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In Search of a User Manual: Promoting the Rule of Law in Unruly Lands

24 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2007  

Richard Sannerholm

Folke Bernadotte Academy

Date Written: December 2007


The international community is exercising an increasing authority for the administration of justice in crisis and post-conflict societies. An inherent problem is that while international actors are endowed with a strong mandate for reform, the capacity of local authorities is weak or non-existent. Contrary to the growing consensus that local input, ownership and participation is crucial for the legitimacy and viability of legal reforms, fundamental changes in the legal framework of post-conflict societies is often initiated, designed and implemented by outside actors. It will be argued in this article that international actors should place more effort into considering guiding principles for their involvement in rule of law reform. Crisis societies pose particular challenges to rule of law promotion and the choice of laws and institutions, as well as the methods for legal reform, must be better adapted to post-conflict realities.

Keywords: Rule of law, post-conflict, post-crisis, good enough governance, development, law and development

Suggested Citation

Sannerholm, Richard, In Search of a User Manual: Promoting the Rule of Law in Unruly Lands (December 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Richard Sannerholm (Contact Author)

Folke Bernadotte Academy ( email )

Drottning Kristinas väg 37
Stockholm, Stockholm 11428


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