Case Studies in Constitution Making
USIP Press Books
April 2010
712 pp., 6" x 9"
Add to Cart
Add to Cart

"Constitution-making in a post-conflict country is fraught with many risks and traps: how can we avoid or find creative solutions to them? In this useful book, scholars and practitioners reflect on the experience of two decades. Most importantly, Framing the State in Times of Transition: Case Studies in Constitution Making demonstrates the critical importance of the process itself in producing a constitution that provides a solid foundation for peace--a lesson anyone interested in technical assistance and peacekeeping should remember."

—Jean-Marie Guéhenno, U.N. undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations
Analyzing nineteen cases, Framing the State in Times of Transition offers the first in-depth, practical perspective on the implications of constitution-making procedure, and explores emerging international legal norms. Thirty researchers with a combination of direct constitution-making experience and academic expertise present examples of constitution making in the contexts of state building and governance reform across a broad range of cultures, political circumstances, and geographical regions.

The case studies focus equally on countries emerging from conflict and countries experiencing other types of transitions—a move from autocratic rule to democracy, for example—or periods of institutional crisis or major governance reform. Recognizing that there are no one-size-fits-all formulas or models, this volume illuminates the complexity of constitution making and the procedural options available to constitution makers as they build states and promote the rule of law.

Contributors: Andrew Arato • Louis Aucoin • Andrea Bonime-Blanc • Michele Brandt • Allan R. Brewer-Carías • Scott N. Carlson • Jill Cottrell • Hassen Ebrahim • Donald T. Fox • Thomas M. Franck • Gustavo Gallón-Giraldo • Zofia A. Garlicka • Lech Garlicki • Yash Ghai • Vivien Hart • Stephen P. Marks • Zoltán Miklósi • Laurel E. Miller • Jonathan Morrow • Muna Ndulo • James C. O’Brien • Keith S. Rosenn • Bereket Habte Selassie • Anne Stetson • J Alexander Thier • Arun K. Thiruvengadam • Aili Mari Tripp • Lee Demetrius Walker • Marinus Wiechers • Philip J. Williams

Laurel E. Miller recently joined the RAND Corporation as a senior policy analyst. She has been an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University and a senior rule of law adviser at the United States Institute of Peace. She previously served in several positions at the U.S. Department of State and the National Security Council.

Louis Aucoin is an associate research professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a former senior rule of law adviser at the United States Institute of Peace. He has served as an adviser in constitution-making processes in Rwanda, East Timor, and Cambodia.


  • Foreword - Richard H. Solomon
  • Introduction - Louis Aucoin
  • Part I: Theory and Concepts
  • Norms of International Law Relating to the Constitution-Making Process - Thomas M. Franck and Arun K. Thiruvengadam
  • Constitution Making and the Right to Take Part in a Public Affair - Vivien Hart
  • Part II: Africa
  • Constitution Making in Eritrea: A Process-Driven Approach - Bereket Habte Selassie
  • Namibia's Long Walk to Freedom: The Role of Constitution Making in the Creation of an Independent Namibia - Marinus Wiechers
  • Creating the Birth Certificate of a New South Africa: Constitution Making after Apartheid - Hassen Ebrahim and Laurel E. Miller
  • The Politics of Constitution Making in Uganda - Aili Mari Tripp
  • Zimbabwe's Unfulfilled Struggle for a Legitimate Constitutional Order - Muna Ndulo
  • Part III: Asia and The Pacific
  • The Process of Creating a New Constitution in Cambodia - Stephen P. Marks
  • East Timor's Constitutional Passage to Independence - Louis Aucoin and Michele Brandt
  • Between Coups: Constitution Making in Fiji - Jill Cottrell and Yash Ghai
  • Part IV: Europe
  • The Drafting Process for the 1998 Albanian Constitution - Scott N. Carlson
  • The Dayton Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina - James C. O'Brien
  • Constitution Making and Transitional Politics in Hungary - Andrew Arato and Zoltan Miklosi
  • Constitution Making, Peace Buidling, and National Reconciliation: The Experience of Poland - Lech Garlicki and Zofia A. Garlicka
  • Constitution Making and Democratization: The Spanish Paradigm - Andrea Bonime-Blanc
  • Part V: Latin America
  • Conflict Resolution and Constitutionalism: The Making of the Brazilian Constitution of 1988 - Keith S. Rosenn
  • Lessons of the Colombian Constitutional Reform of 1991: Toward the Securing of Peace and Reconciliation? - Donald T. Fox, Gustavo Gallón-Giraldo, and Anne Stetson
  • The Nicaraguan Constitutional Experience: Process, Conflict, Contradictions, and Change - Lee Demetrius Walker and Philip J. Williams
  • The 1999 Venezuelan Constitution-Making Process as an Instrument for Framing the Development of an Authoritarian Political Regime - Allan R. Brewer-Carías
  • Part VI: Middle East and Central Asia
  • Big Tent, Small Tent: The Making of a Constitution in Afghanistan - J Alexander Thier
  • Deconstituting Mesopotamia: Cutting a Deal on the Regionalization of Iraq - Jonathan Morrow
  • Part VII: Conclusion
  • Designing Constitution-Making Processes: Lessons from the Past, Questions for the Future - Laurel E. Miller

Browse Books by

Rights & Permissions