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

  • Author / Creator
    Leonard, Shaina C
  • 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.

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  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Laws
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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  • Institution
    University of Alberta
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  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Harrington, Joanna (Faculty of Law)
    • Boon, Kristen (Seton Hall Law School)
    • Reif, Linda (Faculty of Law)
    • Yahya, Moin (Faculty of Law)