The recent announcement of the Libyan National Transitional Council’s 24-minister cabinet reveals a complex power-balance in the interim government between the country’s regions; those who fought during the anti-Gaddafi insurgency; as well as financial interests.
Power-sharing arrangements play a dominant role in most peace efforts around the globe today: from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the majority of efforts to resolve violent conflict have included a measure of power-sharing, to different degrees. Arguably, it is a ‘preferred conflict resolution tool’ of the international community supporting peace processes.
EU foreign policy chiefs were unusually quick off the mark to comment on the fall of Sirte and reported death of Colonel Gaddafi today. Presidents Van Rompuy and Barrosso called on the National Transitional Council (NTC) to ‘pursue a broad-based reconciliation process which reaches out to all Libyans and enables a democratic, peaceful and transparent transition in the country.’ High Representative Ashton said ‘It is important that [Libya's] leadership unite to build a democratic future for the country in full respect of human rights. While the crimes of the past must be addressed, the leadership must also seek a path of national reconciliation… The EU will remain a strong and committed partner in the future’.
One of the pillars of the European Union’s external policy is the promotion of democracy. The EU conditions its assistance to the quality of democratic practice, the emblem of which is electoral behaviour and the institutions that support free and fair elections. Democratisation efforts are seen as part and parcel of the EU’s efforts to support development, peace and security around the world. Indeed according to EC sources, between 2003 and 2010, the EU spent 700 Million Euros on electoral assistance activities. During the same period, the tragic consequences of electoral abuse, when elections are manipulated, falsified or further exacerbate existing tensions, have been highlighted repeatedly by events in the Arab world, in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood, and across Africa.
The 2009 Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities indicates that EU mediators are expected to address human rights violations in peace processes, but gives no indication for how they may do so. Unlike UN mediators who have guidelines to follow that include directions regarding justice for human rights violations, EU mediators have no such guidance. Strengthening the EU’s capacity to further peace and justice is one of the aims of the Global Forum for Mediation. As part of this project, mediatEUr has published Dilemmas and Difficulties in Peace and Justice: Considerations for Policymakers and Mediators, by Priscilla Hayner.
While commentators continue to debate military intervention in Libya, other, political efforts are also underway by the international community to help resolve the conflicts besieging North Africa and the Middle East. But why are these being met with resistance? And can they really be considered ‘mediation’, or are they something else?
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