Course: Post-Conflict State-Building 2016
Melbourne Law Masters 12-18 October 2016
Bruce Oswald and Cheryl Saunders will teach an intensive subject in the Melbourne Law Masters from 12-18 October 2016 on Post-Conflict State Building. This subject deals with the body of law and practice that applies to states as they emerge from conflict and try to build strong, prosperous and responsive communities. It lies at the intersection of several bodies of law including international law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law and domestic constitutional law.
Many of the issues with which it deals are at the cutting-edge of these fields: the extra-territorial effect of constitutional law; the possibility of a ‘lex pacificatoria’ to govern the ambiguous character of intra-state peace agreements; the legitimacy of constitutions developed with international assistance; the notion of transformative military occupation.
Cheryl Saunders is a Laureate Professor Emeritus at Melbourne Law School and co-convenor of the Constitution Transformation Network. She works in the fields of comparative constitutional law and comparative public law more generally. She is a President Emeritus of the International Association of Constitutional Law and a former President of the International Association for Centres of Federal Studies. She is a senior technical advisor to the Constitution Building Program of International IDEA and a former Board Member of International IDEA.
Cheryl’s work in the field is characterised by two assumptions. The first is that comparative constitutional law should be as global as possible in its reach, in both theory and practice. The second is the importance of context in comparative constitutional law, including recognition and appreciation of difference, despite the realities of globalisation. Both inform her involvement in the activities of the Constitution Transformation Network. She participates in networks of constitutional scholars and practitioners throughout the world. She has written widely on aspects of comparative constitutional law, with a particular focus on constitution transformation in Asia and the Pacific. She has had practical involvement in constitution making and change in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and the middle east as an advisor with comparative expertise and an appreciation of how that can effectively be shared.
Current projects in which Cheryl is engaged that relate to the work of Constitution Transformation Network include an examination of the processes of constitutional transition in the face of territorial cleavages (with International IDEA, Center for Constitutional Transitions); an examination of the appropriate use of external advice in constitution building processes (with International IDEA, IACL, Venice Commission); and the concept of a constitution in an age of transnational practice (for Center on Globalization, Law and Society, UCI).
Bruce Oswald has been interested in peacebuilding for more than two decades. His interest in this area of law and practice stems from his deployment to Rwanda in 1994 as the legal officer for the first Australian contingent serving with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR II). His more recent experiences serving as a military officer with the Counter-Insurgency Training Centre in Afghanistan in 2010 further developed his interest in better understanding how societies (national and local) transition from being on conflict to building institutions that encourage the peaceful settlement of disputes. His research considers the interface between peacebuilding and constitutional transformation, including the recognition of civil defence groups in interim constitutions and constitution making processes; the implications of pluralist legal systems for constitution building and law-making in the context of peacebuilding.