Policy and Research Papers

Which institutional reforms for Guinea-Bissau?

The institutional reforms put forth in the October 2016 Conakry Agreement have a long history in Guinea-Bissau. They are unavoidable and will have to be implemented sooner or later. In order to facilitate discussions on these reforms among political actors and in civil society, the Institute for Security Studies, at the request of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), has developed a series of policy briefs on constitutional reform, as well as on reforms to political party legislation, electoral laws, the justice sector, and the defence sector and security. This note discusses the main recommendations.

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Proportionality in the Conduct of Hostilities: The Incidental Harm Side of the Assessment

Clarification of international humanitarian law is important in ensuring compliance with the rule of proportionality, but a culture of compliance within armed forces and groups is also crucial.

Military operations are taking place with increasing frequency in densely populated areas.  In order to protect civilians, it is imperative that armed forces and groups comply with the rules of international humanitarian law on the conduct of hostilities, including the rule of proportionality.

Proportionality assessments before or during an attack must determine whether the expected harm will be caused by the attack, and whether that harm could be expected (that is, was it reasonably foreseeable).

Belligerents should develop methodologies so that those planning and deciding attacks are provided with all necessary information on expected incidental harm, and to assist them in assigning weight to the incidental harm to be considered.

If it becomes apparent that the rule of proportionality will be contravened, the attack in question must be cancelled or suspended. Clarification of the law is important in ensuring compliance with the rule of proportionality, but a culture of compliance within armed forces and groups, inculcated by their leaders, is also crucial.

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Libya Timeline: Since Qaddaffi's Ouster

Libya has struggled to remain unified since the Arab uprising in 2011 and the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi eight months later. During the chaos of an unraveling regime, armed groups proliferated, and Islamism emerged as a powerful new political force. In Libya’s first democratic election, voters largely opted for a secular government. But the transition was undermined by rivalries among secular parties, Islamists and independents coupled with escalating clashes among the new militias.

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In South Sudan, Nonviolent Action is Essential to Building Peace

On September 12 of last year, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, signed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan(R-ARCSS) with South Sudan People Liberation Movement in Opposition chairman Dr. Riek Machar and several other armed groups. Meanwhile, South Sudanese civil society has sought to further advance the country’s peace process through coordinated, strategic nonviolent actions and campaigns.

There is hope among South Sudanese that this agreement will finally bring about peace and there have been some positive indicators despite the challenges it is facing for it's implementation.

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Le problème du contrôle des groupes de vigilance en Afrique de l’Ouest francophone : Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Sénégal

En Afrique, les groupes de vigilance varient énormément dans l’espace et le temps. Généralement, on explique l’émergence des groupes de vigilance par une aggravation assez intolérable et persistante de l’insécurité. Ils suppléent ainsi les carences de l’État dans les zones peu ou mal desservies par la police publique.

Ainsi à travers eux, ce sont les populations directement touchées par des crimes spécifiques qui s’approprient leurs problèmes et génèrent une entité chargée de les résoudre. Ces groupes permettent en outre de rendre disponible le bien collectif qu’est la sécurité à des populations qui en sont dépourvues. C’est une sécurité privée pour les couches défavorisées de la société.

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