The role of constitution making in ending conflict: the case of South Sudan

Constitutional issues lie at the heart of many intra-state conflicts and a constitution-making process is frequently included in ‘roadmaps’ designed to resolve the conflict and secure peace. Many roadmaps in peace processes fail for many reasons, and the failure of a constitution-making process is seldom the main reason. Nonetheless, these processes raise questions about the way in which constitution making is included in peace processes (the design of the process) and how constitution making can contribute (and undermine) peace. This paper examines the many attempts of the Republic of South Sudan to review its constitution since 2011, including the new process, sketched in the Revitalized – Agreement to resolve the Conflict in South Sudan of 2019, which has not managed to get off the starting blocks. Drawing on this and other post-conflict constitution-making processes, it explores lessons that South Sudan (and other processes) might provide for parties and mediators when integrating constitution making in peace processes.