The principles are practical and accessible recommendations for policymakers. They draw on empirical evidence from peacebuilding experiences to identify points that need attention. They were launched alongside a comparative study on rule of law building activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a detailed field-study on rule of law in post-Qaddafi Libya.

  1. Prevention Matters discusses prevention of the onset and recurrence of conflict. It highlights the importance of participation of all relevant international actors in programs and strategies that prevent conflict.
  2. Fostering a Rule of Law Culture underscores the importance of widely-shared commitment to justice in addition to effective institutions, codes and procedures. Key tasks to foster a rule of law culture include reconciling the formal and informal justice sectors, ensuring legal protection of vulnerable groups and developing private law in addition to transitional justice.
  3. A Network Response underlines that the causes of conflict are increasingly network-driven, and therefore the response must be as well. The principle highlights the importance of a ‘coalition of the relevant’ and the value of the network as an organizational form for peacebuilding.
  4. Private Sector Engagement addresses the role of business in conflict. Although the private sector’s role in post-conflict environments has been contentious, when properly leveraged, it is essential to ensuring equitable growth and durable peace.
  5. Strategic Communication emphasizes how the actions of international peacebuilders influence the perceptions of local populations. By understanding the priorities of local people, peacebuilders can promote behavior that is conducive to sustainable peace.
  6. Responsibility to Learn highlights the duty of peacebuilders to learn about the social, political and legal context in which they operate. This principle recommends consulting local experts and monitoring and evaluating all peacebuilding initiatives.

The city of The Hague, with its exceptional constellation of international courts and tribunals, has long been associated with international peace and justice. Using The Hague Approach to inform its future work in peacebuilding, The Hague Institute will continue to conduct professional training and capacity building, carry out interdisciplinary policy-relevant research, and use its convening power to facilitate dialogue between various actors (e.g. public-private, military-civil, and local-international). We hope these principles will also be useful for international policy-makers and practitioners striving for peace.

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