The Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence convened the Rule of Law Roundtable: Towards Best Practice in Post-Conflict Situations from 25-28 October 2011. The Roundtable was convened with the aim of strengthening Australia’s multiagency approach and capabilities for conflict management offshore in this field. The central theme of the Roundtable was civil-military-police cooperation and coordination on rule of law issues during the early stages of the post-conflict period. The proposal for the Roundtable was developed in consultation with relevant whole-of-government officials with responsibilities for Australian responses in postconflict situations. The Roundtable was considered particularly timely due to the establishment of new Australian Government capacity in this area including the Australian Civilian Corps, the National Security College and the Centre itself.
The Roundtable had five sessions: best practice in post-conflict situations; criminal justice sector; security sector reform; transitional justice and whole-of-government approaches. In each session a number of presentations were made by subject-matter experts, which then informed and prompted discussion. The Roundtable then concluded with a Government officials-only session to discuss the implications of the Roundtable for the Government.
The Roundtable created a ‘space’ for international rule of law experts and practitioners with a select group of Australian Government officials to discuss best (or better) practice in reestablishing the Rule of Law in post-conflict environments. What emerged was greater clarity concerning the various responsibilities of different agencies and actors in the field together with a greater appreciation of the interconnectedness of the issues and the need to continue to work to develop our expertise in this area.
This Report provides a summary of key issues discussed at the Roundtable and includes research material to give a holistic report on the state of the art for rule of law It is a blend of research material, content from Roundtable presentations and comments made by participants during discussion time under. The Roundtable was conducted under the Chatham House Rule.
The Centre was delighted by the high level and active participation at the Roundtable. I would like to acknowledge the outstanding contribution made by Dr Vivienne O’Connor, Senior Rule of Law Adviser in the United States Institution of Peace’s Rule of Law Program who agreed to cofacilitate the Roundtable. I would like to thank all those who took part and especially the presenters. Additionally, I would especially like to thank Ms Rachel Wallbridge for her work behind the scenes organising the Roundtable and in preparing and researching this Report.