[TimorLesteStudies] New article: Local Ownership of Post-Conflict Reconstruction in International Law: The Initiation of International Involvement

Bu Wilson bu.wilson at anu.edu.au
Sun Feb 13 11:13:37 EST 2011

Saul, Matt, Local Ownership of Post-Conflict Reconstruction in  International Law: The Initiation of International Involvement (January  10, 2011). Journal of Conflict and Security Law, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2011.  

Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1737725

  This article seeks to help develop a clearer understanding of the impact  of international law on local ownership of post-conflict  reconstruction. The particular focus of the article is on popular  influence over the decision to initiate international involvement that  will at least enable, if not direct, the change and development of state  and civil infrastructure. The international legal framework and  practice under it are analysed from the perspective of two concurrent,  but not entirely co-extensive, rationales for local ownership: a stable  situation and self-determination of the people. Attention is given to a  number of examples from the last twenty years, specifically, Cambodia,  Haiti, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Kosovo, East Timor,  Afghanistan, Liberia, Iraq, and Somalia. A central argument is that the  underdeveloped nature of the international legal framework for local  ownership is important for the stability of post-conflict situations. In  particular, the law of self-determination is argued to be useful  because it affords international actors a high level of discretion to  determine when a request for their involvement is a sufficient  reflection of the will of the people. However, it is also contended that  the sustainability of this legal framework rests on international  actors exercising their discretion responsibly. This entails refusing to  initiate involvement on the basis of a request from a government with  little claim to be an embodiment of the will of the people, unless there  is strong contextual justification for such a course of action.  

Dr Bu V.E. Wilson
T: Australia +61  0  407 087 086
T: Timor-Leste + 670 744 0011
E: buvewilson at gmail.com

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