Peace Agreements, Constitutional Commitments and Sustainable Peace

Many peace agreements call for constitutional change to secure sustainable peace. Critical differences between peace agreements and constitutions, however, make implementation challenging, potentially jeopardising peace.

This new project, funded by the Folke Bernadotte Academy, explores how the links between peace agreements and constitutional implementation can be strengthened, while maintaining the integrity of both. It draws on an analytical framework developed in our project Constitutional Implementation for Sustainable Peace which identified four distinct components of post-conflict constitutional implementation (textual, technical, interpretive, and cultural) and demonstrated that both the process and substance of implementation are relevant to peace.

We will test the analytical framework developed in the first phase against two more complex case studies – the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord in Sri Lanka and the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Nepal – where constitutional implementation of peace agreements encountered serious problems. We will investigate the different points at which failures of implementation occurred and use these to identify ways in which the links between peace agreements and constitutional implementation can be strengthened for the future.

This research project will enhance understanding of the factors that inhibit or support constitutional implementation in conflict affected contexts. Insights from the case studies, while specific to their local context, will inform the work of rule of law and peacebuilding practitioners by bridging the gap between constitutional law and the implementation of commitments made during peacebuilding. The findings will be directly relevant to policymakers in other emerging post-conflict contexts including, for example, Sudan, as peace agreements with constitutional commitments are negotiated in circumstances in which their effective implementation cannot be guaranteed.