IILJ Emerging Scholars Paper 2 (2007)

“Modus operandi,” “Lex pacificatoria” and the ICJ’s appraisal of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in the Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo Case More than just Latin lessons: The Role of Peace Agreements in International Conflict Resolution

Andrej Lang

Read PDFRead PDF

This paper examines the legal appraisal of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement by the International Court of Justice in the case of Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (DRC v. Uganda). The paper begins with an examination of the role attributed to the Lusaka Agreement by the Court in the context of Uganda’s allegations that the agreement constituted consent to the presence of Ugandan troops on the territory of the DRC and that the DRC had breached several provisions of the agreement. It argues that the Court downgraded the legal status of peace agreements by qualifying the Lusaka Agreement as a “modus operandi” in order to prevent states from using peace agreements as a means of excluding their legal responsibility and to accommodate the various particular features of peace agreements that make it difficult to fit them into existing categories of international law. The paper argues that the Court undermined the crucial role of the legal force of peace agreements in the resolution of modern armed conflicts. It suggests that peace agreements ought to be conceptualized as legally binding agreements and should be integrated into the set of rules, practices, and institutions provided by international law to increase compliance and to channel state conduct in the aftermath of a conflict. The paper concludes by setting forth the framework of a proper legal regime for peace agreements that is centered around the application of the rules on countermeasures to peace agreements.