The Influence of International Law on Post-Conflict Constitutional Transitions: Towards Democratisation or Exclusion?

External actors involved in post-conflict constitutional transitions increasingly cite the relevance of international law. ‘Soft’ and ‘hard’ international legal norms provide that both the process and substance of constitutional change should be democratic, inclusive, participatory, locally-owned and follow the existing constitution. However, another set of more fundamental international legal norms, including sovereignty, the rules of international legal personality and UN law tend to prioritise security and allocate power not to ‘the people’ but rather incumbent governments, international organisations–in particular the UN Security Council–and groups capable of exercising military control. This paper will examine from a critical perspective how international law practically influences post-conflict constitutional transitions and the extent to which international law may itself contribute to such transitions regularly failing to live up to democratic expectations.