Research Handbook on International Law and Peace
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Research Handbook on International Law and Peace

Edited by Cecilia M. Bailliet

Peace is an elusive concept, especially within the field of international law, varying according to historical era and between contextual applications within different cultures, institutions, societies, and academic traditions. This Research Handbook responds to the gap created by the neglect of peace in international law scholarship. Explaining the normative evolution of peace from the principles of peaceful co-existence to the UN declaration on the right to peace, this Research Handbook calls for the fortification of international institutions to facilitate the pursuit of sustainable peace as a public good.
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Chapter 17: Quasi-judicial mechanisms: international fact-finding

Cecilie Hellestveit


This chapter discusses various types of international fact-finding mechanisms and assesses their role in the promotion of peace. This chapter relies on a stringent view of peace as a reflection of the absence of armed conflict. The author shows that international fact-finding mechanisms have gained ground as tools by which the international community responds to man-made emergencies that may threaten peace, but they give rise to a number of dilemmas. The chapter asks a number of crucial questions in this regard: Do international fact-finding mechanisms serve to bemoan violations of international law while concealing inadequacies in international law’s ability to respond to armed conflict and serious human rights abuse? Or is fact-finding an increasingly decisive component in the architecture of the international law of peace and its ability to contain, alleviate and ease recovery from armed conflict, responding to the predicament of fact-finding as ‘a significant weapon in the armoury of world order’?

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