n South African Journal on Human Rights - A Crucial Link: Local Peace Committees and National Peacebuilding, Andries Odendaal : book review

Volume 30, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-7203



External interventions and top-down peace processes are increasingly being viewed as inadequate in achieving lasting peace and local-level reconciliation in the post-conflict period. These interventions and processes are generally short-term, often involving international groups negotiating peace agreements between the leaders of the major fighting factions. This can lead to the exclusion of smaller fighting groups and large sectors of the civilian population, resulting in relatively superficial truces and externally-imposed punitive judicial processes, based in foreign countries. Examples of this are the Security Council Resolutions and associated agreements establishing the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia (ICTY - based in the Hague) and Rwanda (ICTR - based in Arusha). Such approaches do not necessarily contribute to long-lasting reconciliation and restorative justice at the local level or to the inclusion of broad segments of the population in the reconciliation process, and may well result in the conflict breaking out again within a relatively short space of time. As Andries Odendaal submits: 'negotiated peace agreements do not seem to be automatically good for stability and democracy. In more than half of the cases, peace did not last for five years'.

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