A shotgun marriage: Political contestation and the rule of law in fragile societies

Publication date: 22 Jun 2017 Organization: Conflict Research Unit of Clingendael Institute

This online report examines implications of political order in fragile societies for rule of law development. It focuses on fragile societies because it is here that the tensions between the reality of rule and the aspiration of the rule of law are greatest due to legacies of violence, contested legitimacy and purposeful political exclusion.‍ Such tensions are magnified by the universal claims of the international rule of law and human rights agendas that contrast sharply with national political, social and cultural idiosyncrasies in fragile societies.‍

The author takes a pragmatic approach and seeks to identify practical entry points for how rule of law development can be stimulated in the political orders of fragile societies. These entry points are developed into an outline of a theory of change that can help improve (inter)national rule of law policy development and programming efforts.

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