The fall and rise of peace treaties

Monday 7 November 2022

Fazal, Tanisha M. American Journal of International Law 108 (2014): 46-51.

This article accounts for the evolution of the practice of peace treaties, which are commonly considered the first step towards building peace.

After defining the concept of the peace treaty, and correcting misconceptions of analogous concepts (a UN resolution is not a peace treaty), the author goes on to show how their popularity has fallen significantly. He gives several reasons for this, mostly encompassed in the fact that the character of war has recently deeply changed, and then moves on to considering the consequences of this development. Notably, he looks at the impact of codification which is a factor to account for the smaller number of peace treaties nowadays signed, which implies that the international community has more power than is usually acknowledged. Humanitarian laws for instance, as they have been increasingly codified to send interventions during times of declared wars/peace, have inclined belligerents to find alternative ways to avoid such interventions by not declaring war or peace.

While scholars address the changes in the character of war, far fewer pay attention to the corresponding changes to the character of peace which, as Fazal indicates, is increasing in complexity and radicality. The decline of peace treaties should be closely observed, and what they have been replaced by further theorised, in order to understand peace more thoroughly. 

Fazal, Tanisha M. “The fall and rise of peace treaties.” American Journal of International Law 108 (2014): 46-51.

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