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Deconstructing the Reconstruction: Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Post War Bosnia and Herzegovina


Dina Francesca Haynes


New England Law | Boston

June 1, 2005

THE DEUS EX MACHINA DESCENDS: THE LAWS, PRIORITIES AND PLAYERS CENTRAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL ADMINISTRATION OF POST-CONFLICT BOSIA AND HERZEGOVINA, Haynes, D., ed., Ashgate: London, Fall 2008

Abstract:     
Over the past fifty-odd years, nations of the world have been grappling with the extent to which they should intervene in the wars of others, or whether to intervene at all. Some of the State-level soul searching is pragmatic and strategic. The pragmatic argument justifying intervention is that failing societies with weak or abusive governments, which are embroiled in civil conflict, create regional and global instability and launch refugee flows. The analysis undertaken is a self-centered one: would intervention in another state's affairs improve the lot of our country either directly or indirectly by creating a safer and more stable world? A different, though interrelated line of inquiry is founded on the notion of human rights: is there a legal or moral imperative which demands we intervene to save the people from their own state?

This paper, the first chapter from a forthcoming book, concerns itself with the nature and process of intervention and with what happened after intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Specifically, what are the institutions which make up the international administration post-conflict, and who are the people working within them? What law and policy do they apply and what objectives do they think they are working to achieve? The exercise of post conflict reconstruction is often undertaken by lawyers, attempting to carry out policies created by politicians who had the objective of negotiating a ceasefire, not the objective of rebuilding an entire nation. This chapter concludes with three simple but unique points which, if adopted, would benefit post conflict reconstruction operations. First, as an evolving, organic process, effective international administration must allow for and encourage those in the field to regularly break from reactive mode to reflect on the value and success of the work they do. Second, in developing both the theory and practice of post conflict reconstruction, the opinions of both those in the field and those commenting from a distance (the practice and the theory) have a place and should be sought. Finally, post conflict nation building touches on the competencies of many disciplines (law, political science, anthropology, psychology, and economics among them) and professionals from each of those disciplines should be incorporated into the development of a normative framework of post conflict reconstruction.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 24

Keywords: international law, public international law, ethnic conflict, post conflict reconstruction, transitional justice, international organizations, human rights law

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Date posted: September 27, 2007 ; Last revised: November 5, 2012

Suggested Citation

Haynes, Dina Francesca, Deconstructing the Reconstruction: Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Post War Bosnia and Herzegovina (June 1, 2005). THE DEUS EX MACHINA DESCENDS: THE LAWS, PRIORITIES AND PLAYERS CENTRAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL ADMINISTRATION OF POST-CONFLICT BOSIA AND HERZEGOVINA, Haynes, D., ed., Ashgate: London, Fall 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1016196

Contact Information

Dina Francesca Haynes (Contact Author)
New England Law | Boston ( email )
154 Stuart St.
Boston, MA 02116

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