Workshop: Police Reform and Development in Libya

05/08/2013 - 01/10/2013

Target country

Reforming and developing the police in a society emerging from conflict and dictatorship is a complex undertaking. Such a process cannot be limited to restructuring the institution but also needs to understand the role of the police in a democracy, as defined by its relationships with the people and its interactions with other security, justice and oversight actors. This workshop proposes to approach this challenge in a three-stage process:

In the first stage, general principles and standards of police reform in transitional settings will be presented and discussed by Libyan and international policing experts. This stage will not just focus on what police should be built (the principles of democratic policing) but also on how it can be built (the process of police reform). Particular emphasis will be put on the SSR context of police reform.

In the second stage, practitioners who participated in major police reform processes in transitional countries will share their experiences and identify key lessons learned in the course of this process. Potential case studies include South Africa and Northern Ireland.

On the basis of these first two stages, the workshop participants will identify in the third stage the main issues that need to be addressed in police reform in Libya and determine the key steps of the police reform process.

Participants: senior Ministry of Interior officials, senior representatives of other security institutions and groups that are involved in providing public safety, representatives of relevant parliamentary committees, civil society representatives. The total number should not go beyond 25-30 participants.

Time,duration and location: Week of 23 to 26 September 2013. Duration of 2 days, with six sessions of 1.5 hours. All substantive sessions should be interactive and provide plenty of time for debate. Venue in Tripoli, to be identified.

Mandating organisation / agency / department / ministry

Target organisation type(s)

Mandate outputs / products

A workshop summary will be prepared that includes recommendations on the next steps in reforming and developing the Libyan Police Service and outlines a follow-up process to implement the recommendations.

Outcome objectives of mandate

The workshop aims at identifying key recommendations for the police reform and development in Libya.  It also aims at familiarizing Libyan stakeholders with lessons learned from other post-conflict and transitional settings and building their capacity in international principles and best practices in police reform and development processes.

Start date


End date



Specific Lessons Identified


  • The workshop was temporarily cancelled less than one week before the scheduled date, resulting in the loss of one presenter.
  • Dealing with UN administration is a nightmare. I am still to be paid for work I did in June, prior to this mission, and certainly not for this mission.
  • UN pay is bad leading to discrepancies with consultants being paid by ISSAT.
  • Team responsibilities unclear. What is the role of a UN-paid consultant vis-à-vis ISSAT-provided team members?


  • Shared payment means shared responsibilities.
  • Being paid by the UN means being part of the UN.


  • Clarify roles and responsibilities.
  • ISSAT to overcome pay discrepancies



  • There was insufficient ownership by the Ministry resulting in them not taking responsibility and not showing up. Non-state actors were entirely missing.
  • Unclear what follow-up action was taken and how the process continues. There is lack of communication from UNSMIL on follow-up and next steps. 



  • EU contributions were counterproductive.


  • More efforts before the workshop might have been necessary to bring the EU on board.


  • Presentations

    These are the English and Arabic translations delivered at the workshop.