International Seminar on Constitutional Order and Justice in Conflict-Affected Settings – University of Copenhagen

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International Seminar on Constitutional Order and Justice in Conflict-Affected Settings

Time: Tuesday October 4th, 2016, 09.00-15.45

Place: Alexandersalen, Bispetorvet 1-3, 1167 Copenhagen

NB: Registration required. Please send an email to no later than Friday September 30th 2016

We are fortunate to have exceptional capacities in Copenhagen to discuss the role of the courts, law and constitutions in fostering social transformation in conflict-affected societies. Former Chief Justice from Nepal as well as senior constitutional expert Yash Ghai from Kenya and other researchers and practitioners will share their experiences and insights on this issue.

Kenya and Nepal share recent experiences of democratic transformation, political conflict and lengthy processes of constitutional change. In both Kenya and Nepal, Supreme Court has played a role in maintaining constitutional rules in situations of highly contested politics.  In Kenya, the Chief Justice has a key role in regard to the ambition to transform the judiciary and in maintaining the vertical and horizontal division of powers set out in the constitution. In Nepal the judiciary plays a key role in relation to the transitional justice process and matters of constitutional concern. Both Kenya and Nepal have faced the issue of conflicts over land and land reform, which is a highly volatile political issue with connections to equality, socio-economic rights, social diversity and citizenship. The Chief Justices of Kenya and Nepal are both completing their terms of office in 2016. In addition to perspectives from Kenya and Nepal the seminar will draw on insights both from the local level in countries such as the DRC and Afghanistan and from the center-stage of governance processes in Fiji, Cambodia, and Afghanistan.

This seminar focuses on future-oriented developments (as opposed to addressing legacies of past violence and injustice) in the prevention of political violence and the attempt to channel disputes into viable (legal) processes for social and political transformation.


09.00-12.30: Constitutional Order and the Peaceful Management of Political Conflict

Chair: Hanne Petersen, Centre for Comparative and European Constitutional Studies, University of Copenhagen

  • Welcome w. Jonas Christoffersen, Executive Director, DIHR
  • Professor Yash Ghai, Katiba Institute, Kenya: Constitutional order and the route to more peaceful and democratic politics
  • Former Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha, Nepal: Constitutional order, law and politics
  • Paper by Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, Kenya: Constitutional order, law and politics. Presented by Fergus Kerrigan
  • Dr. Jill Cottrell Ghai, Katiba Institute, Kenya: A Constitutional Peace in Kenya?
  • Discussant: Antoni Abat Ninet, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law, Centre for Comparative and European Constitutional Studies, University of Copenhagen

12:30: Lunch: Sandwiches will be served to all participants 

13.30-15.45: Governance, resources and conflict at the local level 

Chair: Mie Roesdahl, CRIC and DIHR

  • Liz Alden Wily, Fellow, Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Development, Leiden University: Land rights, land reform and violent conflict
  • Tegera Aloys, Senior researcher, Pole institute, DR Congo: Natural resource management, governance and community violence
  • Discussant: Fergus Kerrigan, PhD Fellow, Faculty of Law and Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts, University of Copenhagen and Danish Institute for Human Rights
  • Questions and discussion

15.45: End of seminar

This 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 (CRIC) and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) under the direction of Professor Ole Wæver and Mie Roesdahl.