Non-State Security Providers

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National Security Policy-Making and Gender (Tool 8)

This tool provides an introduction to the benefits and opportunities of integrating gender issues into national-level security policy making.

As strategic documents, security policies are critically important in establishing a coordinated response to security threats, and can serve as a platform for security sector reform (SSR) processes. Ensuring that gender issues are integrated into security policies may increase participation and local ownership, and create policies and institutions that are more likely to effectively and sustainably provide security and justice to men, women, girls and boys on an equitable basis.

The tool includes:

-An introduction to SSR and gender 
- The rationale for why integrating gender issues strengthens SSR processes
- Practical ways of integrating gender into SSR policy and programme cycles
- An overview of specific gender and SSR issues in post-conflict, transitional, developing and developed country contexts

See this page for more information on The GSSR Toolkit and the full range of "Tools" and "Practice Notes."


Gender Training for Security Sector Personnel – good practices and lessons learned (Tool 12)

This tool is designed to provide a basic introduction to SSR and gender issues for the staff of national governments (including in donor countries), security sector institutions, and regional and international organisations, responsible for the development of SSR policy and programming. Civil society organisations, academics and researchers working on gender and security matters will also find it useful.

The tool includes:

- An introduction to gender training for security sector personnel 
- Practical tips and examples of good practices in gender training for security sector personnel
- Entry points for incorporating gender into training for security sector personnel

See this page for more information on The GSSR Toolkit and the full range of "Tools" and "Practice Notes."



eBook Intro: The Future of Security Sector Reform

At a time when the United States, Canada and their coalition partners are re-evaluating their roles and exit strategies in Afghanistan and other broken states, "The Future of Security Sector Reform (SSR)" provides a crucial understanding of the complexities of reforming and transforming the security and justice architecture of the state. In this video, the eBook's editor, Mark Sedra, discusses the state of SSR and why the book fills a crucial gap in its study. Written by leading international practitioners in the field, it offers valuable insight into what has worked, what has not and lessons that can be drawn in development, security and state building for the future. Purchase the eBook or download a free PDF copy here:


Introduction to SSR

This presentation gives a background on the theory behind the concept Security Sector Reform, as well as an overview of the international efforts within SSR today.

Folke Bernadotte Academy

State and non-state perceptions of Security

Dr Kwesi Sansculotte-Greenidge, Research Fellow in the Centre for International Cooperation and Security (CICS), Department of Peace Studies, discusses his research on Security Sector Reform in the context of Ethiopia and the divergence and convergence in perceptions of security across society.



ICTJ Forum October 2012: Analysis of World Events From a Transitional Justice Perspective

The latest episode of ICTJ Forum, a monthly podcast looking into recent news and events from around the world, features ICTJ President David Tolbert, Truth and Memory Program Director Eduardo Gonzalez, and Africa Program Director Suliman Baldo. They join host and Communications Director Refik Hodzic for an in-depth analysis of recent developments in Kenya, the former Yugoslavia, and Colombia.


ICTJ Forum September 2012: Analysis of World Events From a Transitional Justice Perspective

In the first ICTJ Forum, transitional justice experts discuss the upcoming peace negotiations between the Colombian government and leftist FARC rebels, the UN Security Council debate on accountability for crimes against children, the proposed ordinance on a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Nepal, and the first report to the UN Human Rights Council by the recently appointed Special Rapporteur on transitional justice.


Policy and Research Papers

Improving Security and Justice Through Local/Non-State Actors

Local/non‐state actors often play an important role in the provision of justice and security services in many of the world’s fragile and (post‐)conflict countries. With a view to improving their effectiveness, donors seeking to support justice and security development in thosecountries frequently look for ways to incorporate them in their programmes. However, given that non‐state actors can also be detrimental to local security and justice (for example when they form part of organized crime), supporting them also involves huge risks. With this dilemma in mind, the Clingendael Institute’s Conflict Research Unit investigated conceptual, policy and practical opportunities and challenges for including local/non‐state security and justice networks in security and justice programming. The project consisted of a conceptual desk‐study; case studies in Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi; and a synthesis phase focusing on the lessons learned from the project, complemented by an expert brainstorm meeting, on the practical issues that donors must deal with if they are to successfully include local/non‐state actors in security and justice programmes.The present report summarizes the findings from this synthesis effort. It concludes that in each of the cases examined, it was possible to identify local/non‐state actors suitable for support and ways to support them. They included actors such as local courts, lay judges, neighbourhood watch groups, community development councils, and trade associations. However, the research also identified a number of practical risks and challenges that donors need to manage and overcome in order to ensure that such actors are included effectively into broader, overall security and justice programmes.


Research Report: Donor Support to Non-state Providers of Security and Justice

The research sought to identify literature on donor support to non-state providers of security and justice services in fragile and conflict-affected states, and to highlight any lessons learned. In particular, any lessons related to the conditions appropriate or not suited to supporting non-state actors, how to ensure services are equitable, affordable and accessible, and how performance can be assessed.


Monopoly of Force

The loss by many states of the monopoly of the legitimate use of force has contributed significantly to the proliferation of failed and failing states worldwide. In such states, a multitude of threats, including insurgencies, terrorist networks, transnational organized crime, and illicit shadow economies, flourish. These states often become trapped in cycles of violent conflict that threaten stability and security at home, in their neighborhoods, and throughout the world. States emerging from conflict are highly prone to return to conflict within the first few years of postconflict status. The widespread availability of lethal weapons exacerbates the tensions that already permeate conflict and postconflict environments.

The mechanism of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) is widely acknowledged to be an essential component of successful peacekeeping, peace-building, postconflict management, and state-building. Security sector reform (SSR) has emerged as a promising though poorly understood tool for consolidating stability and establishing sovereignty after conflict. While DDR enables a state to recover the monopoly (or at least the preponderance) of force, SSR provides the opportunity for the state to establish the legitimacy of that monopoly.

The essays in this book reflect the diversity of experience in DDR and SSR in various contexts. Despite the considerable experience acquired by the international community, the critical interrelationship between DDR and SSR and the ability to use these mechanisms with consistent success remain less than optimally developed. DDR and SSR are essential tools of modern statecraft, but their successful use is contingent upon our understanding of both the affinities and the tensions between them. These essays aim to excite further thought on how these two processes—DDR and SSR—can be implemented effectively and complimentarily to better accomplish the shared goals of viable states and enduring peace.

Edited by Melanne A. Civic and Michael Miklaucic, with contributions from:

  • Josef Teboho Ansorge
  • Nana Akua Antwi-Ansorge
  • Judith Asuni
  • Alan Bryden
  • Véronique Dudouet
  • Jennifer M. Hazen
  • Michelle Hughes
  • Jacques Paul Klein
  • Mark Knight
  • G. Eugene Martin
  • James Mattis
  • Sean McFate
  • Anne-Tyler Morgan
  • Jacqueline O’Neill
  • Courtney Rowe
  • Mark Sedra
  • Matthew T. Simpson
  • Cornelis (Kees) Steenken
  • Jarad Vary
  • Adriaan Verheul
  • Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm
  • Paul R. Williams

Security Sector Reform and Transitional Justice in Kenya

SSR refers to the variety of constitutional, legal, and policy changes that may be required to infuse the  principles of accountability, professionalism, and efficiency into a security sector which has  had a history of operating beyond the rule of law. Experiences from post-conflict and transitional societies such as Sierra Leone and South Africa show that improving security governance helps create peace and other suitable conditions for meaningful social reconstruction and development to take place. Security agencies must work in the interests of citizens hence the need to transform the framework for security governance.

SSR involves bringing security agencies under civilian control and aligning their operations  to international best practices. SSR also involves transforming the underlying values, norms, and politics that frame the operations of security agencies. Successful SSR implementation will therefore partly depend on whether the state actually punishes human rights violations and corrupt acts committed by security personnel. So far, however, the rather slow pace of reforms in Kenya’s criminal justice system continues to shield abusive security personnel. In light of this background, ICTJ brought together eight experts with backgrounds in civil society, academia, and the security sector to share perspectives at a two-day meeting which sought to build new understanding on SSR.
The first presentation contextualized the idea of SSR within the broader issue of transitional justice. The second presentation examined international best practice for SSR as it relates to Kenya. The third presentation focused on the state and performance of Kenya’s security agencies, drawing its analysis from three official reports: the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence, the Report of the National Task Force on Police Reforms, and the Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions. The fourth presentation examined how the practice of vetting might be used to transform Kenya’s security agencies, while the fifth and sixth ones discussed the possibilities for a police oversight body and penal reform, respectively. The seventh presentation explored SSR as it relates to the problem of the proliferation of vigilantes, gangs, and militia in Kenya. Finally, the eighth presentation argued for the need to regulate the Kenyan private security sector.

This briefing paper is a synthesis and analysis of the eight presentations and the ensuing debate which took place among the broader group of 25 participants. It explores several questions among them: What is the state of security and the security sector in Kenya? What have been the outcomes of SSR measures undertaken so far? What approaches for security sector transformation are desirable for Kenya and how might they be pursued? What kind of linkages are policy-makers making between SSR and other issues in the governance realm?

Follow this link to view the publication on the ICTJ's website.


Socio-Economic Reintegration of Ex-Combatants: Guidelines

The objective of the Guidelines is to provide practitioners on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants with strategic guidance and operational direction in preparing, implementing and supporting sustainable employment-focused reintegration programmes for social reintegration and reconciliation.These guidelines are based on ILO's experience in this field in various countries. In addition, they complement and operationalise in the Integrated Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Standard (IDDRS), the Stockholm Initiative on DDR (SIDDR) and the UN Policy for Post-Conflict Employment Creation, Income-generation and Reintegration.

To access the full text, click here.


Willing and Able? Challenges to Security Sector Reform in Weak Post-war States – Insights from the Central African Republic

Security sector reform (SSR) is an integral part of the international community’s efforts to build peace and enhance security in weak post-war states. It has, however, proven difficult to undertake SSR in such contexts. A number of factors constitute a challenge to create security forces that are able to provide security to the population.

Based on previous research, this report highlights some of the challenges to SSR in weak post-war states. Through an analysis of the SSR process in the Central African Republic, this study shows that informal power structures, a volatile security situation and failure to understand how SSR is influenced by other political processes, negatively impact on the prospect for successful  implementation of reforms. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that weak capacity and lack of political will on behalf of the national government, is a challenge to local ownership and sustainable reforms. Despite a holistic approach to reforms aiming to improve both the capacity of the security forces and to increase democratic control of the security institutions, insufficient international engagement, scarce resources, lack of strategic direction and inadequate donor coordination have limited the prospect for implementation of reforms.


Somalia: Armed Groups and Recruitment in the South

Years of conflict, soaring unemployment and poor prospects, combined with lack of political leadership, have provided fertile ground for the emergence of a number of militias and violent extremist groups, including al-Shabaab. The Ethiopian presence in Somalia during 2007 – 2008 as well as the atrocities committed by both Somali and Ethiopian soldiers, contributed greatly to the support rebel groups received from the population. In spite of the Ethiopian withdrawal in January 2009 and the establishment of the national unity government, al-Shabaab and the Hizb ul-Islam alliance continued their warfare, demanding that the peacekeeping forces of the African Union (AMISOM) leave the country.

However, the terrorist attacks against AMISOM and governmental targets in Mogadishu also affect civilians, and radical Islam is alien to most Somalis. The support which these Islamist groups have received from the population has, according to most observers, significantly reduced in recent years. In December 2010, a weakened Hizb ul-Islam was dissolved, and several of the organisation's members joined al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab continues to support poor, unemployed young men, teenagers and children, and to provide them with clothing, food and weapons. Al-Shabaab is currently in a strained military and economic situation, and there are indications of certain changes in the group's recruitment pattern (interviews with international representatives and Somali sources in Nairobi, March 2011).

To view the publication, follow this link.


Multi-layered Justice and Security Delivery in Postconflict and Fragile States

This paper examines the value of an alternative approach to SSR policy, namely a multi-layered one in post-conflict and fragile state environments. It begins by arguing that there is a state-centric bias in current SSR policy and practice. This contradicts development principles of a ‘people-centred, locally owned’ approach in post-conflict and fragile state contexts. The SSR's state-centric approach rests upon two fallacies: that the post-conflict and fragile state is capable of delivering justice and security; and that it is the main actor in security and justice. The paper goes on to present the outline of a multi-layered strategy. This addresses the issue of who is actually providing justice and security in post-conflict and fragile states. The paper continues by describing the accountability mechanisms that could be pursued by SSR programmes in support of this approach. The conclusion is that the advantage of the multi-layered approach is that it is based not on the state's capacity, but on the quality and efficacy of the services received by the end user, regardless of who delivers that service.

To view this publication, please follow this link.


Liberal Chiefs or Illiberal Development? The Challenge of Engaging Chiefs in DFID’s Security Sector Reform Programme in Sierra Leone

It is increasingly recognised that informal actors, including chiefs, are dominant providers of services and need to be factored into overwhelmingly state-focused programmes. This article looks at the ability of the UK’s Department for International Development to engage with the chieftaincy system in Sierra Leone through its security sector reform programme − a relationship which poses important political challenges.

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New War, Old Enemies: Conflict Dynamics in South Kordofan

This Working Paper describes the first year of renewed war in South Kordofan (June 2011–July 2012), focusing on the conduct and dynamics of the conflict and the primary armed actors. It also identifies shared weapons and ammunition holdings based on detailed accounts of materiel seized, as well as photographs and first-hand physical inspections.
 While the war in South Kordofan is fundamentally a conflict between primarily (Northern) Sudanese actors for control of the state, it also has clear cross-border implications—as SAF’s air strikes in Unity state and the Southern fighters’ temporary seizure of the Hejlij oil fields attest. This paper reviews these border aspects of the conflict and its impacts on relations between Khartoum and Juba.

To view this article, please follow this link.


Customary Law and Practice in Lao PDR

The Customary Law Report is the first of its kind to assess customary justice practices among the 49 officially recognized ethnic groups in Lao PDR and is a step forward in incorporating customary practices into the overall legal system, a key requirement in establishing a rule of law state by 2020.

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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.


Towards a Non-State Security Sector Reform Strategy

This paper outlines a comprehensive strategy for engaging non-state actors in security sector reform (SSR) by synthesizing the emerging literature on this approach and developing new conceptual tools to advance policy and practice. It explains when and why non-state security providers should be engaged in reform, outlines what such an approach would aim to achieve, provides tools with which to understand who such actors really are, then clarifies how international actors could pursue such a strategy. It then considers six outstanding challenges and uncertainties surrounding a non-state SSR strategy and, ultimately, argues that non-state engagement is a viable and attractive approach to SSR that merits further research and serious policy-making consideration.

For full access to the report Towards a Non-State Security Sector Reform Strategy, kindly follow the link.


Policing Nigeria: a Case for Partnership between Formal and Informal Police Institutions

This paper explores the Nigeria police system with particular reference to the formal and informal police institutions. It discusses the history of policing in Nigeria and the challenges affecting the one-agency police institution which is the conventional Nigeria Police Force. The inability of the NPF to control the rising spate of crime and the fact that the institution is regarded as an oppressive tool in the hands of the rich has given room for public distrust and subsequent debate on how to improve safety and security for foreigners and Nigerians within the country. The partnership theory of Dennis Rosenbaum is the theoretical framework that is adopted as a guide to this study. The paper recommends amongst others that the informal police methodology should be recognized by the government and given the necessary financial support to partner with the formal police force in order to enhance the process of providing security for Nigerians and foreigners residing and doing business in the country. Furthermore, the study has suggested that a code of conduct should be enacted by the legislative arm of government to assist regularized activities of the informal police sector who are often blamed for brutality during the exercise of their duties.


Peace and Conflict Assessment of South Sudan - 2012

This report is an assessment of peace, conflict and peacebuilding in South Sudan, conducted between June 2011 and March 2012. It analyses how local, national and international dynamics around independence in July 2011 and the end of the six-and-a-half-year formal Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) process with Sudan have impacted on peace and conflict in 2011–2012 and how they are likely to influence peace and development over the next decade. Utilising International Alert’s Peacebuilding Framework, it assesses the dynamics, structures and opportunities for building a positive peace under five Peace Factors: Power, Economy, Safety, Justice and Well-being. It also analyses some of the challenges and impact of peacebuilding actors, institutions and strategies over the CPA period and provides a series of recommendations on improving peacebuilding programming beyond 2012 in terms of prioritising approaches, target locations and actors/partners. It concludes that, while the enjoyment of peace is highly variable across South Sudan, the nation as a whole and few if any of its constituent peoples or counties have yet experienced a positive, sustainable peace. Conflictual and rapidly worsening relations with Sudan as well as uncertainty about the length of suspension of oil exports (and thus revenues) appear likely to aggravate longstanding deficits in governance, security, economic opportunity, justice and reconciliation. This in turn increases the risk that South Sudan will become more violent in 2012 and beyond. Follow this link to view the publication.


Understanding Vigilantism - Informal Security Providers and Security Sector Reform in Liberia

This report argues that any attempt to reform state security institutions as a means of improving overall security must start with a thorough investigation of the current security context. However, during this process of security mapping, informal actors cannot be neglected. Often this very sector not only exists, but also effectively functions and continuously adapts to contextual realities. One must therefore consider the informal networks of security provision and the recognition of non-state  security actors that ordinary citizens, in addition to formal security providers, must navigate on an everyday basis. In doing so it also becomes easier to identify the hidden links between these formal and informal networks that at various levels interact,
complement, or even compete with each other. The focus of this report is to explore and describe informal security organizations (mainly community watch and vigilante groups) in modern-day Liberia, a country that at the moment is undergoing  security sector reform with major assistance from the international community.

Download the publication in PDF format from the Folke Bernadotte Academy website: Understanding Vigilantism - Informal Security Providers and Security Sector Reform in Liberia.


Completing the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration process of armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the link to security s...

An ISS analysis on the difficulties and challenges in implementing DDR and SSR processes in the DRC.