Mediation In Conflict Resolution - What Makes For Successful Peace Negotiations?

Dr Brenda Daly & Dr Noelle Higgins - brenda.daly@dcu.ie noelle@higgins@dcu.ie

The Human Security Brief of 2006 reported that a growing number of conflicts are ending in negotiated settlements. Recently, a number of negotiated settlements have been reached through the utilisation of alternative dispute resolution methods. While mediation has been acknowledged as an effective means of dispute resolution in many areas, such as family law, medical law, commercial law, it has only recently been utilised for peace negotiation. It is the aim of this paper to analyse the use and effectiveness of mediation as an alternate dispute resolution technique in resolving conflict and its impact on the peace making process.

In order to conduct this analysis we will examine the case of Aceh, where mediation was employed in the successful peace negotiations in 2005 which ended thirty years of conflict between the government of Indonesia and the GAM. The paper will explore the various styles of mediation, explaining why transformative mediation is most suitable for promoting peaceful resolution of conflict. Critical analysis of the mediator(s) role and influence in the conflict resolution process demonstrates how this can be a crucial determinant of the effectiveness of mediation in facilitating a successful peace negotiation. The paper will analyse these issues in the context of the Memorandum of Understanding which brought the Acehnese conflict to a peaceful conclusion.

From our findings, we extrapolate particular criteria which will help inform mediators involved in peace negotiations in the future. Provision of such guidance will enable mediators to be better equipped to deal with the peculiarities of mediating peace negotiations within a conflict context. It will identify the specific skills and characteristics that a mediator involved in peace negotiations must possess.

It is to the benefit of the mediation, and indeed, international community that research of this kind, encouraging the peaceful resolution of conflict through effective mediation, is undertaken.

Funded by DCU - Research Grants

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