Branka Marijan

Policy and Research Papers

The Politics of the "Unfinished Business": Bosnian Police Reform

Key Points:

  • Police reaction to recent protests in Bosnia has called attention to stalled police reform. This brief provides a historical overview detailing the evolution of police structures and the reform attempts and provides recommendations for long-term effective police reform.
  • After Bosnia’s 1992–1995 war, police reform became a crucial element of security sector reforms. The police were accused of human rights violations, a lack of proper training and over-militarization. There have been further allegations of criminality and corruption  within the force and a lack of cooperation between different police agencies, all resulting in an unsustainable policing environment.
  • Initial reforms to obtain state-wide standards through centralization were complicated by the politicization of the reforms and were perceived as an attempt to assimilate the divided state. The result is a fragmentation of police services and disagreement between the three main political blocs within the country.
  • Recommendations to improve the policing environment and build trust in the police services include curbing political interference in policing matters, increasing engagement with civil society and formalizing a system to enable reporting of public concerns and complaints.
Paper

A Fine Balance: the EU and the Process of Normalizing Kosovo-Serbia Relations

The recent agreement between Kosovo and Serbia is a significant accomplishment for the European Union. Still, the agreement marks the beginning, rather than the end, of a long-term process of normalizing relations between Serbia and Kosovo. The maintenance of the EU’s “constructive ambiguity” approach to the question of Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo as an independent state is important for continued normalizing relations between the countries. The EU’s continuous and active involvement and interest in the region is of paramount importance for the full implementation of the agreement.

Paper

Assessing the Impact of Orthodox Security Sector Reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina

BiH CSG

This paper by the Centre for Security Governance (CSG) is part of a multi year CSG research project titled "Exploring the transition from first to second generation SSR in conflict-affected societies". The project assesses and evaluates the impact of orthodox security sector reform (SSR) programming in conflict-affected countries. Employing a common methodology, the project features original research on four case study countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, El Salvador, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste. Funding for this project was provided by the Folke Bernadotte Academy.

Exploring the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina two decades after the Dayton peace agreement, the paper asses the application of orthodox norms and principles to SSR in the country and notes the effectiveness of the various efforts. It highlights the role of international actors in the SSR process, notably with regards to European Union potential membership, and points out the uneven results across the different sectors. The paper argues that the lack of local ownership is a key issue for the sustainability of the reforms, and that the competing visions of local actors are a challenge to SSR efforts.

To access the CSG Paper No. 9 Assessing the Impact of Orthodox Security Sector Reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina, kindly follow the link.

Paper

Exploring the Transition from First to Second Generation SSR in Conflict-Affected Societies

This comparative multi-year CSG research project seeks to provide policy-oriented research and analysis to enrich and advance the emerging second generation SSR discourse. Led by CSG Executive Director Mark Sedra, the project assesses and evaluates the impact of orthodox security sector reform (SSR) programming in conflict-affected countries. Employing a common methodology, the project features original research on four case study countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, El Salvador, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste. The case study countries chosen each feature two broad characteristics: they are recovering from conflict and making transitions from war to peace; and they are mature cases of SSR, in that they have been subjected to at least ten years of externally supported SSR programming of some form. It is also important to note that geographical diversity played an important role in case study selection, with four distinct regions represented— Balkans, Central America, West Africa, and Asia-Pacific

For full access to the research project Exploring the Transition from First to Second Generation SSR in Conflict-Affected Societies, kindly follow the link.

Paper

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.

For full access to the report The Gradual Emergence of Second Generation Security Sector Reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina, kindly follow the link.

Paper