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Thomas E. Kellogg

Armed conflicts are increasingly interpreted as products of, in part, the breakdown of the rule of law, with weak rule of law institutions, in turn, understood as a major challenge to post-conflict reconstruction. Rule of law reform has thus become central to peacebuilding initiatives in the past decade and a half, accompanying a surge in international interventions in the periphery. Yet, results have often been disappointing, with reforms struggling to gain the necessary legitimacy within disrupted communities to function authoritatively. This chapter explores the prioritisation of the rule of law in the context of international peacebuilding, analysing the underlying assumptions and typical legal reforms, as well as their limitations and challenges in light of the purported goal of building a sustainable peace.