Seb is researching the jus post bellum which is a new and controversial term in public international law.
Initially, the jus post bellum was linked to Kantian just war theory and the recognition of a general obligation to reconstruct defeated states after international armed conflict, especially Iraq. More recently, however, the jus post bellum concept has attracted a number of different interpretations from international lawyers. There are now many different ways of understanding the term. However, it seems that despite all of these attempts, at best the jus post bellum provides a useful descriptive term for a set of new norms that have emerged in relation to peace processes and peace agreements. In this guise, another latin term - the lex pacficatoria more effectively captures the nature of the new hybrid post-conflict norms.
The lex pacificatoria refers to set of norms that have emerged in international law since the end of the Cold War which shape peace agreements and peace processes after internal armed conflict. These norms cover transitional justice mechanisms but they also attempt to regulate institution-building and questions of self-determination and political accommodation. These norms have emerged as peace agreement practice uses new interpretations of existing international legal norms in order to make them ‘fit’ the particular peace process in question. The most relevant legal categories are international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law.
The Colombian peace process provides a useful and topical case-study to test whether and how the emerging norms have influenced the ongoing peace process. At the same time, Seb’s research asks whether the peace process in Colombia provides evidence of new interpretations of the lex pacificatoria as it has been interpreted to ‘fit’ the Colombian reality.
Colombia provides an excellent window into the tension between peace and justice and the role international legal norms play in post-conflict situations. The internal armed conflict between the Colombian government, the FARC-EP, and the ELN appears to be coming to an end. Peace talks have been taking place since 2012 in Havana, Cuba. Agreements have been reached in agrarian land reform, political participation of the FARC-EP in the democratic process, the cultivation and trade of illegal drug crops and most recently, transitional justice. The Transitional Justice Accord includes a Special Tribunal for Peace which will attempt to "do away with impunity, obtain truth, contribute to victims’ reparations, and to judge and impose sanctions on those responsible for serious crimes committed during the armed conflict, particularly the most serious and representative ones.”
Understanding the lex pacificatoria in relation to Colombia will contribute to the broader project of ensuring what works best in peace processes and peace agreements.