Laura Davis

Archive
Tag "EU"

Screenshot 2014-09-03 15.19.57

 This book analyses how the European Union translates its principles of peace and justice into policy and puts them into practice, particularly in societies in or emerging from violent conflict.

The European Union treaty states that in its relations with the wider world, the EU is to promote peace, security, the protection of human rights, and the strict observance and the development of international law. The EU is active in peace processes around the world, yet its role in international peace mediation is largely ignored.

Read More
This article, published in European Security (2014), assesses whether the EU contributes to long-term positive change in societies emerging from violent conflict, helping them ‘mend’ or whether it simply encourages societies to ‘make do’ with the     status quo. To do so, the article focuses on two of the principles found in the EU Treaty, peace and justice for human rights violations. It examines how the EU translates the principles of peace and justice into policy and puts them into practice by analyzing EU engagement in peace mediation, transitional justice, and security sector reform in general and through in-depth examination of EU engagement in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In the article, I question the prevailing discourse that greater inter-institutional coherence would improve EU security provision and considers whether and how the EU prioritizes between peace and justice. I find that principles may be translated into policy and put into practice, and practice is often ahead of policy. But this is uneven within as well as across the institutions. Greater coherence between principle, policy, and practice, rather than between institutions, would improve EU security provision and enable prioritization. If the EU settles for making do, it undermines its considerable potential to contribute to long-term solutions to complex conflicts.

 

Read More

In this letter to the European Voice (published 11 October 2012), I argue that the EU has the instruments to build peace but tends not to use them effectively.

Any future European Institute of Peace should harness the wealth of experience and expertise in the EU institutions and in think-tanks, NGOs and academia, to strengthen the European External Action Service.  It should not add yet another layer of bureaucracy or undermine the EEAS or existing practitioners.

Read More

EU foreign policy chiefs were unusually quick off the mark to comment on the fall of Sirte and reported death of Colonel Gaddafi today. Presidents Van Rompuy and Barrosso called on the National Transitional Council (NTC) to ‘pursue a broad-based reconciliation process which reaches out to all Libyans and enables a democratic, peaceful and transparent transition in the country.’ High Representative Ashton said ‘It is important that [Libya’s] leadership unite to build a democratic future for the country in full respect of human rights. While the crimes of the past must be addressed, the leadership must also seek a path of national reconciliation… The EU will remain a strong and committed partner in the future’.

The emphasis on human rights and transitional justice in Ashton’s statement is important (interestingly, this is lacking from van Rompuy’s and Barrosso’s); the EU has also repeatedly stated its commitment to supporting human rights, civil society and security sector reform in Libya. Experts argue that transitional justice is more effective when trials, truth commissions and security sector reform are complementary. Yet – as I have argued elsewhere , the EU’s extensive support to transitional justice in other parts of the world has been largely ad hoc:  the EU has no policy guidance on supporting transitional justice. A key question will be how will the new government addresses not only the legacy of the Gaddafi regime, but also atrocities allegedly committed by both sides during the recent conflict. What will the EU do to support this?

Read More

The European Union is increasingly involved in mediating peace deals around the world, and has strong commitments to international justice and human rights. Including justice provisions for the victims of a conflict in the peace agreement may make an important contribution to a durable peace. In this paper published by the Initiative forPeacebuilding, I analyse EU capacities for promoting justice for human rights violations in peacemaking, identify gaps and recommend ways to fill these gaps. I argue that a comprehensive EU approach to transitional justice would make the EU a more credible mediator, and should also improve the impact of post-conflict peace- and democracy-building interventions.

Read More

Transitional justice can help societies address the legacy of systematic human rights violations committed during violent conflict and repressive rule through prosecutions, truth-seeking, reparations and institutional reform. Transitional justice is not a new field for the EU, and the EU is a major contributor to transitional justice initiatives, especially international criminal justice. This paper, published by the Initiative for Peacebuilding analyses EU policy provisions for transitional justice. In it, I argue that rather than simply support endeavours undertaken by others, the EU should draw on its experience and international best practice to develop a holistic EU approach to transitional justice to help it meet its foreign policy objectives.

Read More

As the EU becomes increasingly engaged in peace mediation, in this paper published by the Initiative for Peacebuilding, I compare how justice issues have been handled in four mediation processes in Indonesia (Maluku and Aceh), Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Eight key issues emerged from this comparison concerning the role of the mediator, technical support and assistance to negotiations, and engaging more actors than the mediators and their advisors in peace processes. This paper argues that the EU will need to be able to address these types of questions in order to support durable peace by promoting justice and human rights in peacemaking.

Read More

Reforming the security system in postconflict environments to ensure security agents become protectors of the population is vital for peacebuilding and state-building. Justice-sensitive SSR aims to prevent recurrence and repetition of human rights violations by reforming abusive institutions, increasing their integrity, accountability and legitimacy, and transforming the institution’s role in society, including by empowering the citizens.

In this paper, publishd by the Initiative for Peacebuilding, I draw on research into SSR and transitional justice in Afghanistan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Timor-Leste, and suggest ways in which the EU could improve the substance of its SSR programming and implementation by drawing on lessons from these cases.

Read More

In Congo over the past decade, demands for justice have been largely unmet in peace negotiations: impunity for the worst crimes is entrenched, and the root causes of the conflict remain unaddressed. As the European Union, often through the European Union Special Representatives (EUSRs), is engaging in more peace negotiations around the world, this paper (published by the Initiative for Peacebuilding in 2010) analyses the EUSR’s role in peace deals in Congo and the EU’s policy framework for promoting justice in peacemaking. I offer recommendations for how the EU could strengthen its role in promoting justice and human rights in peace agreements, in the DRC and elsewhere.

Read More

The Congolese security system is incapable of defending the state and the state’s authority, and poses a serious threat to the population, particularly to women and children. Impunity within the security system allows serious human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, to go unchecked.

In this paper,  published by the Initiative for Peacebuilding, I argue that the EU should seek to incorporate justice-sensitive initiatives within SSR programmes, and encourage the prosecution of human rights violators. Only by tackling the culture of impunity and empowering the population to hold the security system to account, can it become a protector of Congolese citizens’ rights rather than a principal abuser.

Read More