THIRD PARTY INTERVENTION IN DOMESTIC CONFLICT. THE CASE OF NIGERIANS’ INVOLVEMENT IN THE LIBERIAN CIVIL WAR

THIRD PARTY INTERVENTION IN DOMESTIC CONFLICT. THE CASE OF NIGERIANS’ INVOLVEMENT IN THE LIBERIAN CIVIL WAR

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0        INTRODUCTION

1.1        BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The issue of conflict has become one of the regular headlines in the daily news of the world media today. Many countries in the world have suffered from one conflict or another, ranging from religious, civil, political, cultural, regional and ethnic violent such as in Nigeria, former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Liberia, Cambodia and so on. The most disturbing part of these acts of conflicts around the globe is that most of them have traced their roots to religion. Even some perpetrators of these acts of conflicts most of the time justify their actions with religion, thereby making religion an object of conflict.

Prevalent violent conflict on the African continent has been addressed by numerous scholars, advancing various reasons to explain the continuous conflicts on the continent.

The scholars (such as Jackson 2000, 2002; Okoth and Ogot 2000; Adedeji 1999; Khadiagala 2006; and Taiser and Mathews 1999) agree in their description of Africa as the least developed continent economically, yet the most conflict prone politically. What has been the main focus of these scholars is the shift in Africa‟s conflicts, from conflicts between states to conflicts within states, internal

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conflicts, civil wars, intra-state conflicts or new wars (Kaldor 1999:33-118; 2006:72-94; 2012:71-118).

In the post-independent period, statehood in Africa has been characterized by internal wars. Every region has experienced armed conflict at some time since the early 1960‟s (Busumtwi 1999:259). Writing in 2002, Jackson observed how in the last twenty years, internal conflict has occurred in half of Africa‟s countries. For example in the mid 2001 there were serious internal conflicts in Algeria,, Chad, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Angola. Many other African states face instability, high levels of domestic political violence or rebel movements such as in Lesotho, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria (Jackson 2002). This trend of events continues to this date and Africa has arguably had the most significant share of these conflicts (Souare 200:369).

Conflict starts within the boundaries of a single state but fighting spills over into the neighboring states; conflicts are protracted over many years, involve multiple actors, ranges from government armed forces, militias, warlords, to criminal gangs presenting a multitude of challenges and demanding different responses from the International communities. Africa‟s conflicts have ranged from ideological conflicts, governance, to racial conflicts, identity conflicts, religious and environmental conflicts. One should also note the employment of extreme means of pursuing conflict goals, such as extreme forms of violence. Violence is

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deliberately targeted at civilians, and at entire groups rather than individuals, and it presents a complete blurring of the lines between wars, organized crime and large scale human rights violations (Kaldor 1999:2).

Furthermore, internal conflicts in Africa have led to various outcomes, for example some have resulted in total state collapse as in Somaliaor semi state collapse as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and others have led to secession as in Eritrea. Also, there have been civil wars where regimes have changed as in Liberia, warlord cases have been seen in Sierra Leone, and others have led to temporary ceasefires as in Angola and Chad (Jackson 2002). Domestic violence is not a gender issue, it is a social issue affecting men, women and children. It is also not a new concept. Historically in old English law it was believed that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb – „„the rule of thumb‟‟. This belief was in fact never wrote into law, however before the reign of Charles II, British Common Law permitted a man to give his wife „„moderate correction‟‟ (Wikepedia, accessed 25/08/09). This type of attitude continued up until modern times where domestic violence was untouched by law and viewed as private business due to the fact that it occurred in the confines of the home. With the introduction of the Domestic Violence Policy in 1996 and other social efforts such as the setting up of refuges and help lines for victims of domestic violence, this is no longer the case and there is more awareness of the problem and domestic violence is now recognized as a social problem.

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1.2      STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Non-coercive third-party intervention has become a common approach to solving internal and international armed conflicts around the world. A great deal of research illustrates that effective third-party intervention can put an end to complex, protracted, and even intractable intrastate conflicts (Bercovitch and DeRouen 2005, Wallensteen 2002).

However, there are cases in which unsystematic and immature third-party intervention efforts have led countries towards either the recurrence of violent conflict within a few years of signing a peace agreement or the failure of the implementation of the peace agreement.

Empirical research shows that about half of all mediation efforts around the world, particularly since the mid-1990s, have included more than one third party (Beber 2010, Lindgren, Wallensteen, and Grusell 2010). This trend towards an increasing number of third parties suggests a growing interest in conflict resolution efforts across the globe.

(Bercovitch and Jackson 2009, Crocker 2011, Crocker, Hampson, and Aall 2001b, Crocker, Aall, and Hampson 1999b, Kriesberg 1996, Paris 2009, Svensson 2011).

Mediation and facilitation have traditionally been the most common forms of non-coercive third-party intervention in armed conflicts. They are often single-party

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interventions performed by powerful nation states and the United Nations (UN) in high-level negotiation processes.

This trend, however, has changed over the past two decades. Third-party roles have expanded beyond mediation and the facilitation of high-level negotiation processes to include new roles, such as the monitoring of ceasefires and peace processes, providing support for post-negotiation initiatives, facilitating reconciliation and peace building processes, and supporting conflict-affected countries through development and humanitarian assistance. New types of third-party interveners have emerged along with the UN and powerful nation states. Western nations that are politically less powerful in global governance structures but are resource rich, such as the Scandinavian countries, local and international peace building organizations, the European Union (EU), financial institutions such as the World Bank, regional organizations such as the African Union, private mediators, faith-based organizations, and local business communities are all examples of newly emerging third-party entities. With an enlarged number of third-party interveners acting in various capacities, with myriad roles, and in different phases of conflict, the issue of coordination has garnered critical scrutiny. In other words, third-party coordination is emerging as an important area of inquiry in mediation research. However, it has not yet received sufficient scholarly attention.

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1.3        OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

This study has been conducted with three major objectives in mind. First, it aims to explore some of the key factors that play an influential role in the occurrence of third-party coordination. An in-depth understanding of this issue is particularly salient because it provides insights into some of the root causes of third-party coordination problems. A more comprehensive knowledge of the conditions for third-party coordination helps us to understand the underlying factors that motivate (or demotivate) coordination among third parties, and thereby to design the most effective third-party coordination strategies for particular conflict-affected countries. The current literature on this issue provides only general explanations, such as how the various institutional and policy interests of third parties sometimes impede coordination and how the convergence of such interests contributes to coordination (Crocker, Aall, and Hampson 1999a, Iji 2005). On its own, this approach does not help us to understand fully many of the contextual and policy factors, as well as the motives behind the occurrence of third-party coordination. This study aims to fill this lacuna.

1.    To understand the status of third party intervention in conflict resolution in Nigeria

2.   To understand the status and acceptability of agreement to disputants in third party mediation


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