Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law

Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law

Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello and Jus post Bellum

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Nigel White and Christian Henderson

This innovative Research Handbook brings together leading international law scholars from around the world to discuss and highlight the contemporary debate regarding issues of conflict prevention and the legality of resorting to the use of armed force through to those arising during an armed conflict and in the phase between conflict and peace.

Chapter 15: Peace settlements and international law: from lex pacificatoria to jus post bellum

Christine Bell

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, public international law, terrorism and security law, politics and public policy, human rights, international politics, terrorism and security


This chapter will examine the ways in which peace settlements are producing a lex pacificatoria, a new ‘law of the peacemakers’, in a range of different areas relating to international conflict and security law. The chapter considers the relationship between this ‘lex pax’ and proposals for re-invigorating a concept of jus post bellum which forms a theme of this collection. The chapter illustrates how the practice of fashioning and implementing peace settlements is forcing a revision of relevant international law, as the traditional assumptions and boundaries of relevant legal regimes do not fit within post-settlement political landscapes, are inadequate for enabling and regulating peace settlement implementation, and do not contain guidance for the dilemmas faced post-settlement. The chapter sets out the relationship between peace agreements and international law, describing the ways in which a lack of fit between peace settlement dilemmas and international legal doctrines has generated new practices and new articulations of international law. Building on earlier arguments, I argue that these revisions constitute a new lex pacificatoria, or ‘law of the peacemakers’, in the form of a normativized practice of conflict resolution. The extent to which these new practices constitute ‘law’ at all is critically evaluated throughout the chapter. In conclusion, I consider whether it is possible, useful and desirable to frame and develop the ‘new law’ as a new jus post bellum that might supplement existing categories of jus ad bellum and jus in bello. The contemporary peace settlement is a post-Cold War phenomenon.

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