The Gradual Emergence of Second Generation Security Sector Reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnia’s security sector reform (SSR) has largely been shaped by dominant approaches to peacebuilding and statebuilding. Local and international SSR experts suggest there is a need to move away from state-centric, topdown orthodox approaches to the more flexible, bottom-up approaches of the second generation SSR model. However, second generation approaches to SSR remain nascent in Bosnia. This paper points to some possible entry points for the development of second generation SSR, such as community policing and wider civil society engagement; however, it acknowledges that empowering local actors is no simple task as there are great power imbalances and little incentive for senior officials to accept these changes in approach. In addition, the top-down nature of the peacebuilding process in Bosnia has served to disempower local actors. Ultimately, the paper suggests that a second generation approach to addressing remaining gaps in SSR in Bosnia might involve working within existing political frameworks rather than using SSR as a political tool.

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