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26 - Accountability

Essential for Peace or an Obstacle?

from Part VI - Humanitarian Obligations and Human Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2021

Marc Weller
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Mark Retter
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Andrea Varga
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

The place of accountability for human rights violations in peace processes is hotly contested. Accountability measures are routinely conceived as both an essential component of peace and as an obstacle to its achievement. This chapter examines the role of accountability in the pursuit of peace in legal, theoretical, and empirical terms. It argues that in the absence of empirical consensus on the contribution made by accountability measures to the pursuit of peace, assessments of their role are largely normative and depend on precisely how peace and accountability are themselves conceived. That is, it argues that although broadly conceived accountability is an essential component of positive, consolidated peace, its imposition in the form of prosecutions and punishment during peace negotiations may be detrimental to the achievement of minimal, negative peace, marked by the cessation of hostilities.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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