Accueil > The Settlement of Civil Wars


Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2012-2013

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies


There are no formal prerequisites for this course. At the same time, familiarity with international developments since the end of the Cold War will be an asset since the course draws primarily on lessons learned from conflicts settlements in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America during that period.

Course Description

Civil wars remain the most widespread type of armed conflict and they are likely to remain a prominent feature in international affairs. Simultaneously, international efforts to help settle these conflicts have been one of the most salient features of international relations since the end of the Cold War. Alongside the United Nations and other international organizations, a host of state and non state actors are engaged in this field. There have been multiple approaches to the settlement of civil wars over the past 25 years, including mediation, peace-building and state-building, the use of force and the recourse of international judicial mechanisms. Against the backdrop of successes, but also failures, during that period, the core features and challenges involved in these different approaches have gradually emerged. This course aims at familiarizing students with these approaches and how they can be managed, with a particular emphasis on the prerequisites for successful negotiated settlements. It draws on lessons learned from a series of concrete cases in Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa. Among other features, the course will look into the international architecture of peace settlements; their domestic dimensions and the role of civil society organizations; the nature of peace settlements; the issue of legitimacy and sustainability; the challenges of implementation and the question of international guarantees; and the ethics of international interventions. At the end of the course, students should have gained a detailed understanding of the dynamics of international interventions in civil wars, their potential and also their limitations.


ARNAULT, Jean (Diplomate)

Pedagogical format

Twelve two-hour classes. Each class will be devoted to one aspect of the settlement of civil wars. It will include a one-hour lecture, a 15-minute presentation by students, followed by discussion.

Course validation

An analytical paper on one of the dimensions of the settlement of civil wars as discussed during the course will account for 60% of the grade. Class participation will account for the remaining 40%. Class participation will include 15-minutes presentations by groups of students on books, articles and other contributions to the study of civil wars.

Required reading

  • . ZARTMAN, I.Williams, Dynamics and Constraints in Negotiations in Internal Conflicts, in Elusive Peace, ZARTMAN, I.WILLIAMS Editor, The Brooking Institution,1995
  • . KING, Charles, Power, Social Violence, and Civil Wars, in Leashing the Dogs of War, edited by Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Hall, United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007
  • CALL, T. Charles Editor, Building States to Build Peace, International Peace Institute, 2008
  • WHITFIELD, Teresa, Engaging with armed groups, Dilemmas and options for mediators, Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2010 (available online at

Plans de cours et bibliographies