The Ties That Bind: Peace Negotiations, Credible Commitment and Constitutional Reform

Swiss Peace

This new swisspeace working paper by Professor Laurie Nathan analyzes post-conflict constitutions (PCCs) as a means of addressing the credible commitment problem in negotiations to end intra-state armed conflict. The parties to these negotiations find it difficult to make plausible commitments and overcome their fear that their opponent will renege on its promises. In order to address this problem, the parties frequently decide to constitutionalize their comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) in whole or in part.

This decision represents a credible commitment because constitutionalization locks in and institutionalizes the envisaged CPA reforms and renders them durable and enforceable. A PCC has these effects because, unlike a CPA, it has the status of supreme law. 

Read the full working paper.