Successful seminar on Constitutional Order and Justice in Conflict-Affected Settings – University of Copenhagen

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11 October 2016

Successful seminar on Constitutional Order and Justice in Conflict-Affected Settings

On October 4th 2016 Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts (CRIC) and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) held a full-day International Seminar on Constitutional Order and Justice in Conflict-Affected Settings with 70 participants. We were very fortunate to have exceptional capacities in Copenhagen as speakers, including Prof. Yash Ghai, Mr. Kalyan Shrestha, Dr. Jill Cottrell Ghai, Dr. Liz Alden Wily and Dr. Aloys Tegera.

Twenty-one of Africa’s fifty four countries have adopted new or substantially revised constitutions since 1990, and still more are in the process of doing so. In much of the Global South, new constitutions have been adopted in connection with processes of peacemaking or transition to more democratic rule in recent decades. In countries such as Kenya, South Africa and Nepal, constitutions are seen as mandates for, and key components of far reaching social transformation as well as political change. In many of these contexts, apex courts are given a key role to play as guarantors of the constitutional settlement and of the rights of repressed or marginalized individuals and groups. A key aim of the conference was to examine this role in the specific contexts of Kenya and Nepal, as well as the prospects for successful stabilization of the new constitutional order and the programme of social transformation that is seen as necessary to avoid future conflict. In the first session, national level issues were presented by Professor Yash Ghai, former Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha of Nepal and Dr. Jill Cottrell Ghai from the Katiba Institute in Kenya. Prof. Antoni Abat Ninet of the Centre for Comparative and European Constitutional Studies (CECS), at the Faculty of Law acted as discussant for these papers. The second, afternoon session was devoted to the challenge of securing legal and constitutional rights at the local level, especially in regard to the political economy of land and natural resources. Dr. Liz Alden Wily pointed out the relative and rather surprising neglect of land related conflict in current international frameworks on conflict and development, and the promise of constitutional order in this regard. 

For more information on the content of the seminar, power-point presentations and recordings of the presentations, please visit the event page.

Photo: Jan Grarup

 

Photo: CRIC

 

Photo: CRIC

 

Photo: Jan Grarup

 

The international seminar is part of a research project on Human Rights and Peacebuilding funded by the Carlsberg Foundation. It is implemented under the auspices of the Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts and the Danish Institute for Human Rights under the direction of Professor Ole Wæver and Mie Roesdahl.