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Research Report

State-building and Constitutional Design after Conflict

Kirsti Samuels
Vanessa Hawkins Wyeth
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2006
Pages: 19

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. None)
  3. (pp. i-ii)
  4. (pp. 1-3)

    Recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have stimulated a rising awareness among scholars and policymakers of the importance of post-conflict constitution-making. Such processes represent moments of great opportunity, the outcomes of which can have significant and lasting impacts on the peace and stability of a state and the sustainability and quality of its democracy. Yet the difficulty of these enterprises cannot be exaggerated. Constitutional negotiations in deeply divided or post-conflict societies must often navigate profound ethnic or sectarian divisions while attempting to overcome a history of violence. Once adopted, the enforcement of the constitution may be hampered by weak democratic...

  5. (pp. 3-12)

    Does the process by which constitutions are made affect the results? There is no one model for a “successful” process—the choice of process and the impact that it may have will vary depending on the political, historical, and regional context of each case. Much attention is given to public participation, but there are other elements to constitutional processes that go beyond the immediate question of participation. Each of the cases considered faced similar dilemmas in constructing constitutional negotiations.

    Public participation versus elite incentives. Constitution makers must find a way to reconcile the opposing requirements of creating incentives to tie...

  6. (pp. 13-13)

    Constitutions play a key role in established democracies, protecting minority rights and setting standards and rules by which power is exercised. They are central to a culture of rule of law and underpin the fundamental belief that those in power are subject to checks and balances and can be expected to rule in the best interest of the population. The review of the six conflict cases reveals situations in which constitutions have not effectively or unproblematically served these functions, and highlights the myriad challenges facing constitution makers in post-conflict or conflictual environments.

    The cases explored in this study illustrate the...

  7. (pp. 14-14)