In situations of violent conflict, negotiated agreements—including ceasefire or peace agreements and documents detailing constitutional arrangements—attempt to reach a new political settlement between the warring protagonists, which is ideally supported by the broader society.

Such political settlements aim to move the country or region from conflict to a situation characterized by constitutional commitments to good governance and the rule of law.

The sequencing—and the success or failure—of these negotiated agreements depends on a number of factors, including the diverse processes through which a political settlement is reached; when (and how) peace agreements and constitutions reach a political settlement; when (and why) constitution-making separates from the political settlement process; and the consequences of such a separation.

This Policy Paper aims to address the gap in the constitution-making and peacebuilding literatures regarding descriptive and normative accounts of the relationship between peace agreements and constitutional arrangements in political settlement processes. It explores the sequencing of peace deals and constitutional arrangements in order to better understand when (and why) sequencing does not follow the logical model, and the implications for any coherent and workable constitutional framework.


Publication date
01 November 2016
Christine Bell, Kimana Zulueta-Fülscher
Number of pages
978-91-7671-074-6 (Print)




Key recommendations

Executive summary

1. Introduction

2. Sequencing peace agreements and constitutions in political settlement processes: a conceptual framework

3. Sequencing of peace agreements and constitutions in the political settlement process: patterns and issues

4. Case studies: learning from challenging processes

5. Conclusion: Managing the sequencing of peace agreements and constitutions


Annex A. Peace agreements

About the authors

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Sequencing Peace Agreements and Constitutions in the Political Settlement Process

International IDEA Policy Paper No. 13
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