From War to the Rule of Law : Peace Building after Violent Conflicts

War, civil war and other political violence often revisit countries after brief periods of ‘peace’ or armistice. Some countries are ravaged by multifarious violent conflict during two to four decades. Many cease-fires and peace agreements do not cure the underlying social pathology which led to the bloodshed in the first place. I started this study to explore how a country which has gone through civil war might be helped to avoid the next war.


The journey which this explorative study maps out begins at the cease-fire line. It proceeds through the rough and risky terrain of post-war looting, military rule, interim government, and ‘transitional’ justice. We will pass refugee camps and come across heinous war criminals. Our destination is the promise of a peaceful state in the distance, where stable and possibly good governance gives comfort to the traveller. Grave threats to basic human rights dominate the entire region. The grey zone between war and peace is a source of life-threatening problems, not only to its inhabitants, but also to people in distant countries, far away from the violence.

Joris Voorhoeve | 2007
203 pages | Amsterdam : Amsterdam University Press