Finally emerging from decades of conflict and isolation, Iraq has endured three devastating wars, the demise of the Saddam Hussein regime, the end of international economic sanctions, and the protracted process of approving a constitution and forming a new democratically elected government. The nation’s emergence from war, and efforts to build the foundations of stable governance and economic growth, provides a fascinating case study for analyzing new international norms promoting the “rule of law” in post-conflict countries.

This paper addresses arguments that early legal and economic reforms implemented by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) in Iraq during 2003-2005 may have violated the principle of “conservation” in international humanitarian law. The paper further examines whether a new doctrine of “jus post bellum” is emerging, and the extent to which the United Nations and international economic organizations are permitted to support economic reforms as part of a larger effort to engage in peace building and to establish a “rule of law” in post-conflict countries.