(Re-)Building Sustainable Institutions for the Rule of Law in Conflict-affected Countries

The two-day closed expert meeting “(Re-)Building Sustainable Institutions for the Rule of Law in Conflict-affected Countries,” on Wednesday, 27 and Thursday 28 March 2013 at The Hague Institute for Global Justice yielded an open, successful, thorough, and stimulating discussion. Experts from a variety of countries, legal traditions, and cultural backgrounds attended to address the unique situation in Libya today.

Given the importance of a context-specific approach to any given conflict-affected country, and with a view to differences and similarities with Libya, all participants shared insights from their current work and in developments in their own countries. Lessons from rule of law operations in Afghanistan and Iraq were also considered for the sake of comparison.

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Jan Michiel Otto, VVI, Leiden University

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Abi Williams, The Hague Institute for Global Justice

Improved donor coordination was central to discussions, as were the selection and value of certain donors to post-conflict governments. Rule of law rather than of men was high on the agenda. Sharia and customary law, as well as the role of tribes, were discussed, again in comparison with Afghanistan’s and Jordan’s experiences. Strategic communications were elaborated on and agreed to as a policy tool and method to build trust and support for rebuilding rule of law institutions and disseminating information to strengthen interactions between government and citizens in the new information technology era. Checks and balances between all state powers and non-state actors, also in relation to security and good governance, were deemed both relevant and critical.

We look forward to long-term involvement and underscore the importance of peer-to-peer and regional learning in this and similar efforts.

The invitation-only meeting was organized jointly by The Hague Institute for Global Justice and the Van Vollenhoven Institute of Leiden University.

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