Case Studies

Case studies provide excellent insight into the practical challenges of SSR initiatives and provide an opportunity to learn from those that have been successful, and not so successful.  They help us to see the patterns of good practice, when to apply different approaches and what pitfalls to avoid.  Please add your own case studies to help us build a rich repository of examples from real experience.

Fostering Political Will in Liberia and Timor-Leste

Development of national security strategy in Liberia stemmed from recognition that the security sector needed reform:  challenges in that sector’s governance had to be met, and there were specific issues such as the duplication of mandates between existing security institutions. The actual trigger was the organization by Liberia’s Governance Commission of a policy seminar in 2006 to address the need for more coordinated action in the area of SSR. The participants recognized that a clear strategy would have to rationalize the security sector and clarify the various needs and functions in an overarching framework. The government’s 150-day action plan in 2006 signalled commitment to devising a national security strategy, which was approved in 2008.

In the case of Timor-Leste, there had been references to the need for a national security policy in the national security framework adopted in 2003. However, impetus to move the policy forward developed only after the 2006 national security crisis, which brought to light major weaknesses within the sector. The Secretariat of State for Security was then tasked by the Minister of Defence and Security to develop the policy. However, changes in the government and shifting national priorities affected the political will required to develop the document, which resulted in the process stalling on several occasions. It was only the determination of the Secretariat of State for Security and the Office of the President that allowed the policy development to be revitalized with the creation of an informal national security policy core group. With UN support, this group spearheaded finalization of the draft, which was sent to the Council of Ministers for approval in early 2011.

Source found in: Security Sector Reform: Integrated Technical Guidance Notes , United Nations SSR Task Force, 2012.  p. 130.

Case Study

Raising the HIV Awareness of Uniformed Personnel in Sudan

In partnership with the UN DDR Unit, UNFPA, UNDP and the UN Mission in Sudan (UN 2010) supported DDR interventions to  address HIV, promote human development, and provide psychosocial support and reproductive health services. The Mission’s work involved close collaboration with the North and Southern Sudan DDR Commissions, the Sudan Armed Forces, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Sudan National AIDS Programme.

Activities included:

  • Vulnerability and capacity assessments of women associated with the armed forces.
  • Training demobilized ex-combatants, women associated with the armed forces and community members on HIV/sexual and reproductive health/gender-based violence through a trainer-training programme.
  • Implementing public information campaigns to raise awareness and sensitize receiving communities about HIV.
  • Developing referral networks with existing providers to ensure service coverage in receiving communities.
  • Supporting access to reproductive health services and STI testing and treatments.
  • Supporting access to voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for ex-combatants and women associated with the armed forces.
  • Training reintegration counsellors on HIV, sexual and reproductive health and gender- based violence.

Source found in: Security Sector Reform: Integrated Technical Guidance Notes , United Nations SSR Task Force, 2012. p 55.

Case Study

Liberia national dialogue on security sector reform, Monrovia, Liberia, 3–4 August 2005

In addition to historical contradictions and inadequacies, implementation of the 2003 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) has further exposed the need to address critical issues in Liberia’s security sector, in order to consolidate the gains of post-conflict reconstruction and to pave the way towards good governance. In view of the role played by ill-governed security institutions in the Liberian civil war, the success and sustainability of rebuilding Liberia will to a large extent depend on the extent to which the security sector is reformed to operate more efficiently and within a framework of effective democratic control. Within this context, a dialogue on SSR would help broaden the constituency of actors working to develop a collective vision of security in Liberia. Moreover, such a dialogue would facilitate the inclusion of debates around the security sector prior to elections, so as to sustain interest on the issue in a post-election reform agenda. Significantly, a dialogue on SSR would serve as a crucial step in bringing voice and accountability into the process of creating an inclusive, locally driven SSR process in Liberia.

Against this background, the Ministry of Justice of Liberia and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) convened a National Dialogue on Security Sector Reform, which was held in Monrovia 3-4 August 2005. The event was jointly facilitated and funded by the Conflict Security and Development Group (CSDG) of King’s College, University of London; the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Lagos, Nigeria; and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), Switzerland. The dialogue served as an avenue toward a structured but informal conversation on SSR among relevant stakeholders, including
the United Nations, the transitional legislature, the judiciary, civil society, relevant ministries, civil society, and organizations responsible for implementing reform.

The dialogue was guided by, and sought to provide answers to, the following interrelated

1. What kind of security (and security sector) does Liberia have?
2. What kind of security (and security sector) do Liberians want?
3. What are the necessary key steps for achieving the desired security?
4. Who are the critical actors for attaining such security?
5. How can a locally driven, inclusive and accountable security sector reform process be

Source: Source found in: Security Sector Reform: Integrated Technical Guidance Notes , United Nations SSR Task Force, 2012. pg 20.

Case Study

Overview Plan for Restoration of the Prison Civile de Port-au-Prince Haitian Prison Authority 1/27/2010* (Updated information 6/28/2012)

The purpose in January 2010 was to describe post-earthquake conditions at the Prison Civile de Port-au-Prince (PC), which was housing 4,367 prisoners at the time of a severe earthquake.  Prisoners rioted and breached the secure perimeter, escaping into the city at a time of crisis and disorder.  The facilities at the prison were so damaged that inmates could not be housed there until reconstruction occurred.  The central housing unit has been restored, and now houses 700 Haitian prisoners.  Humanitarian conditions are improved since the earthquake, but there are concerns for the sustainability of the changes.

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Promoting Local Ownership Through a Thematic Assessment in Guatemala's Justice Sector

In 2005, an intense national dialogue was taking place in Guatemala on the dramatic increase of homicides. Several donors tried to strengthen the National Civil Police’s and the Public Ministry’s capacity to investigate and prosecute homicide cases. There was a tremendous lack of knowledge regarding the weaknesses and strengths of the justice and security system in this area and there was no baseline to inform better programming.

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