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Civil War and Democracy in West Africa Conflict Resolution, Elections and Justice in Sierra Leone and Liberia

by David Harris

Civil War and Democracy in West Africa Conflict Resolution, Elections and Justice in Sierra Leone and Liberia Synopsis

In the aftermath of explosive civil wars in Africa during the 1990s and 2000s, the establishment of multi-party elections has often been heralded by the West as signaling the culmination of the conflict and the beginning of a period of democratic rule. However, the outcomes of these elections are very rarely uniform, with just as many countries returning to conflict as not. Here, David Harris uses the examples of Sierra Leone and Liberia to examine the nexus of international and domestic politics in these post-conflict elections. In doing so, he comes to the conclusion that it is political, rather than legal, solutions that are more likely to enhance any positive political change that has emerged from the violence. This book is thus of significance to Western and African policy makers, and also to students and scholars who wish to engage with the critical issues of conflict resolution and reconciliation both in Sierra Leone and Liberia in particular and in the wider region in general.

Civil War and Democracy in West Africa Conflict Resolution, Elections and Justice in Sierra Leone and Liberia Press Reviews

Harris provides a very useful overview of the thematic considerations and developments in relation to conflict in Africa ... His book is well-informed and highly readable, analysing not only the historical genesis of conflict, but the electioneering and political interplay that emerged in the context of post-conflict elections ... Harris has provided a very useful introduction to the conflicts in both African states and the nature of the political support and ideologies which informed key participants in each case. Important considerations are also probed effectively throughout. - Jason Robinson, University of Oxford, reviewed in African Affairs; This important book throws new and much-needed light on the complex issues arising from the holding of elections as part of the process of conflict resolution and 'peace building'. Unlike much of the literature which is rather general and normative it is based on a close study rooted in fieldwork in two of West Africa's most conflicted states. It is essential reading for all students of African political violence and electoral politics. - Tom Young, Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics and International Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London; An authoritative and much awaited book that looks in detail at the factors which lay behind the slide into civil war that engulfed both countries and how subsequent elections have been affected by the changes caused by the long and bitter fighting that cost so many lives. Post-conflict justice, the role of rebel parties and the contemporary issues now affecting both countries make this an essential read for those wanting to know more of what shaped the events in this small but influential sub-region of Africa. - John Birchall, Editor, The Journal of Sierra Leone Studies

Book Information

ISBN: 9781780767758
Publication date: 11th April 2014
Author: David Harris
Publisher: I.B. Tauris an imprint of I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 320 pages
Categories: International relations, Peace studies & conflict resolution,

About David Harris

David Harris is Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He holds a PhD in African Politics from SOAS, and has conducted extensive fieldwork and been a member of several Election Observation Delegations in both Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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