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Bridging the Security Gap through EU Rule of Law Missions? Rule of Law Administration by EULEX

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Altwicker Tilmann, Wieczorek Nuscha,
Project Transnational Public Security Law
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Conflict & Security Law
Volume (Issue) 21
Page(s) 115 - 133
Title of proceedings Journal of Conflict & Security Law


EU civilian missions are a tool to bridge new security gaps. They focus on security problems that cannot be adequately addressed by military capabilities alone. These missions operationalise the idea of liberal peace, i.e. the link between the (democratic, liberal etc.) “quality” of domestic institutions and international peace. The purpose of these missions is to reform (or establish) a state security sector based upon these qualities. Taking the most advanced EU civilian mission to date, EULEX Kosovo, as an object of study, this paper examines a particular legal problem that ensues when the rule of law is “exported”: In order to fulfil its rule of law-exporting task, the mission enjoys broad executive powers. This, in turn, requires that the mission itself must be bound by the principle it seeks to “export”. The rule of law serves, in other words, both as a policy-tool and as a constraint for EULEX. As both dimensions are connected, the failure of one will likely affect the performance of the other. The paper concludes that while the hybrid approach to the rule of law by EULEX is a promising tool to address security gaps resulting from new threats in post-conflict societies, the present weakness of the constraint function negatively affects the performance of the mission as a whole.