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Justice Reform in Fragile States


Justice Reform in Fragile States

Justice Reform in Fragile States presents specific and oftentimes daunting challenges. Without justice and security, however, economic and social development is seriously hindered. The international community supports numerous activities aiming at enhancing the delivery of justice and security in conflict affected environments. Some of the lessons and examples are presented in this section.

Post-Conflict Justice and Sustainable Peace

No systematic study has examined the effect of post-conflict justice on the duration of peace on a global basis. This paper, published by Scott Gates, Helga Malmin Binningsbo, and Tove Grete Lie in 2007, attempts to fill that void by building on a newly constructed dataset, which reports the presence of various forms of post-conflict justice efforts (trials, purges, reparation to victims, and truth commissions) as well as processes associated with abstaining from post-conflict justice (amnesty and exile). It investigates the long-term effects of post-conflict justice on the duration of peace after conflict. It uses a Cox proportional hazard model to analyze the influence of the various types of post-conflict justice on the length of the peace period before the recurrence of violent conflict. Post-conflict trials as well as other types of justice do lead to a more durable peace in democratic as well as non-democratic societies, but the results are weak and are therefore difficult to generalize. Forms of non-retributive justice (that is, reparations to victims and truth commissions), however, are strongly associated with the duration of peace in democratic societies, but are not significant for non-democratic societies. Amnesty tends to be destabilizing and generally associated with shorter peace duration, but exile tends to lead to a more durable peace.

Enhancing the Delivery of Justice and Security in Fragile States (OECD)

In this OECD report published in 2006 by the DAC Network on Conflict, Peace and Development Co-operation (CPDC) to the Fragile States Group (FSG) workstream on Service Delivery, the authors present an analysis of the issues around the delivery of justice and security in fragile states. Following an introduction on why justice and security matter, they analyze the objectives of justice and security service delivery in fragile states. Subsequently, they have a closer look at the political economy of the justice and security sector. Finally, they highlight the practical experiences of justice and security in fragile states and provide guidance for international support.

Gender, Justice and Truth Commissions

Truth commissions are formed to investigate human rights violations that occur during armed conflict or under repressive regimes. When their work ends, they report their findings, along with recommendations for reparations and prevention of future abuses. This 2006 World Bank study reviewed the gender-related aspects of the work of truth commissions in Peru, Sierra Leone, and South Africa, as expressed in their daily work, in the drafting of the commissions mandate, in the participation of civil society institutions, and in the preparation of the final report. The three country experiences were selected as informative examples. Following a description of the experiences in the three countries, this study focuses on the Peruvian case to illustrate how the formal and informal justice systems have responded to the gender-relevant findings of the truth commission. The study also provides general suggestions for the consideration of World Bank staff, particularly in the incorporation of gender issues into the Bank's postconflict interventions in relevant sectors. Finally, the study reviews some basic indicators of progress and impact in Bank-financed interventions in postconflict and transitional settings.

Rule of Law Reform in Post-Conflict Countries: Operational Initiatives and Lessons Learned

This World Bank study published in 2006 reviews some of the key lessons to have emerged from the last two decades of rule of law experience, typically undertaken in fragile or post-conflict countries by a multiplicity of uncoordinated actors and projects. According to this paper, there is a striking lack of systematic results-based evaluations of the programs, especially independent rigorous cross country evaluations, or comprehensive case studies of all the programs in a country. The paper says that the rule of law expertise that exists is not centralized or institutionalized, and resides in individuals who have often learned through trial and error. According to the paper, the field lacks a common foundation or basic agreement on the goals of rule of law reform, on how different aspects should be sequenced to avoid them working against each other, and fundamentally what sorts of strategies are effective. The paper highlights 11 important lessons: lack of coherent strategy and expertise; insufficient knowledge of how to bring about change; a general trend to focus on form over function; emphasis on the formal legal system over informal and traditional systems; short-term reforms in contrast to longer term strategies; wholesale vs. incremental and context-determined change; the need for local change agents; how to engender local ownership; rushed and compromised constitution making; poorly designed training and legal education programs; and the need to sequence and prioritize change.


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