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  2. International mediation as a distinct form of conflict management
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This article attempts to offer a comprehensive overview of the current state of the art in international mediation, and suggests potential areas of future research. Sinisa Vukovic "International mediation as a distinct form of conflict management", International Journal of Conflict Management , Vol. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Please share your general feedback.

You can start or join in a discussion here. Visit emeraldpublishing. Abstract Purpose This paper aims to provide a structured overview of the most important research conducted in the field of international mediation. Findings The article shows the intricate complexities of international mediation, highlighting four distinct features that might have an effect on the mediation outcome: mediator's characteristics, contextual features, behavioral factors, and types of mediators.

It seems likely, though, that efforts to pre-. But now some conflicts are treated as threats to international peace and security even if two states are not fighting. Particularly when internal conflicts involve violations of universal norms such as self-determination, human rights, or democratic governance, concerted international actions—including the threat or use of force—are being taken to prevent, conclude, or resolve them just as they sometimes have been for old-fashioned wars.

There are various prominent recent examples. They include the delayed international military responses to genocide in Rwanda, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, and repression in East Timor; the unprecedented military response of NATO to repression in Kosovo; the establishment and enforcement of no-fly zones in Iraq; and the use of economic sanctions against South Africa and Yugoslavia.

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Similarly, threats of the violent dissolution of states or of their dissolution into violence have triggered international concern, as in Bosnia, Albania, and Somalia. How important are such recent developments? In particular, do they make any important difference in how the actors on the world scene should deal with international conflicts?

Do the tools developed for managing international conflicts under the old world system still apply? Are they best applied in new ways or by new entities? Are there new tools that are more appropriate for the new conditions? How do the old and new tools relate to each other? This book is devoted to examining these questions. This chapter begins the examination by identifying the major strategies of conflict resolution, old and new, that are relevant in the emerging world system. We use the term conflict resolution broadly to refer to efforts to prevent or mitigate violence resulting from intergroup or interstate conflict, as well as efforts to reduce the underlying disagreements.

World War II - summary of the deadliest conflict in history

We presume that conflict between social groups is an inevitably recurring fact of life and that the goal of conflict resolution is to keep conflicts channeled within a set of agreed norms that foster peaceful discussion of differences, proscribe violence as a means of settling disputes, and establish rules for the limited kinds of violence that are condoned e. The new world conditions are validating some past conflict resolution practices that can now be more precisely defined and conceptualized and are bringing to prominence some techniques that had not been taken very seriously by diplomatic practitioners in the recent past.

We consider the implications of these new developments for the practice of conflict resolution. What knowledge base can conflict resolution practitioners rely on in a world in which their accumulated experience may no longer fully apply? What can the careful examination of historical experience and other sources of insight offer them?

We identify the ways in which a careful and judicious examination of empirical evidence can be of use to conflict resolution practitioners and the limitations of generalizations from past experience. Finally, we introduce the rest of the book, in which contributors address the above questions in the general case and in the context of a set of conflict resolution techniques that are likely to be important in the coming years. The major practices of international conflict management during the Cold War period—the practices of traditional diplomacy—reflected the state system dominant in world politics for centuries.

It made sense to treat international conflict as occurring between nation states that acted in a unitary fashion on the basis of stable and discrete national interests rooted in geopolitics, natural resources, and other enduring features of countries. If the behavior of states was dictated by such interests, it followed that conflict between states reflected conflicting interests. Such conflicts were often perceived as zero sum: the more one state gained, the more its adversary lost. In the world of national interests the chief methods of international conflict management were the traditional diplomatic, military, and economic means of influence, up to and including the threat or use of force.

These tools of power politics —the same tools that states used to engage in international conflict—were the main ones employed in efforts to address conflict. States were also sensitive to the delicate balance of nuclear power that could be jeopardized by this kind of coercive diplomacy. For this reason, in particular, they sought security regimes see Jervis, that provided norms devised to reduce the risks of escalation.

The implicit understandings gained through. Negotiation in the world of national interests meant balancing or trading the competing interests of states against one another or finding common interests that could be the basis for agreement even in the face of other conflicting interests. A search for common interests was characteristic of Cold War-era negotiations aimed at preventing military confrontations between the United States and the Soviet Union. For example, the negotiations to end the Cuban missile crisis and to develop confidence-building measures for avoiding accidental nuclear war were based on the common interest in reducing the risk of confrontations that might escalate to nuclear warfare.

Such negotiations could proceed because it was possible to identify shared interests that cut across or partially overrode the conflicting ones. The traditional diplomatic strategies of influence were refined and elaborated greatly during the Cold War period. They continue to be relevant in the post-Cold War world, although their application is sometimes a bit different now see Chapters 3 through 6.

In deploying and threatening force to address and possibly resolve conflicts, there has been increased emphasis during the post-Cold War period on multilateral action e. Thus, for example, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe CSCE , begun in the s, matured in the s into a formal organization—the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe OSCE —that has intervened in various ways in conflicts across a broad region, although not by force see Chapter Military organizations are now increasingly being used in new ways and for new conflict resolution purposes.

Armed force is infrequently used in direct interventions, even in Europe, where regional organizations are particularly strong exceptions are the NATO air campaign in Bosnia and the Russian interventions in Chechnya and Tajikistan. Peacekeeping missions still sometimes physically separate adversaries to prevent further violence, but they also provide humanitarian relief, resettle refugees, and rebuild infrastructure.

Another new development is that states and associations of states are no longer the only actors that can use techniques of influence like those of traditional diplomacy. For example, in the s, even before the end of the Cold War, transnational corporations, pressured by negative publicity about their investments, and even local governments used. A striking development since the end of the Cold War has been the emergence from relative obscurity of three previously underutilized strategies for international conflict resolution.

These strategies all deviate from the zero-sum logic of international conflict as a confrontation of interests see Table 1. The observation that these strategies are now more widely used is not meant to imply that they are always used effectively. Also, the strategies are often used together, and sometimes the distinctions among them may be blurred. One strategy may be called conflict transformation.

This is the effort to reach accommodation between parties in conflict through interactive processes that lead to reconciling tensions, redefining interests, or finding common ground. This strategy departs radically from the logic of enduring national interests by making two related presumptions: that interests and conflicts of interest are to some degree socially constructed and malleable, and that it is possible for groups to redefine their interests to reduce intergroup tension and suspicion and to make peaceful settlements more possible.

Certain intergroup conflicts, particularly those associated with the politics of identity, are seen as having significant perceptual and emotional elements that can be transformed by carefully organized intergroup processes so as to allow reconciliation and the recognition of new possibilities for solution. NOTE: These strategies and tools are often used in combination; moreover, the conceptual distinctions among them are sometimes blurred in use. The conflict transformation approach is seen in its purest form in a set of techniques pioneered in the s by academics and NGOs under such names as interactive conflict resolution, citizen diplomacy, and problem-solving workshops e.

The intent is that over the course of the meetings the participants will come to reinterpret the relationship between their groups and the possible futures of that relationship and that this change in the perceptions of a small number of individuals will lead either directly through concrete peace proposals or indirectly e.

In recent years, conflict transformation strategies have also been promoted by NGOs that are spreading ideas such as alternative dispute resolution to emerging democracies in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. The so-called truth commissions in South Africa and some Latin American countries use a strategy of conflict transformation when they work to construct a shared understanding of history that can be a basis for emotional reconciliation, tension reduction, and the creation of a more cooperative political climate see Chapter 9.

Structural prevention typically focuses on the problems of culturally divided states, especially those with weak democratic traditions, deep ethnic divisions, and histories of collective violence perpetrated by one group against another or by past governments against civilian populations. Various tools are available for structural prevention, including institutions for transitional justice, truth telling, and reconciliation Chapter 9 ; electoral and constitutional design see Chapter 11 ; autonomy arrangements within federal governance structures Chapter 12 ; laws and policies to accommodate linguistic and religious differences Chapter 13 ; training for law enforcement officials in following the rule of law; institutions assuring civilian control of military organizations; and the development and support of institutions of civil society.

The third strategy is normative change, defined as developing and institutionalizing formal principles and informal expectations that are intended to create a new context for the management of conflict. Norms may also define responsibilities for states to prevent violent conflict. Although norms were established to manage conflict between states during the Cold War, a notable feature of the post-Cold War period is the effort to use international norms to regulate or prevent conflict within states. In previous eras the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of sovereign states provided that sovereigns had license to control conflicts within their borders, free from outside influence.

Although this norm was often breached by great powers acting in their own national interest within their spheres of influence, it was rarely overturned in favor of universal principles that held all states responsible to common standards. This situation began to change in the later decades of the Cold War, when norms such as human rights, democratic control, and the self-determination of peoples were increasingly invoked against states that abused their citizens. In Europe the Helsinki Final Act of was an historic watershed in this regard, permitting oversight by the 35 signatories of human rights conditions in each of their territories.

Of course, we are a long way from a world in which what is good for humanity consistently outweighs the prerogatives of states. Nevertheless, there are signs that universal norms, many of which are stated in the United Nations Charter and other international documents, are becoming embodied in transnational institutions that can exert influence on states. For example, human rights norms have, through the operations of the CSCE and OSCE, provided increasing leverage for the international community to curb organized state violence against minority groups.

Continuing dialogue about the tension in international law between the norm of noninterference on the one hand and those of human rights and self-determination of peoples on the other may be leading toward a new international consensus on how to provide for the rights of minorities. And the growing international acceptance of norms of democratic decision making are making it more legitimate for states, international donors, and NGOs to support struc-.

It is too soon to be sure that the increased prominence of these new strategies of international conflict resolution is an enduring feature of a new world system. However, it seems likely that many of the forces that have made these strategies more attractive are themselves enduring. If intrastate conflicts continue to pose serious threats to global security, if nonstate interests remain important, and if global integration makes foreign policy increasingly difficult to organize exclusively around coherent and unitary notions of national interest, conflict resolution is likely to rely more than in the past on the transnational activities of nonstate actors and on techniques that do not depend on traditional definitions of national interest.

Nation states are likely to remain important actors in international relations for some time to come, however, and the possibility of violent interstate conflict remains a serious concern. But recent events presage a more complex multidimensional arena of international conflict in which both state interests and nonstate actors are important parts of the mix. Under such conditions some recent trends are likely to stabilize. For example, NGOs with humanitarian and conflict resolution missions have a good chance to remain prominent players in world politics. Their comparative advantage lies in using conflict resolution tools that do not depend directly on power politics.

Although NGOs can facilitate negotiations that trade off interests, states are probably better positioned to do this. NGOs are uniquely able to contribute by deploying the emerging tools of conflict resolution, as they have increasingly done in recent years. They have promoted conflict transformation by sponsoring interactive conflict resolution activities see Chapters 7 and 8 , providing training in informal dispute resolution techniques, and supporting various institutions of civil society that participate in democratic debate.

The roles for NGOs in structural prevention are sometimes more prominent than the roles for states. And they have contributed to the development and enforcement of new international norms by promoting and monitoring conditions of human rights, treatment of minorities, and democratic governance e. Their continued importance will depend not only on their usefulness to diplomats in the aid-donor states but also on their acceptance by the parties to the conflicts they want to resolve.

Thus, to be effective, these NGOs must be accepted by their potential clients as democratic, accountable, and true to the humanistic principles they espouse. They must also find ways to ensure that their activities do not make conflicts worse see Chapter If the post-Cold War world is qualitatively different from what came before, does it follow that what practitioners know about conflict resolution is no longer reliable?

A provisional answer comes from the results of a previous investigation by a National Research Council committee that reviewed the state of knowledge relevant to preventing major international conflict, including nuclear war. Between and this group commissioned 14 comprehensive review articles covering major areas of knowledge about international conflict National Research Council, , , Stern and Druckman identified propositions that the authors of the reviews judged to be supported by the evidence available at the time.

Each proposition was coded in terms of how well it stood up against a list of five political surprises of the period. The Stern-Druckman investigation reached conclusions that may also apply to knowledge about conflict resolution techniques. First, the great majority of the propositions about 80 were not tested by the surprising events.

Thus, these conclusions from historical experience remained as well supported as before. Second, of the propositions that were tested by events, most were supported by the events that occurred. This knowledge was also unchanged by the shift in the world system. Third, however, some of the most critical events of were not addressed by any of the propositions. Available knowledge about the international system had virtually nothing to say about the conditions under which an international epidemic of democratization would break out, or a great empire would peacefully liquidate itself, or a new historical era would dawn without a great-power war.

So, although much of what passed as knowledge before was still reliable knowledge after that time, much of. The main lessons of the end of the Cold War were not that previous knowledge was wrong but that there was no knowledge about some of the most important phenomena of the new era. The results of that analysis suggest that, although it makes sense to look carefully and critically at what is known about the traditional strategies and tools of conflict resolution that have received considerable attention from scholars and practitioners, it is especially important to examine what is known about less familiar strategies and tools that received limited attention in the past and that may be of major importance under the new conditions.

This book does not attempt to comprehensively review knowledge about the effectiveness of the conflict resolution techniques based mainly on the influence of tools of traditional diplomacy. Generally, what the contributors find is that the new conditions in the world have not invalidated past knowledge about how and under what conditions these techniques work. However, the new conditions do call for some modification and refinement of past knowledge and suggest that the old tools sometimes need to be thought of and used in new ways.

Each of the above chapters includes a summary of the state of knowledge about the conditions favoring effective use of the techniques it examines. Much closer attention is paid to the emerging strategies of conflict resolution and to the techniques that embody them, about which much less has been written. For most of the conflict resolution techniques that involve conflict transformation, structural prevention, and normative change, there is no systematic body of past knowledge from the previous era that is directly relevant to current needs.

Therefore, careful examination of what is known about the effectiveness of these techniques is particularly needed at this time. Fortunately, these techniques, though underutilized, are not new. For example, one type of structural prevention strategy is to offer autonomy—special status and governance rights—for certain culturally identified subunits in a unitary or federal state.

There is a fairly long history of happy and unhappy examples of autonomy that may hold. But it is only very recently that scholars have looked to cases like Scotland, Puerto Rico, the Soviet republics and autonomous regions, Catalonia, Greenland, the Native American reservations of the United States and Canada, the French overseas territories and departments, and the like to find lessons that might be informative in places like Chechnya, Bosnia, and Hong Kong see Chapter In the past, when such structural arrangements were the subject of scholarly attention, it usually came from specialists in domestic politics e.

The same situation holds for constitutional design. The world is full of constitutions and electoral systems, and their consequences for conflict management in their home countries are available for historical examination. However, until recently, relatively little systematic attention was paid to the question of how electoral system design shapes the course of conflict in a society see Chapter 11 for a review and analysis of the evidence. This book gives detailed attention to several nontraditional conflict resolution techniques in order to shed light on the potential for using techniques that employ the strategies of conflict transformation, structural prevention, and normative change as part of the toolbox of international conflict resolution.

The intent is to draw out lessons—what George calls generic knowledge—about the conditions under which each type of intervention in fact reduces the likelihood of violent conflict and about the processes that lead to such outcomes. Our primary intent in conducting this exercise is to provide useful input to the decisions of conflict resolution practitioners—decision makers in national governments, international organizations, and NGOs— who must consider a wider-than-ever panoply of policy options, some of which they have not seriously considered before.

The contributors to this volume were asked to summarize available knowledge with an eye to informing these decisions. We also hope, of course, to advance knowledge among specialists about the functioning and effectiveness of the various techniques of international conflict resolution. But the rationale for developing this knowledge is more than the curiosity of science. It is also to help in efforts to reduce both organized and nonorganized violence in the world. Conflict resolution practitioners need many kinds of knowledge to achieve their objectives. Some essential knowledge is highly situation specific and can come only from examining features of particular conflict situations in the present—the political forces currently affecting the parties in conflict, the personalities of the leaders, the contested terrain or resources, and so forth.

Other kinds of essential knowledge apply across situations. They tell what to expect in certain kinds of conflicts or with certain kinds of parties, leaders, or contested resources. These kinds of knowledge are generic, that is, cross-situational, and therefore subject to improvement by systematic examination of the past. The chapters in this book are organized around problems in conflict resolution and techniques or classes of techniques for addressing them. Problems are situations encountered repeatedly, though in different contexts, in the conduct of the practice of diplomacy or conflict resolution, such as deterring aggression, mediating disputes, managing crises, achieving cooperation among allies, and so forth.

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Practitioners typically consider several specific policy instruments and strategies for dealing with each of these generic problems. In this process they can benefit from several types of knowledge about them. First, general conceptual models identify the critical variables for dealing effectively with the phenomenon in question and the general logic associated with successful use of strategies or techniques to address a type of problem. For example, deterrence theory in its classical form e. It presumes that the target of a deterrent threat is rational and thus, if well informed, can make a reasonably accurate calculation of the costs and risks associated with each possible response to the threat, and it prescribes the characteristics of threats that are effective with rational actors.

A conceptual model is the starting point for constructing a strategy or response for dealing with a particular conflict situation. Second, practitioners need conditional generalizations about what favors the success of specific strategies they might use. This kind of knowledge normally takes the form of statements of association—that a strategy is effective under certain conditions but not others. Although conditional generalizations are not sufficient to determine which action to take, they are useful for diagnostic purposes.


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A practitioner can examine a situation to see whether favorable conditions exist or can be created for using a. Good conditional generalizations enable a practitioner to increase the chances of making the right choice about whether and when to use a technique. Third, practitioners need knowledge about causal processes and mechanisms that link the use of each strategy to its outcomes. For example, one indication that an electoral system in a culturally divided society is channeling conflict in nonviolent directions is that each major party is running candidates from several ethnic groups.

When party conflicts are no longer reflections of raw ethnic conflict, future political conflicts are likely to be less highly charged. Knowledge about such mechanisms is useful for monitoring the progress of a conflict resolution effort and for deciding whether additional efforts should be made to support previous ones. Fourth, in order to craft an appropriate strategy for a situation, practitioners need a correct general understanding of the actors whose behavior the strategy is designed to influence.

Only by doing so can a practitioner diagnose a developing situation accurately and select appropriate ways of communicating with and influencing others. Faulty images of others are a source of major misperceptions and miscalculations that have often led to major errors in policy, avoidable catastrophes, and missed opportunities. Area specialists in academia can make useful, indeed indispensable, contributions to developing and making available such knowledge, as can diplomats and other individuals on the scene of a conflict who have personal knowledge about the major actors.

All of these types of knowledge are generic in that they apply across specific situations. It is important to emphasize, however, that although such knowledge is useful, even indispensable to practice, a conflict resolution practitioner also needs accurate situation-specific knowledge in order to act effectively. Skilled practitioners use their judgment to combine generic and specific knowledge in order to act in what are always unique decision situations.


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The contributors to this volume have attempted to develop the first three kinds of knowledge described above: general conceptual models of conflict situations, knowledge about the conditions favoring the success of particular conflict resolution techniques, and knowledge about the causal processes that lead them to succeed or fail. In doing this they have had to grapple with other important but difficult issues: defining success. Each contributor to this volume was asked to carefully define a technique or concept of conflict resolution and to evaluate the available historical and other evidence regarding the conditions for its success.

In Chapter 2 , Stern and Druckman discuss the challenges of making such evaluations. They identify the difficulties of making valid inferences about efforts to change the course of history and discuss strategies by which knowledge can be developed in the face of these challenges. The other contributors tried to meet the challenges, each by examining a particular technique, concept, institution, or problem.

Most of the contributors used some form of structured case comparison to do their work. The results of their efforts have been sets of propositions or empirically based hypotheses about the conditions and mechanisms by which particular efforts at international conflict resolution yield results that can be considered successful. It is our hope and expectation that the knowledge developed by the contributors will be of practical value. We do not expect that it will be prescriptive in the sense of providing a standard set of procedures that tell practitioners what to do in particular situations.

However, it is intended to be useful to practitioners when they combine it with specific knowledge about what kind of situation is at hand. Generic knowledge also has diagnostic value for practitioners because it describes the characteristics to look for in situations that make a difference in terms of which actions will be effective.

After a practitioner has accurately diagnosed a. However, even with the perfect diagnosis of a situation, generic knowledge cannot be expected to provide prescriptions for action, for several reasons. First, this kind of knowledge will never be solidly established in the fashion of a law of physics. For one thing, human actors can defy the laws said to govern their own behavior; for another, world conditions continually change in ways that may invalidate conclusions from past experience. Second, the many tradeoffs in any decision situation make general knowledge an imperfect guide to action.

Sometimes, all the aspects of success cannot be achieved at once and choices must be made. Sometimes, conflict resolution outcomes are not the only ones relevant to practitioners, who must then weigh those outcomes against other desired outcomes e. Despite such limitations, we believe the kinds of knowledge developed in this volume will prove useful to conflict resolution practitioners. They can help practitioners identify options for action they might not otherwise have considered, think through the implications of each course of action, and identify ways of checking to see if actions, once taken, remain on track.

However, one must recognize that practitioners may resist accepting conclusions developed by systematic analysis. Many practitioners mistrust such conclusions and prefer to trust their own experiential knowledge and that developed by other practitioners.

International mediation as a distinct form of conflict management

Anticipating this possibility, we have involved current or former practitioners in discussion about each of the studies presented in Chapters 3 through 14 from the earliest phases and in the review of the chapters. We hope that this sort of interaction between researchers and practitioners will, over time, improve mutual respect for and understanding of the kinds of knowledge that direct experience and systematic analysis taken together can provide.

Bridging the gap between scholarship and practice remains an overriding challenge for international conflict resolution George, We believe this volume will also be of value for scholars of international relations and conflict resolution. For them it will collect useful knowledge, raise important issues for the future development of knowledge, and generate a variety of propositions to examine and hypotheses to test in future research in this area.

The remainder of this book consists of 13 studies, one methodological and 12 substantive, concerned with particular techniques of conflict resolution. They identify the inherent difficulties of this task and show how progress can be made in the face of these obstacles. They conclude that a systematic approach based on social scientific concepts and techniques can produce useful generalizations about which techniques work under which conditions and thus raise the level of understanding available to conflict resolution practitioners.

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The main challenges of evaluation defined in Chapter 2 concern developing analytical concepts, selecting cases for analysis, measuring outcomes and the factors affecting them, and making inferences about cause and effect. The conceptual challenges include defining and classifying interventions, defining success, and setting reasonable expectations for the effects of an intervention. The problems of case selection include delineating the relevant universe of cases and drawing a representative sample of them—for instance, the universe of known cases may not be representative of all actual cases.

Measurement problems include taking into account events that cannot be observed, such as closed negotiations or unpublicized mediation efforts. Key inference problems are raised by the lack of adequate comparison situations and the need to compare actual events with imagined, or counterfactual, ones; the need to take into account the effects of other events that occur at the same time as the intervention; the need to consider indirect effects of the interventions; and the need to sort out the overlapping and conflicting effects of the multiple efforts that are often made to resolve a conflict.

The authors then consider ways of meeting these challenges. With regard to the conceptual challenges, they emphasize the importance of clear definitions and taxonomies of intervention types and of conceptual frameworks that link concepts together and generate hypotheses about the conditions under which interventions have particular consequences over a short and longer span of time. With regard to sampling, suggestions are made to carefully develop purposive sampling frames guided by theory as an alternative to the sort of random sampling that only has meaning in the context of a specified universe of cases.

The tenets of realism and liberalism may be applied in this case. The general consensus indicates that NGOs and private individuals are inherently more impartial and neutral, as their main goal is to resolve the conflict. Powerful states, on the other hand, tend to be motivated by self-interest and are therefore more likely to first of all become involved in the mediation process if it suits their own agenda and second of all, their self-interest may motivate them to try and shape the outcome of a mediation process to suit their own aims and objectives.

Regional organisations are also more likely to be motivated by self-interest than non-state actors and are also more likely to influence the outcome of mediation and the content of the peace agreement. This approach negates their ability to act impartially. For example, the EU is rarely regarded as an impartial mediator, but rather as an actor with vested interests, especially in areas with close links to the EU — either geographically or historically, where former colonial history plays a role.

States and regional organisations are also in a better position to use financial and political leverage or coercion, which is a challenge often facing NGOs and smaller states. For example, in the basic facilitation-communication model, the use of carrots and sticks would be ruled out as the mediator is merely enabling the sharing of information between parties and not trying to drive them towards an agreement. Indeed, it is often human rights abuses which cause or contribute significantly to conflict situations in the first place, or exacerbate such situations in the long term and therefore, human rights abuses need to be addressed in a post-conflict society to ensure a lasting peace.

In addition, notice needs to be taken of the seriousness of violence and breaches of international humanitarian law which occur during armed conflict to ensure that all parties feel a sense of justice in the post-conflict society. Many guidelines and codes of conduct highlight the importance of the inclusion of human rights and humanitarian law issues in mediation processes and this is also advocated within academic literature on the subject. The inclusion of provisions on human rights and transitional justice is quite value-based, and comes back to the question of how neutral a mediator can be.

He or she would, however, have to take into account international reaction to granting immunity for serious human rights abuses and the reaction from potential financial donors to post-conflict reconstruction. Amnesties for the most serious international crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are prohibited under international law. The UN also prohibits granting amnesty for other human rights violations, such as slavery and extra-judicial killing.

Herrberg points out that the EU is a value-based community that encapsulates human rights and humanitarian principles in its institutions and structures. UN mediators are bound by the same value system. However, insisting on the inclusion of transitional justice mechanisms brings several associated risks. Parties to a conflict may not want to deal with a mediator who is going to force human rights provisions, investigations of possible war crimes and subsequent justice. Likewise, institutions such as the EU might find it problematic to engage with actors who refuse to consider addressing massive human rights abuses and other crimes committed during a conflict.

In practice, mediators, have managed to get agreement on the inclusion of human rights issues in peace agreement. For example, in the case of the mediation process between the GAM and the Indonesian government, the mediator, Ahtisaari, was successful in getting the agreement from the parties to include provisions on human rights and transitional justice in the final draft of the peace agreement. Article 2 of the Memorandum of Understanding deals with human rights and the establishment of a Human Rights Court and a Commission for Truth and Reconciliation.

The third section covers Amnesty and Reintegration into Society, whereby the government of Indonesia agree to grant amnesty to all persons who have engaged in GAM activities and agree to release all political prisoners and detainees. These gave very interesting insight into the theory and practice of mediation. The main findings from this empirical research can be summarised as follows:. The research highlighted that a number of factors could negatively impact on mediation processes, including:.

It would seem that the majority of guidelines and codes of conduct established for mediators are based on the simple model of communication-facilitation, as this type of mediation allows the mediator to remain neutral and impartial in the background. The facilitation-communication category of mediation is the easiest to regulate as the mediator does not impose opinions or agenda on conflicting parties.

Track II mediation inherently allows mediators more flexibility and creativity than states operating within Track I. However, Herrberg points out that codes of conduct can be effective for all types of mediation if they are applied with flexibility. Codes of conduct are in place in all strata of occupations to ensure that work is carried out at the highest level of professionalism.

This is also true for mediators; codes of conduct are established by mediation institutes all around the world to provide guidelines for mediators and uniform standards to which they must consistently endeavour to adhere. However, these guidelines and standards may be easier to employ in situations that are already well regulated and where the law is clear, such as industrial relations and civil litigation.

In international peace mediation, conflicting parties are usually much more diverse in nature with varying aims and objectives. The law is also not as clear when it comes to deciding on matters such as independence, autonomy, human rights violations, claims over natural resources or democracy. Therefore, codes of conduct for mediators working in an armed conflict setting cannot be as rigid or conclusive as those working in fields of family law or industrial relations; they should allow for flexibility, creativity and spontaneity on the part of the mediator.

Background to mediation

The mediator will have been trained for the purpose of peace mediation and should therefore be relied upon to decide when and how various strategies should be employed. The concepts of neutrality, impartiality and bias are not necessary elements of codes of conduct; as empirical evidence has shown, these terms are badly defined and used interchangeably. This can cause confusion and ultimately hinder rather than help the mediation process. Research has indicated that a mediator can never be neutral; a mediator is a human being with an inherent value system that cannot be abandoned nor suppressed.

Empirical evidence has also shown that it is not always useful for a mediator to remain impartial; often a certain amount of bias can have a positive impact on the mediation process. The inclusion of the issue transitional justice in codes of conduct is also a topic of debate. The respect for and guarantee of human rights are of paramount importance to all individuals, and a violation of such rights, especially on a widespread and systematic level, should neither be tolerated nor ignored.

However, it is important to strike a balance when including transitional justice provisions within codes of conduct for mediators for several reasons. First of all, as discussed above, conflicting parties will not want to engage with a mediator who they perceive as potentially willing to blame and punish them for crimes they committed. Secondly, parties to a conflict may perceive transitional justice issues as imposing the values of one cultural system on to their own, and these values and ideals may be dissimilar in nature.

Final Observations Codes of conduct are an important step towards creating professional and uniform standards in international peace mediation. They are invaluable in this regard; although mediators receive extensive training to prepare them for all eventualities, codes of conduct are also there to serve as guidelines for honesty, respect, fairness, ethical conduct and mediator strategy. However, it is important that the codes of conduct reflect the delicate nature of international peace mediation. A mediator must be allowed the flexibility to act with creativity and initiative in order to maintain and enhance credibility and ultimately work without constraint towards a successful outcome to the mediation process.

Bercovitch, J. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Burger, W. Bush, R. Carnevale, P. Carroll, E. Chigas, D. Fischer, R. Fisher, R. Vasquez, J. University Michigan Press. Folger, J. Galanter, M. Haig, A. Hayner, P. Herrberg, A. Johnson, S. Kleiboer, M. Kydd, A. MacFarlane, J.