International peace-building interventions in post-conflict countries are intended to transform the socio-political context that led to violence and thereby build a stable and lasting peace. Yet the UN’s transitional governance approach to peace-building is ill-suited to the challenge of dealing with the predatory political economy of insecurity that often emerges in post-conflict societies. Evidence from peace-building attempts in Cambodia, East Timor and Afghanistan illustrates that the political economy incentives facing domestic elites in an environment of low credibility and weak institutionalisation lead to a cycle of patronage generation and distribution that undermine legitimate and effective governance. As a result, post-conflict countries are left vulnerable to renewed conflict and persistent insecurity. International interventions can only craft lasting peace by understanding the political economy of conflict persistence and the potential policy levers for altering, rather than perpetuating, those dynamics.
The article analyses peacebuilding theories and methods, as applied to justice system reform in post-conflict scenarios. In this respect, the international authorities involved in the reconstruction process may traditionally choose between either a ‘dirigiste’ or a consent-based approach, representing the essential terms of reference of past interventions. However, features common to most reconstruction missions, and relatively poor results, confirm the need for a change in the overall strategy. This requires international donors to focus more on the demand for justice at local levels than on the traditional supply of financial and technical aid for reforms. The article stresses the need for effectively promoting the local ownership of the reform process, without this expression being merely used by international actors as a political umbrella under which to protect themselves from potential failures.
One of the most pressing issues in the post-conflict reconstruction field is how to prioritize and sequence political, social, and economic policies to enable post-conflict countries to sustain peace and reduce the risk of violence re-occurring. Analyzing three cases of post-conflict reconstruction (Cambodia, Mozambique, and Haiti) and expert opinions of 30 academicians and practitioners, this study identifies major reconstruction policies, outlines the preferred way to prioritize and sequence them, and develops a framework to help policymakers better navigate the complexities and challenges of forming appropriate policies.
This article argues that the mixed tribunals of Sierra Leone and Cambodia provide important lessons about the problems and dilemmas in achieving the legitimacy that is necessary for transitional justice mechanisms to have a positive local impact. High hopes have been held for the mixed model, but experiences show that this model is no easy fix to the legitimacy problems faced by the international tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. By locating a tribunal in the post-conflict setting, new dilemmas of legitimacy may arise. This article suggests that transitional justice mechanisms should strike a balance between backward-looking and forward-looking justice, and between international and national participation in the tribunals, but this is not done by simply locating a tribunal in the affected country.
Based on the study of every internationally negotiated civil war settlement between 1980 and 1998, this volume presents the most comprehensive effort to date to evaluate the role of international actors in peace implementation. It looks into promises made by combatants in peace agreements and examines when and why those promises are fulfilled. The authors differentiate between conflicts, showing why Guatemala is not Bosnia, and why strategies that succeed in benign environments fail in more challenging ones. Going beyond attributing implementation failures to a lack of political will, the volume argues that an absence of political will reflects the judgment of major powers of the absence of vital security interests. Overall, the authors emphasize that implementers must tailor their strategies and give priority to certain tasks in implementation, such as demobilizing soldiers and demilitarizing politics, to achieve success.
A significant number of countries worldwide are described as entering a phase of `post’-conflict transition. Drawing on the experience of the health sector, this paper argues that the nature of the rehabilitation task is often misunderstood. In particular, it is often equated with reconstruction of war-damaged infrastructure and assets. Such an approach derives from a misconception of the origins and nature of contemporary warfare. It also serves to reinforce a linear approach to the transition from relief to development. This paper attempts to redefine the rehabilitation task in situations of `post’-conflict transition, drawing on examples from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Uganda. It argues that the direct effects of military action on the social sector are less significant than the indirect effects of political, economic and social changes which both underlie and are precipitated by conflict. Therefore, rehabilitation needs to go beyond reconstruction and tackle the root causes of instability. Such a reinterpretation of the rehabilitation task raises a number of dilemmas, particularly for international actors concerned to contribute to a sustainable peace. These dilemmas are rooted in both the uncertainty about the legitimacy of incoming governments in transitional situations, and in the organisation of the aid system itself. The paper concludes that confronting these dilemmas implies a fundamental change in the orientation and delivery of aid in `post’-conflict situations.
In a sweeping review of forty truth commissions, Priscilla Hayner delivers a definitive exploration of the global experience in official truth-seeking after widespread atrocities. When Unspeakable Truths was first published in 2001, it quickly became a classic, helping to define the field of truth commissions and the broader arena of transitional justice. This second edition is fully updated and expanded, covering twenty new commissions formed in the last ten years, analyzing new trends, and offering detailed charts that assess the impact of truth commissions and provide comparative information not previously available. Placing the increasing number of truth commissions within the broader expansion in transitional justice, Unspeakable Truths surveys key developments and new thinking in reparations, international justice, healing from trauma, and other areas. The book challenges many widely-held assumptions, based on hundreds of interviews and a sweeping review of the literature. This book will help to define how these issues are addressed in the future.
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.
Although the idea of postconflict peacebuilding appeared to hold great promise after the end of the Cold War, within a very few years the opportunities for peacebuilding seemed to pale beside the obstacles to it. This volume examines the successes and failures of large-scale interventions to build peace in El Salvador, Cambodia, Haiti, Somalia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.