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accepting the unacceptable

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Abstract

In the aftermath of war or in the midst of violent conflict there is everything to be done. Sequencing or prioritization seem unrealistic luxuries. Studies show that of the countries emerging from conflict 40% return to conflict within ten years. The timeframe for consolidating peace is compressed – when the window for peace consolidation opens, robust efforts must be directed toward consolidating, reinforcing and broadening the peace to ensure that combatants do not return to arms. This will often – perhaps inevitably – require some extremely difficult decisions, choices and compromises. However if human life is to be protected, other compelling public goods may have to be deferred. DDR and transitional justice have each generated their own respective international constituencies, advocates, literatures, tool boxes and orthodoxies. They may share the same ultimate goal of sustainable peace; but there are inevitable and inherent tensions between them that cannot be wished away. This paper will briefly examine the respective roles of DDR and transitional justice in peace consolidation, and the tensions between them. It will then propose criteria for prioritizing when the two are in conflict. Finally it will suggest some principles for managing the tension between DDR and transitional justice.