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Jus Post Bellum: The Case for a Light Footprint "Plus" Approach to Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Open Access


Other title
east timor
interim administration
jus post bellum
light footprint
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Leonard, Shaina C
Supervisor and department
Harrington, Joanna (Faculty of Law)
Examining committee member and department
Reif, Linda (Faculty of Law)
Boon, Kristen (Seton Hall Law School)
Yahya, Moin (Faculty of Law)
Harrington, Joanna (Faculty of Law)
Faculty of Law

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Laws
Degree level
The term jus post bellum is used increasingly to refer to the legal frameworks applied in post-conflict peacebuilding projects. This thesis considers the recent application of three jus post bellum frameworks in states emerging from conflict to determine which framework has the greatest potential for success in terms of securing lasting peace and security in the post-conflict state. The three frameworks considered are: the law of occupation applied in Iraq, the United Nations-led interim administrations applied in Kosovo and East Timor, and the light footprint approach applied in Afghanistan. The thesis concludes that the light footprint approach, with its focus on local ownership over the peacebuilding process, should be considered for future post-conflict states, but with enhanced attention to security and coordination. A light footprint “plus” approach that includes increased international support and mentorship is advocated as the clearest route to lasting peace and security. This thesis concludes that the law of occupation is not an effective tool for post-conflict peacebuilding because it restricts the types of changes that can be made within the post-conflict state and it only arises in rare instances of international armed conflict. In Kosovo and East Timor, the UN-led interim administrations took control of all aspects of governance and made significant changes. While UN-led interim administrations can bring about significant post-conflict change, the lack of popular consultation and perceived lack of accountability makes them less desirable as post-conflict peacebuilding frameworks. In Afghanistan, peace builders were wary of the risks of imposing change on the Afghan people and adopted a light footprint approach that allowed Afghan authorities to lead post-conflict rebuilding efforts. Unfortunately, the international community did not provide sufficient support to the Afghans, the result of which was a poor security environment, an uncoordinated approach, and a failure to incorporate existing judicial frameworks into the new institutions of government. Although the light footprint approach is considered a failure in Afghanistan, a light footprint “plus” approach cannot be discounted for future peacebuilding initiatives.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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