Rule of Law Toolbox for Crisis Management and Peace Operations: Concepts, Practices and Trends

Die Kursdaten finden Sie an dieser Stelle angezeigt, sobald die Termine feststehen.

Course Description

A professional training course for experienced practitioners to improve their skills, advance their competences, and explore practical tools and approaches for addressing the challenges of working to promote rule of law in conflict-affected countries.

The Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF), founded by the German government, is a non-profit organisation that strengthens civilian capacities for crisis prevention, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding through the provision of a range of services and expertise including training, policy and technical advice, and the recruitment of civilian experts for OSCE, EU, and UN peace operations and civilian crisis management as well as election observation missions.

Since 2007, ZIF and the Swedish Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) have jointly organized and delivered an annual rule of law course for practitioners engaging in rule of law work in conflict-affected countries, and in particular within UN, OSCE and EU missions. In 2017, the course will be organized and delivered by ZIF.



Course Overview

For international organizations such as the EU, the OSCE and the UN, strengthening the rule of law is an essential component of international civilian crisis management. Experience gained over the past decades demonstrates that establishing a basis for peace, security and development in the immediate post-conflict period as well as during more long-term consolidation is not possible without the rule of law.

International rule of law assistance has traditionally been a technical exercise focused on strengthening the criminal justice chain (police, justice and corrections institutions and actors). Yet the results of decades of effort and investment have been disappointing. The “Rule of Law Toolbox” course asks why, and considers, through an exploration of current challenges and emerging trends within the rule of law field, how a more holistic and comprehensive approach to the rule of law can lead to more effective assistance.

By directly addressing rule of law promotion as a process involving a complex interaction of political and power dynamics, the course focuses on the role of both state and non-state actors in strengthening the rule of law. It explores the role of the rule of law in rebuilding the social contract between the state and its citizens and specifically how this can be done through the areas of good governance and security.

The course grounds participants’ practical experience within a conceptual framework of “rule of law” as both a theoretical concept and as a field of practice. Against the background of academic theory, cutting-edge research, and emerging policy approaches, participants are encouraged to reflect critically on their own work and to explore how to overcome the challenges of programming and implementing rule of law activities in conflict-affected environments.

The course provides a unique opportunity for experienced professionals to enhance their technical and non-technical skills, including analytical and strategic thinking, and to be exposed to a range of tools and approaches for designing and implementing successful responses to common rule of law challenges in conflict-affected settings.



Course Objectives

After completing the course, participants will be able to:

  • Account for the differing understandings of and approaches to the concept of rule of law by international actors.
  • Contrast and connect practical experiences from the implementation of rule of law programmes in conflict-affected contexts with theory and handbook lessons.
  • Identify common challenges in implementing international rule of law assistance programmes.
  • Identify and apply a range of tools and approaches to mitigate and/or overcome those challenges.
  • Describe current and emerging trends and developments in the field of rule of law.
  • Develop contextually relevant responses to rule of law challenges and critically assess the advantages and potential weaknesses of these responses.
  • Recognise their own professional strengths and future capacity development needs in the rule of law field.



Course Participants

The course is designed for mid-career or mid-management level professionals with national or international field or mission experience in the area of rule of law assistance in conflict-affected contexts. Participants will come from a range of geographical regions and international organizations including the EU, OSCE, UN, AU und LAS, and have specific expertise in rule of law or other related fields including, but not limited to, security and justice sector reform, human rights, gender, law enforcement and corrections. The course is also suitable for professionals who advise, design, fund, or oversee rule of law projects and programs in conflict-affected environments from within donor organisations or head office environments.



Pedagogical Approach

The course adopts a learner-centered approach that focuses on the participants and their previous experiences, knowledge and professional needs; and encourages peer-to-peer learning, critical thinking and self-reflection. Based on key elements of ZIF’s Concept Civilian Expert, the course undertakes to facilitate participants’ reflection on their personal, social, professional and methodological competence.

It is supported by a group of specialist facilitators with extensive international experience in undertaking rule of law initiatives around the globe. The course therefore provides a unique opportunity for experienced practitioners and rule of law experts to interact and to share their experience, perspectives, and lessons learned from their own work.

The course draws on real-world case studies related to peace operations and civilian crisis management, practical problem-solving exercises, multimedia tools, world café exercises, role plays, peer experience-sharing and direct engagement with international rule of law specialists. It provides participants with ample opportunities to apply their newly obtained skills and competences in a variety of practice areas including public administration, legal and judicial reform, transitional justice, security sector reform and more.



Course Structure

In order to meet the stated course objectives, the course is divided into four themes:

I.    Conflict and Rule of Law Interventions
II.    Rule of Law and Good Governance in Conflict
III.    Rule of Law and Security
IV.    Institutional Reform – Beyond ‘Technical’ Approaches: soft skills

Particular attention is given across all themes to the theoretical and practical challenges of mainstreaming gender and human rights in rule of law programming, as well as strengthening a comprehensive approach and an effective cooperation among all relevant stakeholders in a rule of law assistance environment. The different themes and sessions also address how rule of law practitioners can contribute to facilitating participative processes and support local ownership, as both are key concepts that define the overall effectiveness of peace operations and civilian crisis management (see above ZIF’s Concept Civilian Expert). Last but not least, ZIF’s Duty of Care policy aims at providing training participants with the tools to realistically assess their own reactions in a challenging work environment.

Theme I establishes the theoretical and analytical framework for the entire course. From discussing the theoretical underpinnings of the rule of law field, participants move to explore the complexity of systems, institutions and actors that are involved in ensuring rule of law in conflict-affected settings. Participants are encouraged to take a problem-solving approach to rule of law assistance and are introduced to specific analytical tools and approaches essential for undertaking effective rule of law assessments and context analysis, particularly in legally pluralist societies.

In Theme II, rule of law is explored from the perspective of rebuilding the relationship between the state and society, with a focus on effective governance and the delivery of public services beyond criminal justice services. The analytical tools and approaches identified in Theme I are applied by participants to better understand the impact of political and power dynamics; political willingness and capacity for institutional and systemic change; and stakeholder dynamics on rule of law interventions.

Theme III examines programmatic actions that can be taken to enhance and promote rule of law specifically within the areas of justice sector and security sector reform.  Participants review current approaches to law and institutional reform and examine emerging trends that promote a holistic approach to the justice system. In doing so, they stress not only the importance of addressing capacity-building needs, but also for integrity-based activities that help to build trust in and the legitimacy of the justice system, its institutions and people. Critically, the theme reinforces the notion that successful rule of law interventions should be responsive to the actual needs of a society, and should be context-specific. It also emphasizes the analytical tools and approaches necessary for identifying suitable rule of law interventions.

Finally, Theme IV considers what it means in practice to place the human, social, historical, political, and power dynamics of a society at the core of rule of law promotion. Participants critique programmatic approaches that seek to address these dynamics – specifically in the areas of access to justice and transitional justice. The process of creating a strong rule of law is explored as a process that requires fundamental changes in people’s attitudes, perceptions, values, and behavior. The Theme allows participants to explore the competences rule of law practitioners requires, that go beyond legal knowledge in order to understand and become an agent of change in this process.

At the conclusion of the course, participants undertake a working group exercise that draws together and reinforces the key messages, skills and approaches explored during the course. This includes the role of politics and power in rule of law; the need for a holistic and systematic approach to rule of law assistance; the role of the state and society in strengthening rule of law; and the role of rule of law practitioners as agents of change.

Finally, participants are encouraged to reflect on how they could practically apply the course content in their own work environments, and to develop an action plan that identifies opportunities for change that they themselves can implement upon return to their workplace.



Course location

Germany, Berlin, venue tbd



Course fee

1,050 EUR for external applicants. This includes accommodation, food and (non-alcoholic) beverages at the course location.

210 EUR for members of the ZIF Expert roster and members of Germany’s Training Partner Platform.


ZIF offers a limited number of scholarships, only for national staff of UN, EU, OSCE and AL. For more information on those scholarship opportunities, please directly refer to your line manager or training department.



Application prodecure

Please apply for the course via the ZIF database. Please click on the 'Apply Now' button on the top right side of this webpage and follow the directions that match your profile.


Important notice for applicants who are not a member of the ZIF expert roster:

During registration, please select the option "Training Only" in the "Application for:" pop-up menu.


Deadline for applications:  17 September 2017. Selected participants will be notified by 29 September 2017.


For further information about the Rule of Law Toolbox Course contact:
Louise Biermanski, Training Officer: l.biermanski(at)