Legislative Reform in Post-Conflict Zones: Jus Post Bellum and the Contemporary Occupant's Law-Making Powers

By Boon, Kristen | McGill Law Journal, June 2005 | Go to article overview
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Legislative Reform in Post-Conflict Zones: Jus Post Bellum and the Contemporary Occupant's Law-Making Powers


Boon, Kristen, McGill Law Journal


This article distinguishes the traditional concepts of jus ad bellum and jus in bello (law of war and law in war) from the new doctrine of jus post bellum (law of post-war reconstruction). The author examines jus post bellum in light of the recent non-consensual legal reforms in Iraq, Kosovo, and East Timor to demonstrate how international bodies and coalitions are increasingly assuming legislative functions, legitimately and otherwise, in the context of their duties as interim administrators. The large degree of discretion conferred upon these administrators does not always ensure adequate levels of trusteeship, accountability, and proportionality, which are integral to the stability of post-conflict zones. The author contends that a distinct jus post bellum framework that incorporates these principles of justice would allow for a more systematic and comprehensive approach to legal reform in occupied territories, which would in turn facilitate the transition to legitimate self-government.

Cet article distingue les concepts traditionnels de jus ad bellum et de jus in bello (le droit a la guerre et le droit darts la guerre) de la nouvelle doctrine du just post bellum (droit de la reconstruction apres la guerre). L'auteur se penche sur le jus post bellum suite aux reformes juridiques non consensuelles en Irak, au Kosovo et an Timor oriental pour montrer comment les coalitions et organes internationaux s'attribuent de plus en plus souvent des fonctions legislatives--legitimement ou non--parmi leurs taches en tant qu'administrateurs interimaires. Le degre eleve de discretion dont beneficient ces administrateurs ne garantit pas toujours des niveaux adequats de saine gestion, de responsabilite et de proportionnalite, essentiels a la stabilite de territoires qui ont ete le theatre d'un conflit. L'auteur avance qu'un cadre de jus post bellum distinct incorporant ces principes de justice conduirait a une approche plus systematique et complete a la reforme juridique dans les territoires occupes, ce qui a son tour faciliterait la transition vers un gouvernement autonome legitime.

Introduction: Ethics and Law Making in Occupied Territories
     A. Two Distinctions: Identity of the Actor and Nature of the
        Intervention
     B. Jus Post Bellum
     C. The Rule of Law and Some Principles of a Jus Post Bellum
        1. Trusteeship
        2. Accountability
        3. Proportionality

 II. The Context of Law Making in Post-conflict Zones and
     Occupied Territories

III. The Authority of International Actors to Alter Domestic
     Laws and Legal Systems
     A. The Legislative Capacities of Occupying Powers
     B. The Ineffectiveness of the Legislative Provisions of the
        Laws of Occupation and the Principles of Jus Post Bellum
     C. The Contemporary Occupant: The CPA in Iraq
     D. The Legislative Capacities of the UN Civil Administrations:
        UNMIK and UNTAET
     E. The Scope of the Legislative Power of the UN Missions
     F. Jus Post Bellum Principles in the UN Missions

 IV. Legal Reform and Proportionality

  V. Conclusion

I. Introduction: Ethics and Law Making in Occupied Territories

Legal reform in occupied and administered territories has become a key element in post-intervention reconstruction plans. In Kosovo, East Timor, and Iraq, international organizations, occupying powers, and private "hired guns" are taking on the business of law making. The legitimacy and success of post-conflict interventions are closely linked to the ability of the intervening powers to establish functioning legal systems and to ensure law and order. As the United Nations secretary-general stated in his 2004 report on the rule of law in post-conflict zones, "Justice, peace and democracy are not mutually exclusive objectives, but rather mutually reinforcing imperatives." (1) Where this exercise has failed, the legitimacy and authority of interim international administrations have faced serious challenge.

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