The role of international law in the negotiation of peace agreements

Olcay, Asli (2018) The role of international law in the negotiation of peace agreements. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Some 600 peace agreements aiming to bring an end to intra-state armed conflicts have been concluded since 1990. The proliferation of peace agreements in this period has been coupled with the internationalisation and normativisation of peace-making. Although there is no overarching international legal regime that governs intra-state peace-making, the practice, policy and scholarship of peace-making have increasingly asserted the relevance of international law to the negotiation of peace agreements and the emergence of new norms of peace-making. Against this backdrop, this dissertation identifies the main elements of the normativisation of intra-state peace-making and examines the extent to which such normativisation corresponds to positive international law by addressing two cross-cutting research questions: (i) Does existing international law stipulate a legal status for peace agreements or precise requirements for their negotiation process or content? (ii) Do the new norms of peace-making, which are proposed in international policy and scholarship, constitute lex lata, lex ferenda, or moral or political aspirations?

The dissertation addresses the research questions in three parts, focusing respectively on the legal status, negotiation process, and contents of peace agreements. The first part focuses on the legal status of peace agreements aiming to end intra-state armed conflicts, which are concluded between governments and armed opposition groups, with a view to explaining whether they constitute international agreements. The second part then identifies the existing international legal norms and the proposed norms of peace-making relevant to the negotiation process of a peace agreement. It examines whether they provide for a legal duty to negotiate peace in intra-state armed conflicts, to include certain actors such as civil society or women in peace negotiations, or to exclude certain actors such as (alleged) perpetrators of international crimes, from negotiations. Finally, the third part investigates whether there is a duty to address certain substantive issue-areas, for example transitional justice or human rights, in a peace agreement and whether there are legal norms stipulating how the issue-areas should be regulated. The dissertation argues that international law does not recognise peace agreements between governments and armed opposition groups as sources of international obligations. As to the negotiation process and contents of peace agreements, it finds that the emerging norms of peace-making remain lex ferenda or as moral or political aspirations and that positive international law places limited normative constraints on the negotiation of a peace agreement. Nor does international law, as it currently stands, provide precise requirements as to the inclusion or exclusion of certain actors in negotiations or certain issue-areas in resultant agreements. However, despite their non-legal character, there is an emerging consensus on some norms of peace-making, such as the inclusion of women in peace negotiations, in international peace-making policy. Moreover, international actors, particularly the United Nations, undertake significant facilitative roles in the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements.

As a comprehensive study of the role of international law in the negotiation of peace agreements, this dissertation aims to make a substantial contribution to this newly emerging field in international law. Its findings will benefit the doctrinal and policy debates on the desirability of further legalisation of peace-making and its constraining impact on the negotiation of peace agreements. Its conclusions as to the legal requirements for the negotiation of peace agreements and their legal status will provide legal clarity to negotiating parties, mediators, donors, domestic and international courts, and other domestic and international actors involved in or affected by peace negotiations across the world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: international law, peace agreements, peace-making, peace processes, peace negotiations, armed groups, non-state actors, treaties, self-determination, transitional justice, human rights, post-conflict constitution-making, legalization.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Geiss, Professor Robin and Melzer, Professor Nils
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Ms Asli Olcay
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-70976
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 May 2019 12:21
Last Modified: 11 May 2022 08:40

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