Module Three

POST-CONFLICT NORMALISATION

This module critically assesses and explores a society’s transition out of violent conflict. It addresses the question of what it means to be in a “post-conflict” situation and its implications for peace work. Different models of engaging in the post-conflict situation are discussed, from the traditional Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programs through Security Sector Reform models and the more regionally relevant: the emerging normalisation models.

Building upon local resources, the ACTS programme uses Cambodia as an in-depth case study to illustrate its journey through violent conflict, genocide, civil war and foreign occupation, to peace and reconciliation. Issues to be addressed include: how a society heals from the wounds of conflict, what role trauma plays in the healing process and what a peace worker needs to understand about trauma to be most effective and sensitive in their work.

The ACTS programme recognises the important role of the variety of processes necessary to build a society after violent conflict. Cambodia serves as a insightful and relevant case study for the examination of mechanisms for handling election violence, peace processes, the role of justice (retributive and restorative), cultural models of reconciliation, the role of collective memory in conflict and healing as well as the establishment of peace museums to help in the process of preserving memory and healing from conflict.

With Cambodia as a base case study, the ACTS programme will also examine other experiences of normalisation after conflict in the region such as Aceh and Mindanao. Of particular importance in these comparisons will be the role of the military and armed groups and the mechanisms that connect them with their governments and civil society throughout peace processes. Through the study of multiple cases, larger lessons learned in regards to normalisation after conflict and indicators of success can be extrapolated and critiqued.

In societies emerging from conflict, concerns regarding justice often arise. Through the use of scholarly literature and case studies, the ACTS course looks at how restorative justice functions, especially in regards to the idea of shared responsibility of the past. Further, the construction of Peace Infrastructures is explored as mechanisms that not only aid in the healing process, but also help to build conflict resiliency into societies.

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