Clingendael (Netherlands Institute of International Relations)

Mission Statement

The Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael is a knowledge institute for international relations. In a constantly changing global environment, Clingendael acts as a think-tank as well as a diplomatic academy in order to identify and analyze emerging political and social developments for the benefit of government and the general public.


Clingendael seeks to achieve this objective through research, by publishing studies, organising courses and training programmes, and by providing information. The Institute acts in an advisory capacity to the government, parliament and social organisations, holds conferences and seminars, maintains a library and documentation centre, and publishes a Dutch language monthly on international politics as well as a newsletter. Clingendael currently employs some 75 staff, the majority of whom are researchers and training staff.

Telephone: +31 (70) 314 19 50
Fax: +31 (70) 314 19 60
Bezuidenhoutseweg 161
P.O. Box 93080
2509 AB The Hague
No programmes have been added yet.

Teaching SSR to Vietnamese Government Officials at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague

Netherlands mandate in Vietnam 04/04/2017 - 04/04/2017

This training week is part of a 3-year cooperation between the Netherlands Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, the Clingendael Academy and the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security on the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. During these three years, Clingendael has provided the Vietnamese Ministry with in-depth knowledge on both the Convention and the mechanisms used in Human Rights reporting. This year’s focus is on the practical implementation of the Convention through training and education.


Mission d'étude sur la coopération régionale

mandate in Chad, Mauritania , Nigeria, Sahel, Senegal 04/03/2018 - 20/04/2018

Dans le cadre de ce projet, DCAF-ISSAT a requis l'expertise de l'institut Clingendael pour réaliser un état des lieux de la coopération régionale au Sahel. Dans cet objectif, deux experts ont visité quatre pays d'Afrique subsaharienne au cours de deux missions, afin de rencontrer des représentants de diverses organisations internationales, régionales et sous-régionales (ONUDC, UA, CEDEAO, Commission du Lac Tchad, G5 Sahel, Force Multinationale Mixte, délégations de l'UE, OIM) ainsi que des délégués d'organisations de la société civile. 

L'ensemble des données récoltées a pour finalité la production d'un rapport de synthèse visant à alimenter notre réflexion dans la rédaction du rapport final.  

No vacancies have been added yet.

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.


Early Recovery in post-conflict countries. A conceptual study

This study analyses the issue of early recovery. In doing so it critically discusses, in a first step, the policy strategies and operational frameworks of selected bilateral donors, regional organizations as well as multilateral institutions to disentangle the main background concepts underlying the policy concepts and to inform the reader of the major challenges involved.The research investigate the following issues: the relations and trade-offs between the strategic objectives of peace-building as well as security and development; the analytical integration of socio-economic development and conflict; the methodological conceptualization of the 'transition' phase; the trade-offs between short and long-term development objectives; and the challenge of sequence and prioritization.

The study highlights policy recommendations and implications in fourteen priority areas: the reintegration of ex-combatants and special groups (IDPs, refugees), infrastructure, employment, agriculture, education, health, fiscal policy and public finance, monetary policy and exchange rate management, the financial sector, external finances (capital flight, debt relief, remittances, ODA), trade, private sector development and entrepreneurship, economic governance (land property rights and access to land, corruption, the management of natural resources, illegal economic activities, regional conflict factors) and horizontal inequality.


Les Bailleurs Européens et l'Approche Participative dans le Secteur de la Sécurité et la Justice au Burundi

Cette étude de case fait partie d'un programme de recherche entrepris par le Groupe Sectoriel sur la Sécurité du consortium Initiative for Peacebuilding (IfP). L'étude de cas sur la Réforme de Secteur de Sécurité (RSS) au Burundi et la pratique des bailleurs publié lors de la première phase de ce programme de recherche a relevé que "dans la grande majorité des cas, il n'existe pas de recours automatiques à des mécanismes de pris de prise en compte des besoins et des préoccupations des communautés au sein des programmes RSS des acteurs internationaux." La présente étude de cas vise donc à creuses davantage ce constat, à étudier le contexte particulier du Burundi et à éclairer les opportunités, défis et obstacles auxquels l'UE et ses états membres actifs dans le renforcement du secteur de sécurité et la justice font face par rapport à l'implication des communautés à la base et de la société civile dans la programmation.

Afin de lire cette publication, veuillez suivre ce lien.


The Political Economy of State-Building in Situations of Fragility and Conflict: From Analysis to Strategy

Fragile states have been at the heart of Western development and security strategy for over a decade. Bringing together the findings of five case studies of states that show clear signs of illegitimacy or a weak capacity to govern, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Kosovo and Pakistan, this paper examines the roots and dynamics of state fragility by placing the spotlight on the way political power works. The paper highlights the aspects of political economy that give rise to weak or fragile state institutions, freeze or reverse attempted reforms, create public insecurity and paralyse economic development.

The paper concludes with suggestions that may help guide a pragmatic and realistic approach. Above all, donors must be constantly sensitive to the structures of power, interests and incentives that can capture and subvert new formal governance arrangements.

To view this publication, please follow this link or download the file below.


From the struggle for citizenship to the fragmentation of justice Yemen from 1990 to 2013

This report analyses the many grievances that underpin these strains and tensions from the perspective of how the ability of legal remedies to resolve disputes peacefully infl uences the prospects of violence and state formation. It examines, in particular, how the state-basedlegal system and tribal customary law have developed, who uses them, and to what effect they function. It undertakes this inquiry within the broader framework of Yemen’s political economy that is characterised by exclusive governance and declining social justice since the country’s unifi cation in 1990. This focus enables the report to contribute a much needed analysis of Yemen’s ‘state of justice’ and what can be done to improve it.

You can find the full report under the following link: 


Putting governance at the heart of Security Sector Reform - Lessons from the Burundi-Netherlands Security Sector Development Programme

Democratically governed security and justice sectors are a core objective of the Security Sector Development (SSD) agenda. But few such programmes put governance front and centre.

The Burundi-Netherlands Security Sector Development Programme has broken new ground in the promotion of democratic security sector development. It has begun to break down barriers to security-sector secrecy, increase dialogue on governance aspects, enhance security-sector accountability to civil authorities and its adherence to (inter)national law, although many hurdles still remain.

It has achieved these results by proactively addressing the politics of change at all levels and on a daily basis, establishing results progressively, prioritizing the gradual development of national ownership and matching timeframe with ambition and environment, recognizing that small steps can be important milestones in countries setting out along the road to democratic governance.

In this report, senior visiting fellow Nicole Ball of Clingendael's Conflict Research Unit analyzes the Dutch SSD program in Burundi, its governance achievements and its challenges going forward.


Non-conventional armed violence and non-state actors: challenges for mediation and humanitarian action

Some of the most lethal episodes of armed violence in recent years have taken place in countries that do not suffer from conflict according to its conventional definitions. At the same time new armed conflicts in Mali and Syria appear to be shaped not just by political differences, but also criminal motives, jihadist ideology and an extraordinary level of violent factionalism.

The hybrid character of both armed violence and conflict stands at the heart of current global security concerns. But the specific challenges posed by armed violence in non-conflict settings have yet to receive a coherent response from peace and development professionals. The coercive power exerted by non-state armed groups over communities and territories, and their connection with transnational networks make it hard to negotiate anything more than short-term deals aimed at reducing violence or providing humanitarian relief. Legal provisions to protect civilian lives are particularly difficult to enforce.

Hostility towards these groups from states and the international community is deep and widespread, particularly when they are associated with terrorist acts or organised crime. However, this report outlines four areas of future research in policy and programming that would be highly relevant to the work of organisations devoted to peace and humanitarian affairs: the nature of an outreach strategy to armed groups, the legal instruments that are available, the sort of community engagement that should be sought, and the approach towards formal economic and political structures. Establishing a broad network of practitioners, scholars and policymakers is suggested as a means to make progress on all these fronts.

Publication is available here.


Yemen’s future: like Tunisia or Libya?

The recent conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen might seem to point to progress in that fractured state. But the absence of the rule of law and impartial authority is allowing violence to fester and the international community needs to act decisively.

This messy panorama is characteristic of the kaleidoscope of violence in Yemen, with its multiple, overlapping issues and complex relations between power-brokers. It also typifies the associated impunity: with little to fear by way of legal repercussions, acts of violence are attractive instruments in pursuit of partisan agendas. As @BaFana3 tweeted, “Laws must be designed with the underlying assumption that they will be violated & have to be enforced. That concept is missing in #Yemen.”

You can find the paper here.


Injustice Begets Violence, and Violence Begets More of Both: The Case of Yemen

This piece is part of the project “From the struggle for citizenship to the fragmentation of justice: Yemen from 1990 to 2013.” You can read the main report here.

After the momentous events of 2011, Yemen sadly has become a kind of backwater of the Arab Spring in the international media. What rare news headlines surface usually include the word “drone,” “al-Qaeda,” or “terrorism.” Beyond the headlines, Yemen is characterized by the same ambiguity as many fragile environments: a unique process of national dialogue concluded on an upbeat note while violence intensifies. In Yemen's case, the violence is intensifying around Dammaj in northern Yemen, with the southern protest movement apparently radicalizing, and the normally peaceful Hadramaut governorate seeing a tribal war erupt.

Yet beyond both headlines and recent events, one finds the deep structural factors that have shaped the Yemeni polity over the past decades. The difficulty ordinary Yemenis face in obtaining justice through peaceful and legal means is one such factor that contributes significantly to creating the raw matter of current violence.


Independent Progress Review on the UN Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections

This report presents the results of an independent review of the progress that the GFP initiative has made since January 2012, conducted at the request of the GFP managers, by a joint research team from the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael), the Stimson Center and the Folke Bernadotte Academy.



Multi-year Defence Agreements: A Model for Modern Defence?

This study looks into two examples of countries that have applied the method of ‘Defense Agreement’ in their military budgeting. Denmark and Sweden have set the example (although both in a somewhat different manner) to establish a multi-year consensus on defense. The goal of the ‘Defense Agreements’ is to create stability and clarity for a number of years, on the purpose of the armed forces and on defense planning. This study aims to provide a more in-depth discussion of the two models, and to look at both their benefits and disadvantages’. - Margriet Drent and Minke Meijnders, Clingendael.


Local Justice and security providers in South Kivu

Going local to support youth-neighborhood watch-community development groups

This report on South Kivu is part of the second phase of a three-step research project into the role of local justice and security providers and non-state actors in fragile states. The research explores how local justice and security networks deliver services to citizens when a significant percentage of the population in the community do not have confidence in the country’s centralized state agencies (national police service; judiciary and the courts) and/or where the services provided by those agencies are scarce and/or have limited effectiveness within distinct geographic areas.


Non-state actors and individuals

This chapter discusses the role of non-state actors in the international system. Non-state actors is a catch-all term for groups, movements, organisations, and individuals that are not part of state structures. The trend described in the WRR report Attached to the World and underlined in the 2012 Monitor continues: non-state actors are having a growing impact on the policies and position of nation-states, a development that fits into the network scenario.


Speculating on Crisis: The Progressive Disintegration of the Central African Republic’s Political Economy

The most recent wave of violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) began sweeping across the country in 2012. It started when the Séléka, an alliance of rebel groups operating in the north-east of the country, set off for the capital Bangui. They ousted President François Bozizé in March 2013 and installed their leader, Michel Djotodia, as president. The violence of the Séléka provoked the emergence of a loose coalition of local defence groups, the Anti-balaka. Violence between and among the groups forced Djotodia to step down in January 2014, and a weak transitional government was installed.

However, conflict between numerous armed groups continues, and tensions within communities remain unresolved to this day. The report argues that four interlinking factors shape the CAR’s volatile present: 1) a fractured society; 2) caused by chronic political and armed crises; 3) strongly shaped by external influences on domestic politics and rebellions; and 4) a lack of geopolitical interest in the landlocked and sparsely‑populated country.

In examining these factors, the report analyses how self-interested political elites have exacerbated deep historic divisions and stimulated the proliferation of armed groups. External interferences – both formal and informal – in the country’s political economy and security have played part in the violent struggle. The relatively limited international aid and stabilisation efforts in the CAR have been unable to change things for the better. The report shows that current and future international interventions must make strategic and coordinated choices to create stability: Short-term military agendas should be supplanted by long-term civil empowerment, the peripheries deserve more attention, crimes need to be persecuted at the same time as communities need to be reconciled, and regional interests need to be redirected to promote internal stability.

For the full report about Speculating on Crisis: The Progressive Disintegration of the Central African Republic’s Political Economy, kindly follow the link.


A violent compound: competition, crime and modern conflict

Drawing on a series of 12 NOREF reports studying six countries affected by non-conventional armed violence, as well as core areas for policy responses, this synthesis report points to the importance of understanding and addressing this violence due to the critical role it plays in perpetuating insecurity, blocking peace and causing complex emergencies. Among its recommendations, the synthesis report calls for more flexible forms of mediation and reintegration for non-conventional armed groups, the redesign of humanitarian responses, and the implementation of novel controls over illicit flows connected to violent groups.

Read: A violent compound: competition, crime and modern conflict


Paris: 11/13/15 - Analysis and Policy Options

The November 13th attacks on carefully chosen targets in Paris have been claimed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) and were deliberately meant to kill and injure as many civilians as possible. The attacks were complex and well-coordinated, involving homegrown as well as (returned) foreign fighters (FFs). Judging by the terrorists’ tactics and methods, the Paris attacks indeed bear IS’s trademark. “Paris” was the latest in a string of IS attacks outside Syria and Iraq, and suggest that IS has shifted its attention away from the caliphate to external targets to create fear and undermine societies elsewhere, notably in anti-IS coalition members. As such, it marks a significant shift in IS’s operations and illustrates the vulnerabilities of European security services and the impossibility of exercising full control.

Read the full policy brief: Paris: 11/13/15 - Analysis and Policy Options


Illicit Networks: the systemic risk in Latin America

A wave of corruption scandals has gripped Latin America over the past year. From Argentina and Brazil, to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, rackets involving state actors, the judiciary, business and organized crime have caused internal unrest and caught international attention.

Published in a special edition of PRISM, the journal of the Center for Complex Operations (part of the United States National Defense University), this article argues that in order to understand these dynamics it is crucial to look more closely at two interconnected realities characterizing many Latin American countries: first, the existence of criminalized areas that are beyond formal state control; and second, the presence of illicit networks within the state.

Document available: Illicit Networks: the systemic risk in Latin America


The EU as a security actor in Africa

This new report provides an in-depth study of the role of the European Union as a security actor in Africa. It features analysis on ‘work currently being done on proposals for a new dedicated instrument – or a modification of the existing instruments – for capacity building in the security sector, as well as on a comprehensive EU strategic framework for the reform of the security sector.’ 

Full report: The EU as a security actor in Africa 


Fix the unfixable: how to bring greater stability to the Sahel?

Huge amounts of foreign assistance have been provided in the north Sahel region after the crisis that hit Mali in 2012, but with no guarantee of ensuring future stability. Some 16 different stabilisation strategies are being deployed in the region, but the lack of coordination among the actors involved, and weak ownership at the local level, cast doubt on their overall effectiveness.

Given the regional and international ramifications of the current situation, corrective measures are urgently called for.

A broader dialogue must be initiated to identify (1) the most pressing security and economic challenges facing the region, and (2) the actor best suited to lead the coordination of efforts to address these challenges on the ground.

For the full policy brief about Fix the unfixable: how to bring greater stability to the Sahel?, kindly follow the link.


Beneath the Apparent State of Affairs: Stability in Ghana and Benin

The Potential for Radicalization and Political Violence in West Africa

Crises in the Sahel (from Mali to southern Tunisia and Libya) and the regionalization of Boko Haram’s activities as far as the Lake Chad basin (Niger, Cameroon and Chad) are some of today’s worrying signals related to West African stability. 

The question of a potential broadening of this ‘arc of crisis’ to stable countries in the region, including Benin and Ghana, motivated research in the field conducted by the Clingendael Institute. In Accra and Tamale in Ghana, and in Cotonou and Porto-Novo in Benin, the research team looked into religious, historic, political and societal dynamics that may constitute elements of future (in)stability. New religious “ideologies” (Christian evangelism and/or Sunni revivalism), mixed with economic frustrations, have deeply impacted the traditional balance and make long‑term stability a challenge for most of the countries in the region, from Mali to the Horn of Africa. In this report Clingendael explores the specific ways the Ghanaian and Beninese actors are dealing with politics, identity and societal stress. They also identify the influence of external actors, from both the region and beyond, and potential spill over of nearby conflicts. 

Clingendael comes to the conclusion that several issues, like border porosity, absence of a regional strategic approach to counter terrorism, youth frustration towards the elder’s political and economic monopoly, rural and urban disparities and rampant illiteracy are some of the regional aggravating factors that are conducive to the spread of extremist ideology and dividing behaviours.

They argue that their report can be considered as an early warning, but what is urgently needed is early action. For the full report on Beneath the Apparent State of Affairs: Stability in Ghana and Benin, kindly follow the link.


Towards a stronger EU security and defence policy

Europe’s unprecedented security challenges call for a step change in the EU’s approach to security and defence. This Clingendael report reflects the main topics of discussion at the high-level Netherlands EU Presidency Seminar on Defence held on 20 and 21 January 2016. 

The new EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, to be submitted to the European Council in June, will require translation into actionable proposals for a stronger Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and deepening defence cooperation. A CSDP White Book is necessary to define the level of ambition, required capabilities and how to obtain these capabilities. 

Political commitment and follow-up are essential to achieve progress in defence cooperation. A system of accountability and positive peer pressure with ‘naming and praising’ as opposed to ‘naming and shaming’ has to be developed. To achieve this, the member states should commit to benchmarks, regular reporting and sharing information on defence plans and budgets. In addition, financial incentives, such as allocating EU budget for defence related research should be explored.

Please kindly follow the link to access to full document: Towards a stronger EU security and defence policy


Accelerating global nuclear disarmament: a menu of 16 policy options

Although the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which opened for signature 48 years ago, obliged existing nuclear weapon states to negotiate towards nuclear disarmament, currently nine states still possess almost 16,000 nuclear warheads in total.

To accommodate the growing discontent among states and civil societies concerning the very slow pace of nuclear disarmament efforts, measures to accelerate nuclear disarmament seem to be required in order to prevent damage to the existing multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament mechanisms.

This Policy Brief offers a menu of choice identifying 16 potential policy steps that could be considered to accelerate nuclear disarmament to any extent.

Read the policy brief by kindly following the link: Accelerating global nuclear disarmament: a menu of 16 policy options


The Future of Police Missions

The current security situation in the world provides the Netherlands with many good reasons to contribute police capabilities to international crisis management missions.

This study published by Clingendael argues to focus Dutch police contributions to multilateral operations on a set of niches that fits both the demand from international organisations and national (security) policy objectives.

Police deployment in multilateral operations abroad can help preventing or reducing future spill-over effects from the crises that these operations address. The demand for police officers to deploy in EU, UN and OSCE operations is increasing and outpaces supply both in quantitative and in qualitative terms. Also, NATO will continue to need police capabilities that can operate under a military command structure.

Kindly follow the link for the full report on The Future of Police Missions.


Deterring the Influence of Organized Crime on Political Parties


The authors focus on specific cases from Georgia, Mali and Mexico to provide insights into how multiparty democracy has occasionally shaped and extended the linkages between political parties, politically exposed persons and criminal activity. Political corruption often undermines the important role of political parties as the centerpiece of political representation in democratic systems. This brief illustrate these threats, as well as potential strategies for preventing and mitigating relationships between criminals and political actors.

To access the brief Deterring the Influence of Organized Crime on Political Parties kindly follow the link.


The roots of Mali’s conflict Moving beyond the 2012 crisis

This report constitutes the first research pillar of the new Maghreb-Sahel Programme of the Clingendael Institute’s Conflict Research Unit, sponsored by the Dutch Nationale Postcode Loterij. It analyses the deep roots of the 2012 Malian conflict and explores the consequences of this crisis on Sahel stability and international involvement in the region. Despite several initiatives (Algerian mediation, joint efforts by the international community), the situation on the ground remains highly tense and is now threatening the stability of the entire region.

For full access to The roots of Mali’s conflict  Moving beyond the 2012 crisis, kindly follow the link.


A Crisis of Confidence, Competence and Capacity: Programming Advice For Strengthening Mali’s Penal Chain

this report was researched and written on a tight timeline (mid-January to mid-May 2015), it focuses on the issues that emerged as the most salient ones in the course of the research. Moreover the various past and present efforts to improve the Malian justice system have  been examined in terms of the results they have achieved. In consequence, the report is best read as a panoramic snapshot of Mali’s ‘state of criminal justice’ at this particular point in time, nwhich it subsequently translates into general considerations and building blocks for programming efforts that seek to strength en Mali’s penal chain.

For full access to A Crisis of Confidence, Competence and Capacity: Programming Advice For Strengthening Mali’s Penal Chain, kindly follow the link.


European defence: action and commitment

This Policy Brief looks at how new relations can be set up between the key actors involved, how increased commitment by member states can be achieved and in which way financial incentives can be used while at the same time involving European defence industries.

To access the full policy brief European defence: action and commitment, kindly click on the link.


Supporting SSR in the DRC: between a Rock and a Hard Place. An Analysis of the Donor Approach to Supporting Security Sector Reform in the Democrati...

This paper is the result of a collaborative effort of researchers and former practitioners with experience in the DRC currently working for Clingendael – the Netherlands Institute for International Relations based in The Hague, the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s College London in the United Kingdom, the Institut français des relations internationales based in Paris, France, and the Institute for Security Studies, South Africa. Hans Hoebeke, Senior Researcher at Egmont, The Royal Institute for International Relations, Belgium was extensively consulted during the preparation of this paper.

The authors of this paper have drawn upon their professional experience in the DRC and/or ongoing analysis of developments there. This has included interviews, conducted both in country and at donor headquarter level, of political representatives and working-level practitioners of donor country and multilateral institutions, independent experts, Congolese civil servants across the justice, police and defence sectors as well as non-governmental organisation and civil society representatives.


The EU and Rule of Law Reform in Kosovo

This paper presents the findings of a case-study carried out in Kosovo in January 2010, which investigated the challenges and opportunities that the EU faces supporting the reform of the rule of law in that country. It also identified a number of tensions and challenges at both the design/planning stage and the implementation stage of SSR support, and pointed to a number of avenues for improvement.


From Entitlements to Power Structures

Security is experienced at the personal level, but it is often determined at the political level. The present report substantiates why needs analysis alone is inadequate for generating a good understanding of security in a particular community. It proposes a complementary approach to analysing community security that is more power-oriented. 

For full access to the report From Entitlements to Power Structures, kindly follow the link.


Under the microscope: Customary justice systems in northern Mali

The people of Mali use many types of justice mechanisms, both connected to and further disassociated from the state, to resolve their conflicts. This has led to the creation of a diverse justice ecology that includes both what are often described as ‘formal’ actors—such as state appointed lawyers and judges — and ‘customary’ actors — such as qadis, imans, village chiefs, family heads and elders. This report reveals heretofore undocumented information about the customary justice systems in northern Mali, which we gathered from 108 interviews across the regions of Gao, Mopti and Tombouctou.

For full access to Under the microscope: Customary justice systems in northern Mali, kindly follow the link. 


Obtenir justice dans un climat d’insécurité - Initiatives politiques de renforcement des systèmes coutumiers et d’atténuation des conflits dans le centre du Mali

L’insécurité dans le centre du Mali s’intensifie alors que les groupes armés radicaux luttent contre l’armée malienne et ses alliés internationaux afin de contrôler le territoire. Nichée derrière le conflit armé en cours, la région centrale de Mopti est également minée par les litiges fonciers et les droits contestés relatifs aux sites de pâturage et d’abreuvement.

La communauté internationale sous-estime la possibilité que ces litiges viennent alimenter le conflit plus généralisé et n’a par conséquent pas inscrit la médiation de ces conflits à l’ordre de ses priorités. Pourtant, comme le montre la présente note de politique, les litiges locaux relatifs aux ressources ne sont pas de simples affaires personnelles mais plutôt des facteurs déstabilisants pour des communautés entières. Ces griefs devraient par conséquent tenir une place plus importante en matière de résolution de la dynamique des conflits dans le centre du Mali.

Il est possible de réaliser cet objectif par le biais du renforcement des systèmes de justice coutumiers qui sont la principale, voire la seule, forme de justice accessible à la plupart des Maliens. Ces systèmes pourraient faire figure de point d’entrée dans l’atténuation de ces conflits en cours grâce à leur capacité de médiation des conflits locaux. La présente note de politique formule des recommandations pour redynamiser ces systèmes de justice qui pourraient contribuer efficacement à la diminution de la violence et au renforcement de la bonne gouvernance dans la région.

Afin d'accéder à l'article, Obtenir justice dans un climat d’insécurité - Initiatives politiques de renforcement des systèmes coutumiers et d’atténuation des conflits dans le centre du Mali, veuillez suivre ce lien.


Finding Justice Amidst insecurity: Initiatives to Strengthen Customary Justice Systems and Mitigate Conflicts in Central Mali

Insecurity in Central Mali intensifies as radical armed groups compete for territorial control against the Malian army and its international allies. Hidden behind the ongoing armed conflict, the central region of Mopti is also plagued by land disputes and contested grazing and watering rights. The potential of these disputes to feed into the broader conflict is underestimated by the international community, which has not prioritised mediating in these conflicts. YThis brief provides recommendations for the reinvigoration of these justice systems that could effectively contribute to the diminution of violence and strengthen good governance in the region.

For full access to Finding Justice Amidst insecurity: Initiatives to Strengthen Customary Justice Systems and Mitigate Conflicts in Central Mali, please follow the link. 


Burundi Blues: The Road to Violence & Back

This article presents an analysis of Burundi's protracted crisis and what the international community can do in response. Re-engagement with the moderate elements of Burundi's ruling party is the only way out for the moment.The international community’s diplomatic and developmental responses can be summarised as ‘too little, too late’. International understanding of both the political strategy and the internal divisions of the ruling party has been woefully inadequate. As a result, some international responses to the country's protracted crisis have not been adequately thought through, for example the EU's article 96 decision. The international community must urgently re-engage the ruling party and consider increased support for selected legislative, judicial and administrative institutions via international (civil society) organisations. The aim is to empower remaining moderate political forces in the country as much as possible.

For full access to the article on Burundi Blues: The Road to Violence & Back , please kindly follow the link. 


Turkey in the Horn of Africa

Turkey’s increasingly active and assertive foreign policy and growing footprint in the Horn of Africa (especially in Somalia and Sudan) is considered as a factor of both its own domestic drivers and strategic interests in the Horn region. As its economy has grown, Turkish foreign policy has become considerably more assertive and predicated on the ideology of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), shifting to a focus on the Middle East, particularly on Muslim Brotherhood-oriented Sunni sectarianism.

Meanwhile, economic and security developments in the Horn have raised the region’s relevance as a geostrategic location, leading to a proliferation of foreign military bases, frequently accompanied by soft-power approaches such as investments by foreign companies. Turkey’s
developmental and economic role in this context has generally been positively received. It is noted for its speed, efficiency and lighter political baggage, yet it is criticised for its bilateral isolationism and lack of oversight. Turkey’s shift to more ambitious geopolitical and heavy security roles has been met with caution as competition between Turkey and Qatar against the Gulf has heightened intra-Horn disputes and could be contributing to increased instability.

For full access to the brief, Turkey in the Horn of Africa, kindly follow the link. 


From the ‘Ordinary’ Method to the Transgovernmental Method Comparative Trends in EU Governance

Governance is not just about rules. In the end, it is about (access to) power, the influence of small versus big countries, transparency, accountability and, ultimately, trust. The Clingendael Institute observes in this new report, an emerging split between policy areas that are governed by the Community/Ordinary method such as more technical single market issues, and Transgovernmentalism, which is charaterised by a bigger role for Member states within the EU and less strategic role for the European Commisson. The consequence for the further development of defence policy is that it assumes development along the lines of transgovernmental governance, even though the European Commission and potentially other EU institutions might favour the “efficiency” of a single, Ordinary method, with a more focal role for the European Commission in the interinstitutional balance.

For full access to the report, From the 'Ordinary' Method to the Transgovernmental Method, kindly follow the link.


Rwanda 25 Years On: A Future in the Shadow of the Past

Between April and July 2019, Rwanda marked a quarter of a century since one of the most destructive genocides in recent memory nearly wiped out the country’s Tutsi Population. What path has Rwanda taken in attempts to rise from the horrors of genocide? What can we make of post-genocide governance and reconstruction politics over the last twenty-five years?

For full access to the analysis, Rwanda 25 Years On: A Future in the Shadow of the Past, kindly follow the link. 


The legitimacy of traditional authorities in areas of limited statehood in Mali, Niger and Libya

The border regions of Mali, Niger, and Libya are far out of reach of these states’ central governments. Local governance is usually in the hands of traditional authorities, such as tribal chiefs and imams. Yet the ever-increasing presence of armed groups, as well as ensuing external interventions, are putting the delicate balances of power in these areas under pressure.

Clingendael's Conflict Research Unit investigated how this has affected the relationship between traditional authorities, the state and local communities. Can traditional authorities maintain their position as legitimate governance providers? What can policy makers actually do to advance new approaches to stabilization and good governance in fragile and conflict affected settings, where state authority is weak or absent? And what role can traditional authorities play in these approaches?

To access the full report The legitimacy of traditional authorities in areas of limited statehood in Mali, Niger and Libya, please follow the link. 


Other Documents

Beyond dichotomy: recognising and reconciling legal pluralism in Mali

This report contends – and substantiates - that in the short-to-medium term better justice outcomes in Mali can only be achieved by stimulating greater mutual recognition of, and synergies between, the country’s customary and state judicial systems as more or less equal components of the country’s ‘justice ecology’.

Full report: Beyond dichotomy: recognising and reconciling legal pluralism in Mali 

Other Document

The Political Dynamics of Security in Fragile States

Whether it is in the slums of Nairobi, the port of Karachi, or the corridors of power in Bujumbura, in many fragile societies state security organisations serve the interest of ruling elites in maintaining political power or their own institutional interests. What they often provide little of is security for ordinary people.

Clingendael's Senior Research Fellow Erwin van Veen explores the critical links of the functional chain between the exercise of political power and the organisation of security in fragile societies.

This blog appeared first on the website of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDAI).

For full access to the blog about The political dynamics of security in fragile states, kindly follow the link. 

Other Document

Civilian Influence on Transitional SSR in North Africa (Expert Meeting Report)

On 11 November 2011, a group of country experts, practitioners, policy makers, analysts and security experts assembled at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, to exchange insights and build practical knowledge on the following topic: (How) Can non-state actors and civil society in Tunisia and Egypt address security (reform) in these transition contexts? This summary report is an attempt to share with the general public some salient points that came out of the day’s discussion. The content of this paper is based exclusively on the exchange of opinions and ideas of the individuals present that day.

Other Document

Mapping a way forward for Security Sector Reform

As Security Sector Reform (SSR) faces pressure to address new issues and threats, the moment is right to assess unresolved issues concerning both the concept and the practice of SSR. Four points stand out as essential to improving SSR initiatives.

First, SSR efforts require a more nuanced balance of support for state actors and their informal counterparts, to reflect more accurately the realities of security provision in different political contexts. Second, while continuing to strengthen security actors’ capacity, SSR’s original focus on governance and political analysis of the security sector needs to be more central to such efforts. Third, SSR programs must be longer in duration, more iterative in approach and less prescriptive in terms of expected outcomes. Lastly, as modern security threats come into sharper focus on the international community’s agenda, particularly threats posed by transnational organized crime and violent extremism, SSR must not fall into the trap of ‘solving security problems’ or becoming a quick-fix solution. Rather, it needs to be more carefully applied, in line with its original core tenets.

Other Document