v8n1_04 - Building the Rule of Law and Establishing...

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The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations Building the Rule of Law and Establishing Accountability for Atrocities in the Aftermath of Conflict by Louis Aucoin A s places like Iraq and Afghanistan dominate the news, perhaps never before has post-conflict reconstruction assumed greater importance. As the resources of countries around the globe are invested in these and other conflict and post-conflict situations, it has become increasingly clear that the establishment of the rule of law is essential to the success of these efforts. In fact, the authorities have begun to recognize that the failure to prioritize the rule of law has been one of the chief failings of recent post-conflict missions. 1 In the Secretary-General of the United Nations’ August 2004 report entitled “The rule of law and transitional justice in post-conflict societies,” Kofi Annan has defined the rule of law as: a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedure and legal transparency. 2 In the past few decades, international and local actors have been working separately and together to foster all of these aspects of the rule of law in countries where it has been destroyed by conflict. There are now a number of activities that have emerged as standard strategies for the promotion of rule of law and transitional justice in post-conflict societies. New lessons are learned from each international mission or intervention in post-conflict societies, and practitioners are beginning to identify important methodological approaches building on those lessons. So-called “top-down” approaches, in which international elites attempt to impose foreign models, are frowned upon, and “bottom-up” strategies designed to foster local ownership and legitimacy are favored. In addition, practitioners of rule of law Louis Aucoin is an Associate Research Professor at the Fletcher School of Tufts University. Previously, he has worked as a Program Officer in the Rule of Law Program at the United States Institute of Peace, a Supreme Court Fellow, and a consultant to the Justice in Times of Transition Project. Professor Aucoin recieved his JD from the Boston College Law School. 33
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AUCOIN The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations promotion now call for a holistic approach to this field in which multidisciplinary teams coordinate all of their activities pursuant to a strategic plan, which itself is the result of a careful pre-deployment assessment.
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course INTERNATIO 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at Boise State.

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v8n1_04 - Building the Rule of Law and Establishing...

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