one is working in conflict or on conflict.
After the ceasefire, a group of architects and planners from the American University of Beirut formed the Reconstruction Unit to help in the recovery process and in rebuilding the lives of those affected by the 2006 war in Lebanon. Here, a series of case studies documenting the work of the Unit discusses the lessons to be learned from the experiences of Lebanon after the July War, and suggests how those lessons might be applied elsewhere. The cases are diverse in terms of scale, type of intervention, methods, and approaches to the situation on the ground. Critical issues such as community participation, heritage protection, damage assessment and compensation policies, the role of the state, and capacity building are explored and the success and failures assessed.