Peace processes and international law

No political solution to internal armed conflict that seeks to secure lasting peace can be based on impunity for crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes; the denial of the rights to justice, truth, and  reparation for victims, their relatives, and society; contempt for the basic principles of the rule of law; or the continuation of the doctrines, policies, structures and practices that gave rise to such crimes. In any peace process the state must comply with its international obligations regarding justice, truth, reparations and guarantees of non-repetition. Although international law permits amnesties for political offences or participating in hostilities, they are prohibited for crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. As far as guarantees of non-repetition are concerned, institutional and legal reforms need to be instituted, state practices need to be changed, and public administration needs to undergo a vetting process so that the full and effective enjoyment of human rights can be ensured. Any negotiating process that fails to address and resolve these issues will at most only halt the actions of some of the actors in the armed conflict; it will not lay the foundations for lasting and sustainable peace.