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The shift of focus away from state security towards the security of the individual or the group has highlighted the tensions that sometimes exist between state security on the one hand and human security/human rights on the other, where the former, historically, has often jeopardized the latter two.

The main tension lies in that the state is needed in order to promote and protect human security/human rights, while at the same time, the state is diagnosed as the source of much human insecurity (Krause 2009:154). In defense of the state-centric security paradigm, political realists argue that an expanded security agenda will lead to a loss of focus and that a restricted meaning of security is necessary (See, for example, Walt 1991:213).

While the term human security still lacks a more precise definition, it has undoubtedly changed the focus of the security agenda by showing that a state-centric view of security is no longer sufficient (Buzan 2009:34, Kerr 2010:121). As Krause (2009:155) has noted, issues related to human security – such as security sector reform, protection of civilians, and regulation of weapons – were completely absent from the security agenda a few decades ago.

Premature elections can bring about only cosmetic electoral democracies, at best. In many cases, elections held in nonpermissive security conditions exclude the meaningful participation of key groups, while exposing people to undue personal risk. In others, candidates and parties from the old political order, lacking a commitment to democratic principles and human rights, use premature elections to consolidate their power. At worst, they can radicalize political discourse and even lead to renewed conflict. (UN 2004:8)

Unfortunately, the Palestinian territories are one of these cases that clearly illustrate the difficulties involved in holding elections in conflict and post-conflict societies. Yet, premature elections are still sometimes encouraged by the international community, as was the case in both Afghanistan and Iraq, in order to legitimize the local leaders and, no less important, in order to legitimize the international presence. Initial elections in the conflict and early post-conflict period are perhaps particularly crucial because of the strong argument made in the statebuilding literature that path dependency matters. The failed and flawed elections in Iraq and Afghanistan have, for example, significantly impacted the statebuilding process in these countries.

The same is true of the 2006 Palestinian elections.

As Benjamin Reilly (2008:159-160) and Timothy Sisk (2009:198) have noted, there could be a problem between democratic elections and peace, where the former encourage a competitive game for political power, whereas the latter encourages reconciliation. In practice, this means that the pursuit of democracy can undermine efforts to secure peace, and likewise, efforts to secure peace can undermine the meaning and quality of democracy (Sisk 2008:239). Call (2008b:376) has suggested that in order to bridge this potential gap between the competitive nature of democracy and the reconciliatory nature of peace, the principle of meritocracy must often be balanced with ethnic compromise or other types of power-sharing agreements. In this sense, merit-based selection criteria to build apolitical state institutions may not be the best. In a similar fashion, Katia Papagianni (2008:60) has suggested that the key to avoiding the destabilizing effects of elections in conflict or post-conflict societies is to reduce the cost of losing through power-sharing agreements that avoid winner-takes-all tendencies.

Paris (2004a:7) has a powerful argument in that “Institutionalization before liberalization” is needed to counter the destabilizing effects of liberal reforms. This means that elections will have to be postponed until rudimentary domestic institutions have been established. Both Fukuyama

(2004) and Fareed Zakaria (2003) have in their respective works reached conclusions similar to those of Paris.

While it is clear that there is an obvious danger in holding premature elections and that it may be ideal to postpone elections for many years, practical political imperatives often demand rapid action, as Sisk (2009:217) has noted. It must be mentioned that postponing elections is also associated with clear risks, not least because it usually offers ammunition for opponents of the peace process (Papagianni 2008:60). The Palestinian territories offer an interesting case of the whole problematique surrounding elections; when to hold them, the problem of destabilizing results, the quality of democracy etc., which will be looked at in the chapter on building a Palestinian state (chapter 7).

3.6.1 Legitimacy

Experience in many conflict and post-conflict societies where the statebuilding approach to peacebuilding has been used, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans and the Palestinian territories, clearly shows how difficult it has been to establish legitimacy for the statebuilding process, the third parties involved and the local rulers in particular. As democracy means rule by the people, it is difficult, as Anna Jarstad (2008:25) has pointed out, to imagine how to secure democratic legitimacy other than through elections.

Consequently, despite all the well founded concerns about holding elections in conflict and post-conflict societies, elections remain an essential stage in the statebuilding process and a crucial test of legitimacy for the state (Sisk 2009:217). As was mentioned in the previous chapter, the typical political science definition of legitimacy is the belief that an institution ought to be obeyed (See, for example Hurd 1999:381, Cottrell 2009:217, Papagianni 2008:49). Such a minimalistic normative definition of legitimacy is useful in statebuilding, but it is important to emphasize that legitimacy can have broader meanings too. In statebuilding, legitimacy is related not solely to the normative belief of insiders, but also to the normative beliefs of outsiders as well, as states gain legitimacy both from domestic and international sources (Clark 2005:5, Paris & Sisk 2009:15). As Call (2008a:14) has noted, given the influence of third parties in legitimizing transitional regimes, national actors need to require legitimacy not only internally from domestic constituencies but externally from the international community as well. This

is, for example, a problem for Hamas, which has considerable domestic and regional legitimacy, but little international legitimacy, particularly in Europe and the U.S. The Palestinian Authority is in the opposite position, enjoying strong international legitimacy, while it has far less legitimacy at home.

According to Papagianni (2008:50-51), the statebuilding process is most likely to generate internal legitimacy if it is as inclusive as possible, but this can in turn affect the external legitimacy if third parties do not approve of certain groups, for example extremist parties or terror groups. It could also be difficult to assess a state’s legitimacy if some state roles are performed well while others are not, or if some view the statebuilding process as legitimate while others do not. Finally, legitimacy should not be considered a fixed quantity; it is something that can be built up and shattered in any political context (Berdal 2009:98). All this applies to the Palestinian theatre, where all the parties involved, including the third parties, have some form of legitimacy problems.

3.6.2 Transitional justice and the rule of law

Transitional justice and the rule of law are the other two key features of the political dimension of statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding. While both these terms have become increasingly popular over the past two decades, it is important to note that attempts at transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict societies are nothing new. As Naomi Roth-Arriaza (2006:1) has noted, war crimes trials go back at least to the fourteenth century. More modern attempts can be traced back to the aftermath of World War II with the efforts to enshrine international law in state relations (Lundy

& McGovern 2008:268).

However, the term transitional justice is a relatively new invention, emerging first in the mid-1990s with reference to the transitions from authoritarian rule in Eastern Europe and Central America that began in the late 1980s (Bell 2009:7). As a concept, transitional justice became further institutionalized in major legal edifices such as the international tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the ICC, and other local and hybrid models (McEvoy 2007:415). One of the pioneers in the field, Ruti Teitel (2003:69), defines transitional justice as “the conception of justice associated with periods of political change”. Building on Teitel’s definition, the International

Center for Transitional Justice has developed a definition of transitional justice, which has become widely adopted in the transitional justice literature

Transitional justice is a response to systematic or widespread violations of human rights. It seeks recognition for victims and to promote possibilities for peace, reconciliation and democracy. Transitional justice is not a special form of justice but justice adapted to societies transforming themselves after a period of pervasive human rights abuse. In some cases, these transformations happen suddenly; in others, they may take place over many decades. (ICTJ 2008)

According to Tricia Olsen, Leigh Payne and Andrew Reiter (2010:6), the two primary goals of transitional justice are to strengthen democracy and human rights protection. As was the case with both peacebuilding and its specific statebuilding approach, transitional justice is almost always confined to the discussion of societies in transition towards liberal democracy (Gross 2004:52). This means that transitional justice has been the subject of much of the same criticism; i.e., that it is a Western invention, that it is based on hegemonic values, that it is insensitive to local contexts etc.

While a large section of the transitional justice literature is about how to deal with the past, there is an increased recognition in the literature that transitional justice has to deal with the present and the future as much as with the past (Gross 2004:100). This creates tensions similar to those that exist in the peacebuilding literature between peace and justice, where the pursuit of one can affect the other negatively. In the transitional justice literature, a less abstract variant of the peace versus justice dilemma is the punishment versus impunity dilemma, which is about accountability/punishment/justice on the one hand and impunity/reconciliation/peace on the other (Teitel 2010:xv).

When transitional justice is focused on the present and the future rather than past, the concept of the rule of law assumes a more prominent role (Gowlland-Debbas & Pergantis 2009:322, Gross 2004:50). Rule of law refers to the principle than no one, including the state itself, is immune to the law, which further stipulates supremacy of the law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, impartiality of justice, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, protection of human rights and procedural and legal transparency (Affa’a Mindzie 2010:119). As the process of establishing the rule of law is both costly and lengthy, it is

sometimes considered a luxury that poor countries cannot afford in the light of more pressing needs such as feeding the hungry or providing basic health care (Olsen, Payne & Reiter 2010:63). The costs involved for poor countries in establishing the rule of law almost inevitably lead to the involvement of international third parties in the process. Efforts to establish rule of law in conflict and post-conflict societies focus primarily on creating a secure environment for the entire population and on establishing the basis for long-term development. These efforts include creating/strengthening the national justice system and related institutions; training judges, lawyers, and police;

disarming militias, restoration of order and protection of human rights (Gowlland-Debbas & Pergantis 2009:322).

By its focus on security, rule of law efforts function as a bridge between the political and security aspects of statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding where SSR, human rights and human security are main features. As was noted by the Secretary-General in a UN report on SSR

Ensuring international peace and security remains a daunting challenge for the United Nations. Despite efforts over the past 60 years, conflict and violence continue to pose a threat to Member States and peoples; freedom from fear and want remain elusive for many. Accordingly, the United Nations continues to search for effective responses to address insecurity based on its Charter. Two related central themes have emerged. The first is that security, human rights and development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing conditions for sustainable peace. The second is the recognition that these fundamental elements can be achieved only within a broad framework of the rule of law. (UN 2008:3)

Enhancing the capacity and legitimacy of various national institutions is therefore a crucial aspect of SSR.