From War to the Rule of Law: Peace Building after Violent Conflicts

Joris Voorhoeve

More help from the Netherlands and the EU in establishing the rule of law and reforming the police and the judicial system increases the likelihood of lasting peace in countries torn by war. Establishing peace is an important investment in economic progress and a precondition for reinforcing the international law and order and deserves a key position in development cooperation. That is asserted by Prof. Joris Voorhoeve in From War to the Rule of Law (WRR Investigations no. 16, 2007).

Too little, too brief and too fragmented

The emphasis in peacekeeping missions is still on military and economic measures instead of the rapid development of the police and justice system. Efforts to help countries in restoring peace after a war may be characterised as too little, too brief and too fragmented for the country in question. Two-thirds of all countries that have experienced a war or civil war are involved in another war within ten years. Moreover, economic progress is frequently reversed by political violence.

Leading role for EU possible

The EU can play a leading role in helping to set up the police and justice system, provided that its decision-making process is effective. Together with the Member States, the EU is in principle the largest source of funds for development cooperation, peacebuilding and the restoration of the rule of law. The EU is not fulfilling that role. To become the most effective player, better decision-making and a more efficient way of working is required.