Constitution-making at times of war: Lessons from Libya, Yemen and Syria

Over the past three decades, constitution-making has emerged as a key tool in peace-building processes. Scholarly debates highlight several preferences on the tension/articulation between peace-making and constitution. However, little attention has been paid to a sub-category of constitution-making in the context of violent conflicts: constitution-drafting at times of war. This paper attempts a tentative analysis of three recent/ongoing constitutional change taking place partly at war times: Libya, Yemen and Syria. It analyzes why constitution-making triggered further violent conflicts instead of re-establishing peace. In doing so, it analyzes the tension between peace-making and constitution-drafting from a process-design perspective: sequencing, timeline, public participation, approval mechanisms and institutions. An emphasis is put on the role of international actors, mediators’ in these processes. The paper concludes with tentative remarks and policy recommendation