The Transition to a Just Order – Establishing Local Ownership after Conflict A Practitioners’ Guide

The rule of law is increasingly regarded as a precondition for sustainable peacebuilding and development, and has become a central element in international approaches to crisis management and conflict resolution. This guide explores the challenges of transferring responsibility for public order and the rule of law after conflict to local ownership. It does so by taking a closer look at the principle of local ownership—a participatory framework through which the needs and views of all stakeholders can be articulated and addressed—and how it can be implemented.

The report seeks to assist field personnel—from the police officer on the street to the head of mission—with the difficult task of implementing the principle of local ownership in justice and security sector reform during peacebuilding operations. It is intended to assist with the process of deciding how, where and when local ownership should be promoted, where it may not be an option, whether different circumstances call for different types of strategies for transition and what factors should be taken into consideration. It identifies potential stumbling blocks and encourages practitioners to ask critical questions that can guide the transitional process.

The report builds on the experiences of recent peace-building efforts, including those in Kosovo and East Timor, where the international community has taken the lead in bearing responsibility for law and order. It also builds on peace-building efforts in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where primacy has rested with local authorities.

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2007