Selected in-depth contributions to the fields we work on, written by Berghof staff and invited affiliates, partners and guest researchers.


A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. “Post-Junta” Judicial Reform in Myanmar (2010 – 2015)

This publication assesses ongoing and substantive developments towards rule of law and access to justice within the first ‘post-junta’ period (2010-2015) in Myanmar.The paper finds that while there have been some areas of increased freedoms in the country, the judicial system has largely persisted unaltered, remaining poisoned with impunity and lacking true independence. The failure of the first post-junta government to reform the legal system has left the country morally bankrupt and institutionally insolvent.

Tunisia’s 2013 National Dialogue: Political Crisis Management

National Dialogue Handbook. Case Studies

This publication is one of seven case studies; others include Guatemala, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Nepal, and Sudan. The case studies provide recommendations for on-going processes in the specific country and inform the Handbook’s findings. The overall aim of the project is to improve National Dialogues and enhance the capacities and contributions of conflict parties, local stakeholders and external actors towards their successful implementation.

National Dialogue Handbook. A guide for practitioners. Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Grounded in a series of contemporary case studies, this Handbook aims to contribute to the nascent de-bate about National Dialogue, bringing together in-sights and expertise from diverse regions. The pur-pose of the Handbook is twofold: (1) to offer an ana-lytical framework of National Dialogues and (2) to serve as a practical tool for those engaged in the im-plementation of these processes. It also addresses the role of external actors and how they can best support National Dialogue processes, but it is focused primari-ly on those who are in the driver’s seat when it comes to decisions on the design, conduct and implementa-tion of National Dialogue processes.

Manual de Diálogos Nacionales. Guía para practicantes

Resumen ejecutivo

Basado en una serie de casos prácticos actuales, este Manual pretende contribuir al debate incipiente sobre el Diálogo Nacional, aportando percepciones y experiencias de diversas regiones. El Manual tiene un doble propósito: (1) ofrecer un marco analítico de Diálogos Nacionales y (2) servir de instrumento práctico para aquellos que participan en la implementación de estos procesos. También aborda el rol de los actores externos y cómo estos pueden respaldar mejor los procesos relativos a los Diálogos Nacionales, pero, en particular, se centra en aquellos que llevan la batuta de la toma de decisiones con respecto al diseño y a la dirección e implementación de los procesos de los Diálogos Nacionales.

Manuel de dialogue national. Guide à l’attention des praticiens

Résumé analytique

Basé sur une série d’études de cas contemporains, ce manuel aspire à contribuer au débat naissant sur le dialogue national, en faisant se rencontrer les pers-pectives et les expertises de diverses régions. Le but du manuel est double : (1) offrir un cadre analytique aux dialogues nationaux et (2) servir d’outil pratique à ceux qui sont engagés dans la mise en œuvre de ces processus. Il traite également du rôle des acteurs extérieurs et des meilleures façons dont ils peuvent soutenir les processus de dialogues nationaux. Il se concentre cependant principalement sur ceux qui sont aux postes de commande quand il s’agit de prendre les décisions sur la conception, la conduite et la mise en œuvre des processus de dialogues nationaux.

Sudan's National Dialogue Conference: The Permissible Questions

National Dialogue Handbook. Case Studies

This case study is elaborating on the details of the new National Dialogue process in Sudan, exploring its prospects & trying to see how it differs from the previous attempts & what the lessons it will draw from them, and to see if it is capable to avoid the junctions of failure connected with those previous dialogue processes.

Dilemmas of ownership, inclusivity, legitimacy and power: towards transformative National Dialogue...

National Dialogue Handbook. Conceptual Studies

This paper takes a broad look at some of the decisive qualities needed to underpin more transformative national dialogue processes. It focuses on ownership, inclusion, legitimacy and shifting power dynamics among the key parties and the groups that comprise the society. Each of these qualities is explored conceptually and empirically. Drawing on multiple case studies, learning points are drawn out with the aim of sensitising practitioners to the importance of these qualities so they can cultivate them through strategies and practices in supporting national dialogue.

National Dialogues and Development

National Dialogue Handbook. Conceptual Studies

The article considers the potential for National Dialogues to create substantial development outcomes that go beyond immediate political and security settlements. Using insights from various National Dialogue processes, the conditions, dynamics and potential barriers to these outcomes are explored. The article also describes entry points and strategies for external development actors to contribute to the attainment of substantial development outcomes in transition processes that include National Dialogues.

The Lebanese National Dialogue: Past and present experience of consensus-building

National Dialogue Handbook. Case Studies

This paper looks at the National Dialogue experience of Lebanon. National Dialogues have been part of the country’s political and social fabric. They have served as an important consensus-building mechanism for core political actors to address issues of common national concern. The paper provides a snapshot of the history of National Dialogues in Lebanon during the civil war and onwards, followed by an assessment of aspects of the National Dialogue from 2008-2014, addressing its composition, themes, outcomes, support mechanisms, and consensus-building principles. It concludes with a more general reflection about challenges and dilemmas of the Lebanese National Dialogue.

National Dialogues and Constitution Making

National Dialogue Handbook. Conceptional Studies

National Dialogues and constitution-making processes are increasingly part of political settlements. This paper focuses on the relationship between dialogues and constitution-making processes but also explores the relationship between dialogues and state institutions (such as the legislature, executive and judiciary) and state processes (elections). Both National Dialogues and constitution-making processes occur in a wide variety of circumstances and take many different forms so it is hard to generalize about their form and roles. However, although Dialogues often engage in constitutional issues, they generally do not produce final constitutions. The paper suggests that aspects of most constitution-making processes, such as a level procedural formality, greater technical expertise and, sometimes, greater formal legitimacy, explain why they and not dialogues are used for constitution-making. It also explores ways in which dialogue decisions may be followed up in a constitution-making process or by state institutions. It concludes with lessons for National Dialogues from constitution-making processes.