When violence has ceased it is often assumed that from this very moment peace has been restored. Definitions of peace and war have influenced earlier peace building interventions which in turn constituted the simple act of putting the weapons down as sufficient. Only recently have attempts to incorporate wider angles of facilitating peace and development been utilised. Critical approaches enhancing the perception of peace are put forward by Peace Theory scholars such as Johan Galtung and actual lessons learned serve to counter prevailing criticsm from Realist perspectives on peace. This paper demonstrates a rationale and case for supporting a more promising as well as more realistic view of peace and conflict management offered by peace theoretical considerations and approaches.
Transformation of conflicts appears as preliminary requirement for lasting peace in the view of Peace Theory. Upholding this presumption, reconciliation is presented here as an essential process and likewise applicable method for transformation of conflict. The paper examines the advantages of reconciliation against Realist claims about power politics and international relations. After introducing the aim and outline of the paper, a theoretical framework will be established in the second chapter, acknowledging the Christian concept of reconciliation yet evolving towards modern interpretations within socio-political contexts.
Scrutinising the applicability of reconciliation for conflict transformation, the third chapter presents reconciliation in practice drawing on the South African expample. Along this case study is highlighted how transitional justice is measured to default standards, what contextual constraints shape structure, mandate and process of applied reconciliation and why success is clearly visible in terms of socio-political reach. The model of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) also serves to elaborate the feasibility of institutionalising reconciliation in conflict transformation on international level. This paper stresses that conditions and design of the TRC resemble the setting of current international conflict transformation processes. Consequently chapter four discusses the specific impediments for applied peace theory in international context before the last chapter concludes the significance of applied reconciliation and non-retributive justice models for international conflict transformation..