Is there method in the madness of mediation?
In the first few years of the twenty-first century, third parties played a major role in a large number of intrastate and interstate disputes (e.g. Ache, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia, Ivory Coast, Somalia and Sudan). This is not unusual. Empirical studies suggest that some form of non-coercive third-party intervention has taken place in nearly 70 percent of all conflicts since 1945 (see Bercovitch and Fretter, 2004; Sherman, 1994). Third-party mediation has become a common and greatly championed method of international conflict resolution. It is practiced by numerous and diverse actors, ranging from individuals through states to international organizations. When successful, mediation may “soften up” the parties, promote diplomacy (see Grieg and Diehl, this volume) and be instrumental in achieving a cessation of hostilities, a peace agreement or a full settlement of a conflict.