3.2 Institutions that develop proposals about which final decisions are made elsewhere

In this section, the main distinction is between roundtables, which are generally relatively informal bodies, often formed in situation of crisis to put together constitutional proposals, and commissions and committees that are already in existence and are given that same task, or are specially created (usually by law) for that purpose. What they have in common is that they are not like legislatures (though they may be committees of legislatures) because they do not have any power to enact a new constitution.

We have also included here parties to peace processes; we are not concerned with their peacemaking roles, but with those aspects of their roles that relate to the content of a new constitution. It is an important assumption of this handbook that in constitution-making after (or even during) conflict, making a constitution may be an important part of the peace process. Where parties to a conflict are divided over an essentially constitutional issue they are unlikely to give a free hand in constitution-making to a commission or a freely elected constitutional assembly.

As is often the case, the boundaries may not be clearly defined. For example, a roundtable may be a peace process. Because a peace process will usually begin before more formal institutions can be set up, we begin with this topic.