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Peacemaking, Power-sharing and International Law

Imperfect Peace

By: Martin Wählisch
Media of Peacemaking, Power-sharing and International Law
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Published: 22-04-2021
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 248
ISBN: 9781509946730
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £31.99
Online price : £28.79
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About Peacemaking, Power-sharing and International Law

This monograph provides a contemporary analysis of the frictions between peacemaking and international human rights law based on the cases of postconflict power-sharing in Lebanon and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In this context it evaluates the long-standing debate in the United Nations and human rights bodies about the 'imperfect peace'. Written from a practitioner–scholarly viewpoint and drawing from new authentic sources, the book describes the mechanisms used in peace agreements and post-conflict constitutions for managing ethnic or religious diversity, explains their legal limits under international human rights law, and provides a conceptual framework for analysing the nexus between law and peacemaking. The book argues that the relationship between the content of peace agreements and post-conflict constitutions, their negotiation process and the element of time, needs to be untangled to better understand the legal limits of statebuilding in the aftermath of armed conflict. It is a key resource for scholars in human rights law and peace and conflict studies, advisers in peace processes, constitution-makers, and peace mediators.

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction
I. State Transitions, Power-Sharing and International Law
II. Closing the Gap
III. Methodology and Scope
2. Power-Sharing in Theory and Practice: Concepts, Mechanisms and Legal Challenges
I. Ethnic and Religious Diversity as a Challenge for International Law
II. Democracy Theory and the Perspective of Conflict Resolution
III. Mechanisms
IV. The Legal Debate
V. Conclusion: The Necessity and Challenges of Bridging Interdisciplinary Perspectives
3. Power-Sharing on Trial: Sejdic and Finci v Bosnia and Herzegovina
I. Bosnia and Herzegovina between Transition and Transformation
II. Relevant Decisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Constitutional Court (1997–2009)
III. ECtHR Definition of Ethnic-Racial Discrimination in Sejdic and Finci
IV. Justifying Human Rights Restrictions
V. Post-trial Developments and Constitutional Reform Process
VI. Conclusion
4. Through the Lens of Human Rights Committees: Lebanese Political Confessionalism and Transitional Mechanism
I. State Stability, Sectarian Traditions and Socio-Political Change
II. Reports Submitted by Lebanon to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
III. Debate in the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
IV. Analysis: Confessionalism and Non-Discrimination
V. Transitional Power-Sharing, Unity Governments, Proportions of High-Level Posts and the Right to Participation
VI. Proportionality and Time Limitations
VII. Conclusion
5. On the Law of Peace: Parameters, Challenges and Limits
I. The Quest for Absolute Limitations in Peacemaking
II. Peremptory Norms and Peacemaking
III. A Conceptual Model for Reflections about the Law of Peace Debate
IV. Open Questions and Future Research Agenda
V. Concluding Remarks


“Lasting peace requires the respect for universal human rights. This book offers unique insights into how to find the balance between practical political solutions and the respect for international law. It is a rich resource for peacemakers and conflict parties, and an indispensable read on the phenomenon of the “imperfect peace”.” –  Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, former Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs

“A balanced examination of a key issue for mediators and international lawyers alike, the tension between human rights concerns and practical peacemaking. Waehlisch writes with the authority of one who is both an academic but also a political adviser with plentiful hands on experience in the regions from which he draws his case studies, the Balkans and the Arab world.” –  Sir Derek Plumbly KCMG, King's College London, former UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon

“A rigorous reflection on the tension between peacemaking and the protection of human rights. The focus on two well-chosen case-studies brings the problem to life, and international law is presented in the light of deeply understood practical experience. This illuminating, thought-provoking work deserves to be read by everyone involved in the law, practice or study of peacemaking, statebuilding, or human rights.” –  Professor David Feldman, Cambridge University, former Judge of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina

“Is there a law of peace? This insightful book deploys a comparative analysis drawing from the Balkans to the Middle East across the scholarly-practitioner divide to elucidate this now evolving normative development.” –  Professor Ruti Teitel, New York Law School

Imperfect Peace is an extraordinarily useful and original book that brings together concerns and areas of scholarship and practice that do not always communicate well. Grounded in actual cases it is a “must read” for anyone interested in peace and the evolution of the international system.” –  Professor Andrea Bartoli, Dean School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University

“Practitioners and scholars alike will find the monograph helpful not only to understand better the relationship between international law and peace, but how to navigate and use it to best effect. Well-informed, Waehlisch offers a sober yet progressive account with insights about real-world dynamics along with thoughtful suggestions for recurrent problems. Those facing the challenges of transitions will find this a timely and indispensable reference.” –  Professor John Packer, University of Ottawa, UN DPA Standby Team Constitutions and Process Design Expert

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