Transitions in governance, particularly in societies emerging from conflict, are critical opportunities to establish the rule of law. The outbreak, escalation and recurrence of violent conflict, particularly those in which large-scale human rights abuses are committed, present a significant, ongoing threat to development, peace and stability. Political transitions – ranging from elections to peace agreements after civil war – have often served as triggers of violence. Other circumstances that lead to violence are often rooted in core grievances, including impunity, lack of access to justice, systematic inadequacy of government response, ethnic and religious divisions, unresolved legacies of past conflict and the oppression or neglect of vulnerable communities. Rule of law strategies can play a critical role in mitigating conflict that accompanies these transitions.
ABA ROLI adopts conflict-sensitive approaches in the design and implementation of programs. We work at multiple levels, using participatory, consultative methods to link grassroots with higher-level perspectives on strategies to establish the rule of law in such contexts. Our programs include a variety of interventions that have been developed with the primary goal of strengthening the response of justice sector actors to conflict. A recurring theme in our work is the importance of strategies that situate the response as close to the affected communities as possible.