Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2006


When warlords use violence to coerce democratically constituted governments to share power, does power-sharing simply become a euphemism for "guns for jobs"? Which legal rules, if any, govern peace agreements in internal conflicts? Specifically, which rules regulate power-sharing? Are the aims of peace, justice, and adherence to the rule of law attainable, let alone compatible, with coerced political transitions where warlords force democratically constituted or legitimate governments to share power?

This Article represents the first conscientious attempt to address these questions, present a conceptual framework for examining the legal and political efficacy of coercing democratically constituted governments into sharing power, and define a lawful basis or approach to sharing power when governments are confronted with the aforementioned scenario. The Article is polemical and questions the dominant logic that political power-sharing is lawful, legitimate, and unequivocally serves the public good, arguing that power-sharing deals that ignore controlling rules are unlawful and not viable. This Article examines the legal and political efficacy of powersharing in the Accra Agreement (2003) and Lom6 Agreement (1999) in Liberia and Sierra Leone, respectively. It scrutinizes how little weight law was given in peace negotiations, examines the law relevant to powersharing, and challenges the well-settled practice of sharing power, which contravenes such law. Power-sharing, as opposed to, for example, amnesty, is the subject here.