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The Afterlife of Peace Agreements

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Law and Peace Settlements
EditorsMarc Weller, Mark Retter, Andrea Varga
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781108627856
ISBN (Print)9781108498043
Accepted/In press19 Mar 2019
PublishedJan 2021


King's Authors


The chapter examines the afterlife of peace agreements aimed at ending civil wars in thepost-Cold War era. Assessing the ‘success’ or otherwise of these agreements is not possiblewithout an appreciation of the context – historical, political, cultural and normative – withinwhich they have been negotiated, concluded and implemented. While context is thus allimportant, the history and fate of peace accords have also been shaped by the content ofindividual agreements, as well as by the manner of their implementation. The record showst hat poorly designed and inadequately supported peace agreements can entrench pre-war patterns of conflict, exacerbate intra-elite competition, and accentuate socio-economic and political grievances within war-torn societies. By contrast, agreements that are properly designed, adequately resourced, and underpinned by constructive political support from parties, regional actors and international sponsors, can strengthen the political forces and dynamics favoring long-term stability and societal transformation towards self-sustaining peace. Peace agreements after civil wars are often best approached as living documents whose flexible and politically informed interpretation can help parties and mediators chart political avenues out of protracted violence.

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