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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?
Saturday, 16 April 2011 18:24

Justice, Peace, and Ivory Coast

What is the ideal transitional justice scenario in Ivory Coast? the Belgian newspaper De Morgen asked me this week in an interview published on Thursday. It is always impossible to predict these types of questions, but there are some trends we can see from other places, which might help the Ivoriens build peace – in the aftermath of so much violence. Attention at the moment is focussed on prosecuting former President Laurent Gbabgo, his wife and senior aides. Ideally these trials should take place in Ivory Coast, but in many post-conflict situations, the justice system is unable to guarantee fair trials. If this is the case, the International Criminal Court could step in. But the ICC is a court of…
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