Conceptualizing the land-conflict-restitution nexus: the case of Cyprus
Resolving land and property issues lies at the crux of post-conflict reconstruction and peace building strategies. Construing it as a core element in Galtung’s conception of a “positive peace” sustained by co-operation between groups and nations , it sits alongside truth and reconciliation commissions and war crimes tribunals in the contemporary peace building canon. The Pinhiero Principle cited above define the two specific ways in which resolution may be achieved: restitution of land and property to people forcibly displaced by violence and war (and implicitly population return), or compensation for loss (where return is impossible). Yet the protracted nature of the Cyprus case – unresolved since the 1974 Turkish invasion and division of the island - and before that the example of Palestinian dispossession, reinforce the point that resolving land issues is also one of the most intractable challenges to peace building, and is rarely successfully accomplished even where there has been proactive engagement by international actors as has been the case in Bosnia-Herzogovina (BiH).