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Peace Agreement Implementation Project

Kreddha hosted a series of meetings to discuss and creatively address certain recurring contentious and critical issues relating to the implementation of intrastate peace agreements, that is, agreements between state governments and population groups aimed at resolving intrastate conflicts. The purpose of the project was to better understand why intrastate peace agreements are being badly implemented or not implemented at all, to gain insight into what parties and other actors in intrastate peace processes currently do to prevent non-implementation, and to explore what more can be done to promote effective and satisfactory implementation of intrastate peace agreements in the future.

At the first meeting in this series, Kreddha and the Centre UNESCO de Catalunya brought together a number of high level diplomats, leaders of parties in intrastate conflicts, international lawyers and representatives of international organizations to conduct an in-depth examination of the reasons for non-implementation, the measures that are employed by the parties and other actors to secure and promote implementation, and other possible means of promoting effective and satisfactory implementation in the future.

The project resulted in the publication of the book Implementation of Negotiated Agreements; the Real Challenge to Intrastate Peace(Asser Press, The Hague, 2007) and in a follow-up project. For a summary analysis of our findings and conclusions, please click here.

Kreddha contributed a chapter on the implementation of peace agreements to the African Union’s publication Managing Peace Processes: A Handbook for AU Practitioners. The publication, prepared by the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDC), addresses all stages of conflict management and is used by mediators and facilitators throughout the region. It is published in English and French and the Kreddha chapter on implementation was also translated in Arabic for immediate use in relation to the civil war in Mali from 2013. The handbook was later adapted to the needs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and published by this organization.

One of the outcomes of the Kreddha expert meeting on implementation was the recognition of the need to explore the availability of international adjudication mechanisms for resolving disputes arising from the implementation or non-implementation of peace agreements. This includes whether and how parties can agree in advance to refer implementation disputes to institutions that inspire their confidence for binding resolution. Kreddha therefore hosted two expert meetings on international and quasi-international adjudication mechanisms for intrastate peace agreements in The Hague and London respectively.

One conclusion that emerged from these meetings was that the availability of international or quasi-international arbitration, if properly conceived, could not only be used to resolve certain disputes, it would also serve to encourage parties to reach negotiated settlements in the knowledge that they could go to arbitration as a last resort. A particularly promising outcome was provided by a broad reading of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) rules of procedure, which would allow the Court to admit judiciable disputes with respect to implementation of agreements between states and non-state entities. For an extensive summary of the discussions that took place at the meeting and the recommendations made, please click here.

Months after the Kreddha expert meetings, the first such arbitration proceedings were initiated at the PCA. This was the Abyei Arbitration, concerning Sudan’s politically charged delimitation of the country’s oil-rich Abyei region under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Sudan’s government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A ). Renewed armed conflict over this issue was prevented, in July 2008, when the parties agreed to submit that specific dispute to arbitration under the PCA rules of procedure as discussed in the Kreddha meetings.

Significantly, the SPLM/A was advised and represented in the proceedings by three of the participants at those meetings. The arbitration was successful in resolving the specific border dispute put before it. Indeed, both parties accepted the arbitral decision and implemented it. Other contentious issues led to renewed armed conflict between the same parties after the independence of South Sudan, but the particular issue resolved by arbitration was not among them. (See for a detailed discussion W.J. Miles and D. Mallett, ‘The Abyei Arbitration and the use of arbitration to resolve inter-state and intra-state conflicts’, Journal of International Dispute Settlement, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2010), pp.313–340.)

The African Union proposed a roadmap on 26 April 2012 for resolving the later conflict, which heavily emphasised arbitration of remaining boundary disputes. Thus, despite the resumption of armed conflict by the Khartoum government, the PCA arbitration provides a powerful precedent that should encourage parties to include quasi-international arbitration clauses in peace agreements.