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Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution

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Mediation, or the intervention of third parties, has been a tested and tried means of dispute resolution since the earliest history of the world. The theme for this program, the Americanization of International Dispute Resolution, asks whether there is an American style of dispute resolution and, if there is, whether it is positive or negative for the peaceful settlement of international disputes. In approaching my assignment of Mediation in Armed Conflict, I have focused my attention on Northern Ireland, a society that has experienced a violent conflict for the past thirty years, in which many efforts at mediation have taken place at all levels of the society. There have been mediation successes and some failures but its usefulness as a means of mitigating conflict in the North is clear. Part I of this Article provides a brief description of the American mediation process through the lens of my experiences as a mediator. Part II examines the conflict in Northern Ireland and the tools used by George Mitchell during the peace process. Part III analyzes criticisms of the use of the so-called American-style of mediation in international conflicts.