Interim Constitutions in Post-Conflict Settings, Discussion Report


This report is the outcome of an inaugural event in a series of annual workshops to be known as the Post-Conflict Constitution Building Dialogues which are closely connected to the Political Settlement Research Programme. This workshop held before the Programme’s commencement, in anticipation of its themes, was organised to explore the opportunities, challenges and experiences of ‘Interim Constitutions in Post-Conflict Settings’. The series is designed to draw out the benefits of informed constitutional comparison and an interdisciplinary approach to constitutional substance and processes. This newly launched series of workshops is jointly hosted by the Constitution Building Processes programme of International IDEA and the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law (ECCL) at Edinburgh Law School. The Global Justice Academy (GJA) of the University of Edinburgh and its Political Settlement Research Programme will also be associated with the partnership. The partnership between IDEA, ECCL and GJA will provide a meeting point for theory and practice, as well as for academics and field experts from the global north and south. Premised on the mutual benefits of regular and structured engagement between scholars and practitioners of constitution building, the initiative represents a conceptual and practical response to the need for an organised and systematic approach to post-conflict constitution building. The workshops are designed to engender rigorous but constructive debate, knowledge sharing and opportunities for networking. This first report deals with Interim Constitutions as key documents in political settlement bargaining processes. Actors that have hitherto engaged in violent confrontation become, at least notionally, responsible for the (re)framing and (re)building of the post-conflict state. Interim constitutions represent a form of ‘political settlement’ that seeks to disincentivise armed conflict as a means of pursuing political goals. The adoption of an ‘interim’ constitution and/or some form of transitional framework is one possible way of resolving the tension between fluidity and order, and contributing to sustainable peace.


Bell, C.; Bisarya, S.; Davies, C.; Welikala, A.; Zulueta-Fuelscher, K. Interim Constitutions in Post-Conflict Settings, Discussion Report. IDEA, Stockholm, Sweden (2014) 29 pp.

Published 1 January 2014