Vetting to ensure minimum standards of integrity in public service is widely recognised as an important SSR measure. Between 1999 and 2002, the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) vetted all law enforcement personnel in the country. Of the total of 23 751 personnel registered, 16 803 were provisionally authorised to exercise police powers (those not authorised were mainly administrative support personnel working at local ministries of the interior); of those, 15 786 were certiﬁed as police ofﬁcers. Three High Judicial and Prosecutorial Councils (HJPC), made up of international and national personnel, restructured the court system and reappointed all judges and prosecutors between 2002 and 2004. Almost 1 000 posts were declared vacant and there was open competition to ﬁll them.
The Dayton Agreement stipulated that police ofﬁ cers and civil servants responsible for serious violations of minority rights should face “prosecution, dismissal or transfer”. The presence of the UN Mission facilitated the process of vetting.
Review or reappointment? UNMIBH applied a review model to vet the police: serving police ofﬁcers were screened to determine their suitability for continued service. Shortcomings in this process were caused by a failure to ensure basic standards of due process. The HJPC, on the other hand, applied a reappointment model to vet judges and prosecutors: all posts were declared vacant and serving judges and prosecutors also had to apply. Applicants in the reappointment process had no right to a hearing or to judicial appeal if they were not selected and the burden of proof was shifted onto them. These procedural simpliﬁcations streamline a vetting process signiﬁcantly and provide a better opportunity for broader SSR measures. A reappointment process, however, represents a risk of arbitrary interference in otherwise independently operating sectors. It should therefore only be established when the institution is fundamentally dysfunctional; it should be implemented by an independent body that follows fair procedures; and it should be put in place as early as possible to avoid protracted periods of legal uncertainty.
Linking vetting to other reforms — Both the UNMIBH and HJPC processes pursued broader SSR goals. In particular, both led to a reduction in the overall personnel size and an increased representation of minorities. Vetting will normally have to be accompanied by other SSR measures to ensure an effective reform process.
The role of international organisations — Vetting processes under domestic leadership preclude resentment against external imposition and ensure the application of local know-how. Vetting processes are, however, often contested as they affect access to power, and considerable international involvement might be required. When an internationalised process is established, every effort should be made to broadly involve domestic actors and to guarantee a seamless changeover to regular domestic procedures. In this regard, the shortcomings of the UNMIBH process were signiﬁcant. The HJPC process, on the other hand, was integrated into the domestic legal system and ensured a smooth transfer to a domestic follow-on mechanism.
The UNMIBH police review process resulted in the removal of personnel who did not meet established criteria, a reduction in overall personnel numbers, and an improvement in the ethnic and gender composition of the police. The HJPC reappointment process resulted in the closure of several courts, about 30% of the incumbent applicants not being reappointed, and the pre-war ethnic balance being largely restored. At the completion of the reappointment process, the HJPC turned into a permanent
appointment and disciplinary body
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.
Policy and Research Papers
Security sector reform (SSR) and transitional justice processes often occur alongside each other in societies emerging from conflict or authoritarian rule, involve many of the same actors, are supported by some of the same partner countries and impact on each other. Yet the relationship between SSR and transitional justice, or “dealing with the past” (DwP) as it is also called, remains underexplored and is often marked by ignorance and resistance. While SSR and transitional justice processes can get into each other’s way, this paper argues that SSR and DwP are intrinsically linked and can complement each other. SSR can make for better transitional justice and vice versa. Transitional justice needs SSR to prevent a recurrence of abuses, an essential element of justice. SSR can learn from transitional justice not only that it is better to deal with rather than ignore an abusive past but also how to address an abusive legacy in the security sector. The validity of these assumptions is tested in two case studies: the police reform process in Bosnia and Herzegovina after 1995 and the SSR process in Nepal after 2006.
Over the past two decades, in response to the underwhelming results of international development efforts across the Third World, arguments concerning the importance of local ownership have been gaining currency within the international development community. At its core, the discourse around ownership revolves around fundamental questions of agency: who decides, who controls, who implements, and who evaluates. The growing emphasis on local ownership, then, emerged as a critique of mainstream development practice and the broader cult of Western expertise which underpins it. As Joseph Stiglitz argued a decade ago, a vision of development in which all the answers and all the agency are seen to lie in the hands of foreigners is inherently problematic and ultimately self-defeating: ‘We have seen again and again that [local] ownership is essential for successful transformation: policies that are imposed from outside may be grudgingly accepted on a superficial basis, but will rarely be implemented as intended’. Since then, the principle of local ownership has been viewed increasingly as a precondition for effective development assistance, even if
the translation of the principle into actual practice remains an ongoing challenge.
The overall objective of the Justice Sector Reform Strategy is to create a joint framework of reform for justice sector institutions in BiH that sets out agreed priorities for the future development of the sector as a whole, as well as realistic actions for reform.
This strategy was created through a joint effort between the ministries of justice of the State of BiH, the entities, and cantons, as well as Brčko District Judicial Commission and the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council. It is the result of a highly participatory and consultative process that encompassed key justice sector institutions of Bosnia Herzegovina, including representatives of professional associations of judges and prosecutors, bar associations, association of mediators and NGOs. Its aim is to provide a strategic framework for addressing key issues within the justice sector over a five year timeframe.
This document analyses the role of the main international actors involved in the implementation of police reform in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably that of the UN and the EU. Despite considerable efforts and resources deployed over 17 years, the implementation of police reform remains an ‘unfinished business’ that demonstrates the slow pace of implementing rule of law reforms in Bosnia’s post-conflict setting, yet, in the long-term, remains vital for Bosnia’s stability and post-conflict reconstruction process. Starting with a presentation of the status of the police before and after the conflict, UN reforms (1995–2002) are first discussed in order to set the stage for an analysis of the role of the EU in the implementation of police reform. Here, particular emphasis is placed on the institution-building actions of the EU police mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina deployed on the ground for almost a decade (2003-June 2012). The article concludes with an overall assessment of UN and EU efforts in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the remaining challenges encountered by the EU on the ground, as the current leader to police reform implementation efforts. More generally, the article highlights that for police reform to succeed in the long-term, from 2012-onwards, the EU should pay particular attention to the political level, where most of the stumbling blocks for the implementation of police reform lie.
Following the establishment of the international ad hoc tribunals, the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (ICTY and ICTR respectively), a new model of justice administration emerged at the end of the 1990s through the development of hybrid or internationalised courts. Hybrid tribunals are conceived as a mixture of international and domestic law and staff, as a way to provide the necessary resources and guarantees for justice closer to those whose work matters to most. This paper looks at the two most recent tribunals, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and the War Crimes Chamber in the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (WCC) and examines their practice related to the expectations that hybrid tribunals have raised in terms of peacebuilding. Based on the authors’ fieldwork in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cambodia, this paper focuses particularly on the tribunals’ impact on the rebuilding of the rule of law, the strengthening of public institutions in the countries in which they operate and the perception of the public of their work. It considers the experience of the tribunals so far, problems and ongoing challenges in order to draw some lessons which can impact both their future work and other potential tribunals in post-‐conflict settings.
Domestic violence constitutes one of the most complicated and difficult socio-criminal issues confronted by judiciaries and criminal justice communities the world over, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The purpose of the Judicial Benchbook is to improve the judicial response to domestic violence and increase the consistency of judicial practice in cases of domestic violence in BiH.
The Benchbook was developed over a nine month period by a panel of nine judges from across BiH. The recommendations were later reviewed by BiH legal scholars and practitioners as well as the institutions responsible for providing continuing education to judges and prosecutors in BiH. The Benchbook represents the first of its kind in BiH – a resource on domestic violence developed by judges for judges. While the Benchbook is tailored for the specific legal context of BiH, the recommendations are appropriate for a wider context. As well, the methodology used to develop the Benchbook can serve as a model for similar work in other locations.
- 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.
The mixed results of efforts to reform the governance of security forces in the aftermath of conflict require deeper examination of the political constraints that shape statebuilding processes. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, attempts to restructure and centralize the security forces led to a substantial though incomplete reform of the military, but limited impact on the police forces. These uneven results are rooted in the nature of political coalitions that constrain recipient leaders and shape their interaction with external actors. While Bosnian leaders mostly relied on a cohesive political base that favoured close links between political parties and the police forces, fragmentation within these parties generated internal threats that enabled reforms to the military. This case demonstrates the limits of external influence without changes to underlying political conditions.
To access the paper, click here.
Corruption is hampering the delivery of justice globally. People perceive the judiciary as the second most corrupt public service, after the police. UNDP presents in this report, prepared in cooperation with U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, a series of successful experiences from Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo*, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, and Somalia, in promoting transparency and accountability within the judiciary.
Opening up judicial systems fosters integrity and increases public trust without impeding independence of the judiciary. The report advocates for judiciaries to open up to peer learning by engaging representatives of other countries in capacity assessments to improve judicial integrity. It also encourages judiciaries to consult end-users, associations of judges and use new technologies to foster transparency and accountability.
For full access to the report on A Transparent and Accountable Judiciary to Deliver Justice for All, kindly follow the link.
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.
The power of legitimacy is increasingly invoked by scholars, practitioners, and donors as a crucial prerequisite for any international peacebuilding project. This short article disenchants the almost magical powers accorded to legitimacy via three research findings: First, it shows the causal mechanism behind legitimacy’s impact; second, legitimacy works only in certain contexts and situations; third, it is the only direct power international peacebuilding operations wield.
For full access to the blog and original research article Police reform in Kosovo and Bosnia: The power of local legitimacy unpacked, kindly follow the link.
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.
The end of the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina: What lessons for the Common Security and Defence Policy?
On 30 June the EU’s first and longest-serving Common Security and Defence Policy mission will come to an end: the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina will close after a near-decade of activities. In this Policy Brief, Eva Gross explores the impact of this decision on the rule of law in Bosnia, but also examines lessons learned for the CSDP in general. With new CSDP missions planned for deployment in Africa, what ‘dos and dont's’ can be learned from Bosnia?
For full access to the policy brief, The end of the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina: What lessons for the Common Security and Defence Policy?, kindly follow the link.
This publication is the first comprehensive review of gender bias in criminal and civil legal practice and court rulings in the Western Balkans and makes an important contribution to the topic internationally. The Gender Bias and the Law Handbook answers the question, Why Does Gender Matter? The purpose of the Handbook is to provide law students with a greater awareness of the existence of gender bias in court proceedings and to expand their understanding of how gender bias is manifested in the application of law within the social context of BiH.
For full access to Gender Bias and the Law: Legal Frameworks and Practice from Bosnia & Herzegovina and Beyond, kindly follow the link.
Intervening states apply different approaches to the use force in war-torn countries. Calibrating the use of force according to the situation on the ground requires a convergence of military and police roles: soldiers have to be able to scale down, and police officers to scale up their use of force. In practice, intervening states display widely differing abilities to demonstrate such versatility. This paper argues that these differences are shaped by how the domestic institutions of sending states mediate between demands for versatile force and their own intervention practices. It considers the use of force by Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States in three contexts of international intervention: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Afghanistan. The paper highlights quite different responses to security problems as varied as insurgency, terrorism, organised crime and riots. This analysis offers important lessons. Those planning and implementing international interventions should take into account differences in the use of force. At the same time, moving towards versatile force profoundly changes the characteristics of security forces and may increase their short-term risks. This difficulty points to a key message emerging from this paper: effective, sustainable support to states emerging from conflict will only be feasible if intervening states reform their own security policies and practices.
Attempts to explain the failure to reform the security sectors in post-conflict countries have often resorted to two sets of explanatory factors: international and local factors. This article seeks to move from that unhelpful dichotomy to an explanation linking both factors. Drawing on a Foucauldian approach and the concept of “counter-conduct,” it examines the rationality and practices of European Union (EU) governmentality and how governing technologies are resisted and reversed by local elites involved in security sector reform (SSR). Instead of understanding power and resistance as binary opposites, this article argues that counter-conduct can be conceived as implicated in the very relations of power that it seeks to resist. To tease out these relations, the article analyzes the EU’s efforts in SSR in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it identifies four forms of counter-conduct: upholding European standards, using the local ownership trap, simulating reforms, and lowering the bar.
To read the article "EU security sector reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Reform or resist?", please follow the link.
Monitoring and Evaluation Arrangements for the Implementation of Community Policing in Bosnia and Herzegovina
This report analyses the monitoring and evaluation arrangements (M&E) of a community policing project ‘Implementation of Community Policing in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)'. The field research for this report was carried out in May/June 2008.
This report is one of five case studies carried out as part of the Saferworld project ‘Evaluating for Security: Developing specific guidelines on monitoring and evaluating Security Sector Reform (SSR) interventions'
The Transition to a Just Order – Establishing Local Ownership after Conflict: A Practitioners’ Guide
This handbook and its sister publication, the policy report The Transition to a Just Order: Establishing Local Ownership after Conflict, A Practitioner’s Guide, are based on the findings of a two year long study conducted jointly by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA). The study offers a comprehensive analysis of the principle of local ownership, the key dilemmas involved in pursuing local ownership and the challenges and issues that arise when local ownership is being put into practice.
It takes a closer look at strategies and mechanisms for transition in four cases studies: Afghanistan, the Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Kosovo), Timor-Leste and West Africa (Liberia and Sierra Leone).
The cases have been selected to illustrate the varying degrees of international involvement in post-conflict justice and security sector reform. Kosovo and Timor-Leste represent scenarios where the international community has taken the lead in taking responsibility for law and order, while West Africa and especially Afghanistan are illustrative of postconflict environments where primacy has rested with local authorities. The study is based on field visits by the authors to all the case study countries with
the exception of Timor-Leste and numerous interviews with local stakeholders, practitioners, policy makers and established academics working on justice and security sector issues. The study has also benefited greatly from discussions which took place in a workshop held in Stockholm in May 2006 as well as a rigorous peer review process. The handbook uses the findings in the case studies and examples from these peacebuilding processes to highlight some of the key challenges.
To view this publication, follow this link.
Over the past two decades, in response to the underwhelming results of international development efforts across the Third World, arguments concerning the importance of local ownership have been gaining currency within the international development community. This book dwells on the concept of local ownership and the challenges it faces in SSR practice in terms of implementation and donor-national stakeholder relations. Finally it adds a number of case studies that exemplify these issues.
Security sector reform (SSR) is widely recognized as key to conflict prevention, peace-building, sustainable development, and democratization. SSR has gained most practical relevance in the context of post-conflict reconstruction of so-called "failed states'" and states emerging from violent internal or inter-state conflict. As this volume shows, almost all states need to reform their security sectors to a greater or lesser extent, according to the specific security, political and socio-economic contexts, as well as in response to the new security challenges resulting from globalization and post-9/11 developments. Alan Bryden is a researcher at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. Heiner Hnggi is assistant director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces.
Implementing Security Sector Reform (SSR) in Post-Communist Europe: Lessons learned for improving Reform Practices
In the aftermath of the Cold War, the traditional concept of defense and security no longer represents an adequate response to the new security challenges and threats that the international community faces. Since the war in Bosnia in 1991, the Euro-Atlantic community became aware of the necessity to reform its security sector so as to tackle such problems as global terrorism, organized crime, intra-state ethnic and religious conflicts, as well as the abuse of human rights. The growing demand for respect of democracy and human rights suggest that this reform should not focus solely on strict security institutions, but it should also include political and civilian institutions. The SSR agenda provides for a holistic and concrete response to all security related problems, but, as past experience demonstrates, many difficulties arise in the implementation stage; attempts to operationalise SSR proved to be problematic in certain contexts as are the post-Communist Central and Eastern European countries. This paper describes specific problems that arose during the implementation stage of the SSR agenda in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Bulgaria, Russia, Kosovo, and Serbia, and suggests different recommendation policies in order to successfully engage in a holistic, cohesive, and strategic amelioration of the security sector.
The actions of the police both reflect and affect societal changes and the legitimacy that society vests in state authority. What principles and practices of good policing have emerged through processes of reform, trans-national exchanges and the creation of international regimes? This introductory chapter by the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) summarises some of the lessons learned on police reform and examines what has been achieved in police reform in transitional societies.
The idea that policing matters to democracy has slowly but firmly taken hold among politicians, scholars, policy-makers and the police themselves. Providing security is one of the basic demands that society makes of the state. This includes the demand by citizens and communities that their lives are protected by the social control apparatuses of the state. The police occupy a crucial political role in any society by virtue of the symbolic value of their work. This has an impact on the political and social discourse. The police are part of the system of governance. They matter in processes of state creation, the reproduction of peaceful social relations, the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the creation of social identities and bonds that underpin political life.
Conversely, ineffective, arbitrary or repressive social control undermines the legitimacy of existing state-society relations, complicates efforts to promote development, and severely limits the (re)building of democratic forms of governance and order. In short, the police matter beyond their merely functional work.
Reforms take time and patience. Nothing will work out quite as planned and expected. Adjustments have to be made in the course of reforms.
- There will be resistance to reforms. This has to be undermined in such a way that those resisting will be seen by others as unreasonable and illegitimate in their objections and as protecting their own interests rather than looking out for the common good of society and the state.
- Even enthusiastically received reforms will suffer a decline in energies and active support as time goes on. Reforms should be supported by occasional campaigns to stir up enthusiasm.
- The pace of reforms must fit local conditions so as not to 'overwhelm' either the police or the public.
- Police organisations seek to shape reforms towards their interests and are much more likely to adopt reforms that do not challenge the existing internal distribution of power and authority within the organisation.
- Reforms must be built into managerial practice in the long term. A system should be developed to teach new leaders as they rise through the ranks.
The goals of democratic police reform (or creation of a democratic policing system) are:
- sustained legitimacy;
- skilled professionalism; and
- effective accountability.
Reforms of local police forces in conflict or post-conflict areas need to be dealt with in order to create a certain level of security for the local people. This volume presents the discussions of professionals in the field of peacekeeping, civilian police activities and police reform, both academics and practitionaers, on the issue of internationally assisted police reform in transitions from war to peace. Contributions include theoretical insights and informed case studies from El Salvador and Guatamala, the Balkans, West Bank and Gaza, and Mozambique and South Africa.
Security Sector Governance in the Western Balkans: Self-Assessment Studies on Defence, Intelligence, Police and Border Management Reform
In order to institutionalise democratically-based security sectors and achieve Euro-Atlantic integration, Western Balkan countries need to change their value systems substantially. This book, published by the Austrian Ministry of Defence and the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) in cooperation with the Partnership for Peace Consortium, is an assessment of the status of security sector reform (SSR) in the Western Balkans. Despite legislative progress, all security institutions in the region need to be more transparent and accountable, and improve their policy formulation and implementation capacities.
The SSR Newsletter provides an update on recent activities of the UNDPKO's SSR Unit, gives an overview of upcoming initiatives and shares relevant information and announcements with the greater SSR community.
In this issue:
- Adoption of African Union Policy Framework on SSR
- Spotlight on a Mission: UNSMIL
- SSR Guidance Launched in Geneva
- Peacekeeping & Human Rights Conference
- Advanced Training on SSR in Sarajevo
- SSR Unit Support Visit to Côte d'Ivoire
- Induction Workshop for SSR Experts in Geneva
- Rule of Law Conference in Haiti
- About the SSR Newsletter
Crisis Group’s Watch List 2017 includes the Lake Chad basin, Libya, Myanmar, Nagorno-Karabakh, Sahel, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen. This annual early-warning report identifies conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.
For full access to the report, Watch List 2017, kindly follow the link.
For an update on the report, Watch List 2017 – First Update with entries on counter-terrorism, Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia and the Western Balkans, kindly follow the link.