Negotiations amidst Violence. Explaining Violence-Induced Crisis in Peace Negotiation Processes

Hoeglund, K. (2004). Negotiations amidst Violence. Explaining Violence-Induced Crisis in Peace Negotiation Processes. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-04-002

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Why do some incidents of violence change the course of peace negotiations? How can peace negotiations be put back on track after a violence-induced crisis? In this report, I argue that dramatic high-profile violence can have a powerful impact on the dynamics of a negotiation process , since it affects two important aspects that decision makers take into consideration when making crucial choices whether and how the negotiations should proceed: the consequences of peace as well as the consequences of continued conflict. On the one hand, violence may increase the fears of settlement, by adding to the mistrust between the parties or by inducing internal political divisions within a party. On the other hand, violence may serve as a reminder of the consequences of continued conflict, thus making the belligerents more determined in their attempts to pursue peace. In addition, the fears of continued conflict can compel the parties to take measures, which will alleviate the fears of peace, by building trust in the wake of violence. The fears of peace can also be reduced if there is certainty of where the process is heading and by the presence of third parties. The argument concerning fears of peace as an explanation to a violence-induced crisis is substantiated in an analysis of six high-profile acts of violence, in three negotiation processes aimed at solving an armed conflict: Guatemala (1991-96), South Africa (1990-94), and Sri Lanka (1994-95). I find that the decision makers' considerations about the consequences of peace, provide part of an explanation to why a negotiation process experience a crisis following a high-profile incidence of violence. In addition, the research indicates that a crisis can be prevented or managed if these fears can be reduced, through confidence-building strategies taken by the parties themselves and third party intervention.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Processes of International Negotiation Network (PIN)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:17
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:18

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