Publication details for Dr Matthew SaulSaul, M.W. (2011). Local Ownership of Post-Conflict Reconstruction in International Law: The Initiation of International Involvement. Journal of Conflict and Security Law 16(1): 165-206.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 1467-7954, 1467-7962
- DOI: 10.1093/jcsl/krq023
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
This article seeks to help develop a clearer understanding of the impact of international law on local ownership of post-conflict reconstruction. The particular focus of the article is on popular influence over the decision to initiate international involvement that will at least enable, if not direct, the change and development of state and civil infrastructure. The international legal framework and practice under it are analysed from the perspective of two concurrent, but not entirely co-extensive, rationales for local ownership: a stable situation and self-determination of the people. Attention is given to a number of examples from the past 20 years, specifically, Cambodia, Haiti, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Kosovo, East Timor, Afghanistan, Liberia, Iraq and Somalia. A central argument is that the underdeveloped nature of the international legal framework for local ownership is important for the stability of post-conflict situations. In particular, the law of self-determination is argued to be useful because it affords international actors a high level of discretion to determine when a request for their involvement is a sufficient reflection of the will of the people. However, it is also contended that the sustainability of this legal framework rests on international actors exercising their discretion responsibly. This entails refusing to initiate involvement on the basis of a request from a government with little claim to be an embodiment of the will of the people, unless there is strong contextual justification for such a course of action.