The Content of Any good Peace Agreement

By Khan GatRoum Tut Teny,

Leaders of the South Sudan's warring factions, Dr. Riek Machar and Salva Kiir Mayardiit exchange documents after signing of an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia(Photo: file)

Leaders of the South Sudan’s warring factions, Dr. Riek Machar and Salva Kiir Mayardiit exchange documents after signing of an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia(Photo: file)

August 6, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — Any good Peace agreement contains various elements, all of which are intended to form the basis of peaceful relations between the parties.

These include provisions on:

          Cease-fire,
        disarmament,
         demobilization,
        the holding and conduct of elections and their monitoring,
        the interim authority and its composition,
        the composition of the post-conflict armed forces,
        The new constitution and so on.

The provision on cease-fire is one of the most important elements of the peace agreement. It would not be possible to implement the agreement if the parties do not stop fighting and the cease-fire provision is intended to ensure this. The exact time when the cease-fire should begin must be stated clearly. This means starting both date and the time that the cease-fire will begin. Parties should have enough time before the cease-fire begins so that they can communicate its timing to their fighting forces.

The provision on disarmament is an important though difficult one. By this provision the parties undertake to lay down their arms. The problem is that parties are usually reluctant to do so because of the fear that they might disarm while the other party does not, thus putting themselves at a disadvantages for this reason, this clause needs to be accompanied by some guarantees that one party will not leave itself exposed by disarming. This clause should also provide for a neutral body to collect the arms because a fighting party cannot be responsible for collecting arms from the opponent.

Similarly, the provision on demobilization needs to be accompanied by some clear guarantees. The problem here is that one party cannot agree to demobilize unless the other does the same. If it does, it can leave itself open at the flanks, and this can be a problem, especially in the case of groups which have fought a bitter wars.

Bringing the conflict to an end, there will be a new government at the same time, and that this government will enjoy the legitimacy that the former government lacked. The only way to ensure  is to provide for the election of a new government. The provision of on elections should be accompanied by detailed time table, providing for all the preliminary aspects such as registration of voters, and the conduct of the election itself, it should also provide for election monitoring and observers, whose tasks is to ensure that the elections are free and fairs. In principles, elections should be held as soon as possible, the preparations require some time.

This clause should therefore provide for elections at a future date. The date should not be so soon that the preparations cannot be done properly. Nor should it be too far into the future because that would defeat the whole intention of holding elections. A period of between eighteen (18) Months to Thirty Six (36) Months is usually sufficient, although longer transition periods has been known pending such elections, there needs to be a government authority running the affairs of the country. There should be a provision for the interim authority that will do this, and its composition. Such an authority should be as inclusive as possible, so that neither party feels that it is being disadvantaged. Hence it is important to have a detailed provision about the powers of the authority and its various arms.

As soon as the fighting is over, and a new government is in place, it will be necessary to have national army, and the peace agreement should provide this. This is usually a difficult matter to negotiate because it entails amalgamation or integration fighting forces that have been engaged with each other in the battle field. The composition of the new army should reflect the proportional strengths of the various groups involved. That entails providing in details for the number of men and women that each side will contribute. Because some of the fighting forces of the parties are not usually regular soldiers, they are normally not properly trained. This makes a provision on training necessary. This refers to training of the new army, and also those who will be demobilized, so that they can fit into civilian life. This is important because such people if not properly trained and given new skills, could pose a security threat to the new government.

The question of a new constitution is always a difficult one. It should also make provision for the negotiation and writing of a new constitution, even though it does not need to include it as part of the peace agreement. A time table for the writing of the new constitution should be specified, as should the process the new government will go through to ensure that there is a new constitution.
After the peace agreement has been negotiated, the parties involved should all sign it as evidence of their committeemen to a new post-conflict order. An agreement which many of the parties, or important parties who can sabotage it, do not sign is unlikely to hold.

The mediator needs to do a lot of informal diplomacy to ensure that all parties sign and subscribe to the terms of peace agreement.

The peace agreement should provide for its entry into force. This should not be too long into the future because if it is, the whole negotiations can begin to unravel.

A peace agreement should not have an option out clause because this would go against the spirit and philosophy of having a peace agreement in the first place. It should properly expire after elections, when a new government has taken over and there is a new constitution in place. When this happens, the rational of the peace agreement will have been met, and it will have its function of nursing a new order into life.

I have had the advantage of reading the entire document concerning proposed compromise agreement on the resolution of conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. The above mentioned document has 8 chapters as follows:

        The document talks about Transitional Government of National Unity of the Republic of South Sudan,
         Permanent Cease-fire and Transitional Security Arrangement,
         Humanitarians Assistance and Reconstruction,
        Resource, Economic and Financial Management Arrangement,
        Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation and healing,
        Parameters of Permanent Constitution,
        Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, and
        Supremacy of this Agreement and Procedures for Amendment of this Agreement.

I think this document is in a good legal format, but needs some amendments and sign to save the
People of the Republic of South Sudan from suffering.

The author can be reached at

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