More Process Than Peace: Legitimacy, Compliance, and the Oslo Accords

The 21st century has inherited a number of bloody and long-unresolved intranational conflicts, including those in Kashmir, Northern Ireland, Burundi, Cyprus, Colombia, the Congo, the Philippines, and the Holy Land. Negotiated efforts to resolve these conflicts through legally binding peace settlements have been attempted from time to time, but without lasting success. Numerous negotiators’ memoirs, political science books, and historians’ tomes have been devoted to the subject of peace negotiations. But relatively little has been written about peace negotiations from a legal perspective. In particular, the legal literature contains virtually no discussion of what in the contents of a bilateral peace agreement’s text can maximize the likelihood that the parties will comply with the peace agreement’s terms. There is a recent body of international legal scholarship that seeks to identify those characteristics of a multilateral agreement that can enhance the likelihood that parties will comply with the agreement. The primary focus of such international legal “compliance scholarship” has been on nonbinding agreements in “global issue” areas such as environmental protection. This Review expands compliance scholarship from the multilateral into the bilateral realm, and from global issues into the regional-conflict arena.