New and Reformed Constitutions: Methods for Legalizing Comprehensive Peace Agreements



Policy Brief No. 11

How do peace agreements lead to new constitutions? Can constitutionalizing Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) provisions supplement or reinforce CPAs? In countries emerging from civil conflict, constitutional reform is increasingly used as both a conflict-management and state-building mechanism. Nineteen of thirty-four (55.8%) CPAs in the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) dataset include a provision for constitutional reform, and constitutional reform has been initiated to some degree in all these accords. This brief presents the methods in which peace agreement provisions were drafted into seventeen new constitutions created following peace agreements. It focuses particularly on constitutional change to reform state institutions, including electoral, judicial, and legislative reform. It highlights the fact that agreement-mandated institutional reform is often constitutionalized even when it is not explicitly required by the CPA. This brief provides several actionable recommendations for policymakers based on these patterns, including (1) introducing new constitutions rather than constitutional amendments and (2) designing constitutional reform provisions flexibly. It stresses that policymakers should keep prospective constitution-making in mind as a related but separate process when negotiating peace agreements.


Attribute NameValues
Document Type
  • Brief

  • Rothkopf, Ilana

Date Created
  • 2022-08-09

  • Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

  • Keough School of Global Affairs

  • constitutional reform

  • legal reform

  • Peace Accords Matrix

  • peace agreements

  • peacebuilding

  • post-conflict peace processes

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