The interaction between international law and negotiation as a strategy to end gang warfare in El Salvador and beyond
This Note briefly reviews the history and development of transnational gangs in Central America. It considers the connection to previous violence in the region and the effects of US immigration policy on the development of gangs. It delves into the scope of the current problem of gang violence and then reviews the domestic and regional responses to the threat of transnational gangs. It examines various Mano Dura policies throughout Central America, as well as prevention programs, regional agreements, and strategies. This Note reviews available information regarding the ongoing truce and the role of the El Salvadorian government and the OAS in its negotiations. It also discusses the response from various countries in the region regarding negotiation as a strategy for decreasing violence.
The Note then examines the development of international law and, in particular, the ways in which it seeks to restrict and manage violence through International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL). This Note explores the legal and political limitations of IHL and IHRL in reducing violence in conflicts such as the one in El Salvador. This Note demonstrates how El Salvador's international obligations may inhibit transitional justice and delay the humanitarian goals of the truce. Finally, the Note suggests ways that the international community can support the humanitarian goals embodied in the truce.