Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS)

DIIS is an independent research institution for international studies, financed primarily by the Danish state. We carry out research and analysis on a wide range of issues within the areas of globalisation, security and development. We participate in national and international debates and academic networks, and publish in high-ranking academic journals, always striving to excel in academic scholarship. At the same time, we assess Denmark’s foreign and political situation and inform the Danish media, politicians and the public about our work.

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Policy and Research Papers

Justice and security – when the state isn’t the main provider

Most people in the world do not take it for granted that the state can or will provide justice and security. Donors who seek to improve access to these services should abandon their concern with ‘what ought to be’ and focus on ‘what works’. This means supporting the providers that exist, and accepting that while wholesale change is not possible, gradual improvement is.

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Betwixt and between – chiefs and reform of Sierra Leone’s justice sector

This paper discusses the uneasy role of chiefs within three cycles of security and justice reform in Sierra Leone during the past decade. Interaction has been indirect, by default or marginal, and always hesitant. This has been the case, even though chiefs constitute the most important governing institution in Sierra Leone’s rural communities.

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Transforming Internal Security in Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone Police and broader Justice Sector Reform

It is a striking feature of current international interventions that state institutions, even if their monopoly over the means of violence has disappeared, if indeed it ever existed, receive by far the most attention – and money. Peacebuilding and state-building continue to be considered two sides of the same coin.

This report analyses how Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and broader justice sector reform has been integral to the process of the country’s state-building process since before conflict officially came to an end in January 2002. The report begins with a summary of the political and security context in which SLP reforms began and an overview of key aspects of the SSR process in Sierra Leone. It then analyses the reform effort specifically, under four broad headings. First, it provides an account of the institutional and political framework within which reforms took place. Second, it reviews a number of technical and operational initiatives undertaken to move reform forward. Third, it reviews institutional reforms to support rebuilding of the SLP. Finally, it addresses broader justice reform efforts that began with initiation of the Justice Sector Development Programme ( JSDP) in 2005 and designed to be continued in the Improved Access to Security and Justice Programme (IASJP), scheduled to begin in 2010.

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Justice and Security – When the State isn’t the Main Provider

Most people in the world do not take it for granted that the state can or will provide justice and security. Donors who seek to improve access to these services should abandon their concern with ‘what ought to be’ and focus on ‘what works’. This means supporting the providers that exist, and accepting that while wholesale change is not possible, gradual improvement is.

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Local Actors and Service Delivery in Fragile Situations

This report explores how to engage local actors in international development programming that aims to strengthen service delivery in fragile situations. Apart from a discussion of how policy-makers and practitioners should approach local actors and centrally governed institutions systemically, three case studies are presented. They explore different types of external support, and the effect it has had, exploring community policing in Sierra Leone, primary healthcare by village doctors in Bangladesh, and primary education provided by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), traditional voluntary organizations and madrasas – religious seminaries – in Pakistan.

The report puts forward two interrelated arguments. First, the quantity and quality of service provision in fragile situations cannot simply be equated with a set of centrally governed institutions. Service delivery in fragile situations is performed by a broad range of actors, including, but not limited to, NGOs, grass-roots organizations and community-based organizations, faith based organizations, traditional voluntary organizations, customary organizations (chiefs and tribal leaders), and religious leaders.

Second, no local service provider acts independent of the broader system of governance in which it operates. As a rule, local service providers are part of an extensive system of governance that incorporates a variety of centrally and locally embedded organizations and institutions. The systemic nature of how public services are delivered must be central to any development design and programming endeavor that seeks to enhance service delivery, including the varied nature of the actors that constitutes this system.

It is entirely feasible that local actors determine (or co-determine) how a particular service is provided, while some specific and indirect coordination and oversight functions are organized and/or developed by centrally governed institutions in the long-term. At the same time, the three cases show that the direct and indirect functions they should take on depend on the willingness, capacity and legitimacy to do so, which can only develop incrementally. In the long-term, this leads to a governance system that strengthens locally and centrally governed institutions simultaneously.

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Community Policing in Sierra Leone – Local Policing Partnership Boards

What can we learn from how community policing has evolved in Sierra Leone? This report answers the question by presenting an in-depth analysis of Local Policing Partnership Boards (LPPBs), the main institutional response to community needs by the Sierra Leone Police (SLP).

A general understanding of how LPPBs operate is available, but there is a dearth of concrete and systematic analysis of how LPPBs in Sierra Leone’s 33 police divisions operate. The report is based on data collected in 17 of Sierra Leone’s police divisions and makes the following broad observations:

  • One of the key strengths of the LPPBs is that they are built around already existing actors of authority at the local level such as traditional leaders, quasi-vigilante groups and secret societies. This is also one of the reasons why it is difficult to ascertain if these actors would have played a central role in local order-making, regardless of whether LPPBs had been established or not. It is clear, however, that LPPBs have supported the (re)formalization of relations between the police (state) and local communities (population).
  • There is an important difference between the interplay of local authorities and community in rural and urban areas. Involvement of the community in rural areas tends to mean involvement of paramount and lesser chiefs. There is often a complete overlap between the chiefly hierarchy and LPPB members, and as such the latter act both as representatives of local authorities and as police proxies. In urban or densely populated areas the establishment of LPPBs has expanded the range of actors involved in defining and responding to local security, incorporating teachers, youth and women’s leaders, among others. As such, Sierra Leone’s LPPBs have in fact supported the democratization of security.
  • Because LPPBs are still evolving as a concept and as a set of practices, it should be considered carefully how and under what conditions they are formalized in legislation. It is essential that it is not done prematurely so that the LPPBs have the space to develop and respond flexibly to context.
  • The voluntary nature of LPPB membership is one of the cornerstones of the LPPBs. This status is central to maintaining the status of these boards as connected to, but not as formal components of the police. 
  • Whatever activities the police and LPPB leadership pursue in the future to strengthen LPPBs, their ‘in-between’ status should not be altered. LPPBs help an overstretched police force resolve cases at the local level, and as such, they act as a non-threatening, mediation-oriented police force multiplier. LPPBs should continue to be seen as part of the community in the broad sense of the term, while they remain in a position to liaise with the police when necessary. This is fundamental to the original vision of LPPBs and to the concept and practice of community policing in Sierra Leone.
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Post-Conflict Security Sector Reform and the Challenge of Ownership - The Case of Liberia

This paper describes how security sector reform (SSR) has become a pivotal part of international peacebuilding efforts. The author details how donor agencies and Western governments devote substantial resources to strengthen the legitimacy and efficiency of security systems in war-torn societies. The paper discusses the SSR process in Liberia in view of the shift from a transitional to a democratically elected government. It identifies dilemmas between the SSR agenda and the objective of ownership, and argues that a more inclusive and less state-centered approach is needed.

To access the article, follow this link.

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The Charisma of Authenticity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The purpose of this paper is to propose an analysis which discloses the various interdependencies that may exist between modes of objectifying the nation and the legitimacy of discursive strategies of nation-building in the context of a grave social conflict. The paper advances two interrelated arguments. Firstly, it argues that the order of conflict in the Congo is contingent on the strictly symbolic efficacy of myths of identity. Secondly it argues that the “charisma” of some of the country’s “Big Men” is a related to what I call the democratization of sovereignty, and neither to their supposedly exceptional individual qualities nor to a specifically African “Big Man”-syndrome. I propose that while one must be critical of the Weberian notion of “charisma” as a sociological theory of prophecy, one can nonetheless use the notion of “charisma” as a tool to analyse symbolic properties that accrue to a specific individual and his followers, to the extent that they embody a subjectivity which is held as absolute by his, or their, proper discourse.

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Better Training Needed for UN Peacekeepers

Training of peacekeepers and specifically pre-deployment training therefore sets UN Peacekeeping an enduring test. This report presents the findings of a pilot-survey of Troop Contributing Countries to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and their inclusion of training related to PoC in pre-deployment training. 

For full access to the report Better Training Needed for UN Peacekeepers, kindly follow the link.

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