Salw Essay

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Resolving Self-determination Conflicts: The Emerging Practice of Complex Power Sharing Stefan Wolff I. Introduction The democratic governance of ethnically divided societies poses particular challenges especially in cases in which territorially concentrated groups demand to exercise their right to self-determination. While the international community is generally reluctant to accept unilateral declarations of independence, there is a significantly greater degree of enthusiasm to promote regimes of self-governance, that is, is the legally entrenched power of territorial entities to exercise public policy functions (legislative, executive and adjudicative independently of other sources of authority in the state, but subject to the overall legal order of the state and any relevant international obligations. Self-governance as a strategy of preventing and settling ethnic conflict, thus, must be based on the recognition of group-specific concerns alongside and on par with concerns of individuals (independent of their ethnic identity) and the state.[1] The promotion of self-governance by the international community normally goes hand-in-hand with the promotion of other mechanisms of conflict resolution, including power sharing, human and minority rights legislation, specific participation rights for members of minority groups, etc. As such, recent conflict resolution practice has manifested itself in institutional designs of a certain complexity that combine a range of mechanisms that are treated separately in most of the existing academic literature on the subject and some of which are rejected as morally unacceptable by some, while others are considered unfeasible to deal with the realities of self-determination conflicts. A situation, thus, exists in which conflict resolution practice is substantially different from significant parts of traditional

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