Category: Uncategorized

About the Series

The Academic Spotlight blog series features recent research findings on security sector reform and security governance published in international relations academic journals. It provides a venue to promote discussion within the academic-policy nexus and develop opportunities to share and exchange on key SSR issues and themes. The blog posts published in this series summarize new research findings and build on recent developments on 2nd generation SSR and doing security & justice differently. They help shape the debates on security sector reform in fragile and conflict-affected countries and are a great way to maximize the impact of academic research and reach a wider policy community.

The Centre for Security Governance has developed partnerships with prominent academic journals, including Conflict, Security & Development, International Peacekeeping, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding and Stability: International Journal of Security & Development. As part of these partnerships, some of these articles are available for six months free and open access exclusively through links provided directly in the blog posts. This is an innovative way to promote and disseminate research findings!

Philippines’ Security Sector and the War on Drugs

Although the Republic of the Philippines is not generally recognised as a violent or fragile state, since ex-Davao mayor Rodrigo Duterte was elected President on 30 June 2016, the country has been regularly making the headlines. CSG Senior Fellow Alix Valenti explains why Duterte’s war on drugs has proved to be particularly bloody.

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Mark Sedra

Mark Sedra Senior Fellow The co-founder of the Centre for Security Governance, Mark is currently...

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A New Leader in International Support to Security Sector Reform: Exploring the Experience and Potential Role of Japan

Few countries have undergone security sector reform more profoundly than Japan after World War II, yet Japan has not been a leading voice in this field, despite a foreign policy centered on human security and institution building. A new international SSR assistance platform would enable Japan to support enhanced governance, oversight, and professionalism of the security sectors of fragile states while further raising its profile in UN peacekeeping and the sustaining peace agenda.

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Publication Announcement

The Centre for Security Governance (CSG) is pleased to announce the publication of a new CSG Paper by CSG Senior Fellow Sarah Dewhurst and Lindsey Greising. It is the second of two papers on Timor-Leste and the product of a wider series of papers that has come out of a multi-year research project.

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Publication Announcement

The CSG is pleased to announce the publication of a new CSG Paper by CSG Fellow Ibrahim Bangura. It is the second of two papers on Sierra Leone and the product of a wider series of papers that has come out of a multi-year research project.

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Publication Announcement

The CSG is pleased to announce the publication of a new CSG Paper by CSG Fellow Gaëlle Rivard Piché. It is the second of two papers on El Salvador and the product of a wider series of papers that has come out of a multi-year research project.

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Publication Announcement

The CSG is pleased to announce the publication of a new CSG Paper by CSG Fellow Branka Marijan. It is the second of two papers on Bosnia-Herzegovina and the product of a wider series of papers that has come out of a multi-year research project

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Crimes of the Powerful in Conflict-Affected Environments: False Positives, Transitional Justice and the Prospects for Peace in Colombia

This post examines the recent false positives scandal in Colombia, which involved the arbitrary execution of thousands of poor, marginalised civilians, by Army personnel. It is argued that peacebuilding efforts will be unsuccessful without addressing impunity, deficiencies in the security sector, and socio-economic inequalities which led to these crimes.

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Mainstreaming Gender Sensitive Police Reform

This article delves into the ever-evolving field of gender security sector reform, in order to uncover its shortcomings and subsequently provide novel to the discipline. It argues that practices within the field of gender sensitive police reform display radical alternatives to overcome SSR’s issues, specifically through its focus on ‘gender-mainstreaming’ as a transformative approach to reform.

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Police Reform in Kosovo and Bosnia: The power of local legitimacy unpacked

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.

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The Malian Crisis: A Crisis in the Making

Part one of three on the CSG’s Special Series from Senior Fellow David Law which provides a security sector perspective on the ongoing crisis in Mali and focuses on stabilization and security sector reform challenges to address in this context.

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The Malian Crisis: A Security Sector Perspective

The Centre for Security Governance (CSG) is pleased to present a new three-part blog contribution from CSG Senior Fellow David Law which provides a security sector perspective on the ongoing crisis in Mali and focuses on stabilization and security sector reform challenges to address in this context.

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Ethiopia: Sliding further away from democracy

This article analyzes the impact on democracy and governance of the protests and the state of emergency in Ethiopia declared by the government. The author argues that, although messy, and perhaps disruptive to Ethiopia’s economic progress, what is needed is genuine democratic dialogue to solve this crisis.

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Injustice and (In)Security: Public perceptions of Nigeria and Kenya’s security forces and their implications for the fight against violent extremism

Using evidence from Afrobarometer surveys, the authors analyze public perceptions of security in Nigeria and Kenya and the implications this has on countering violent extremism. They focus on issues of public trust in security forces, corruption and the success and failure of security-led approaches vs development-oriented approaches to violence and violent extremism.

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Police Reform in Iraq: Challenges and Lessons Learned (Part 1)

CSG’s Antoine Vandemoortele interviews Sr. Fellow Paul Biddle, Strategic Police Advisor to the UK Embassy in Baghdad, the Coalition Joint Task Force Operation “Inherent Resolve” and the Governor of Anbar in Iraq between February and May 2016. Part 1 discusses Biddle’s role as Strategic Police Advisor as well as the context and key challenges of police reform in Anbar province.

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The Haitian National Police and the Governance Crisis in Haiti

The highly-contested character of Haiti’s national elections in 2015 and the larger governance crisis that endures today, have sharpened debates about the role of the Haitian National Police and its development in recent years. The authors offer a careful, nuanced assessment of uneven HNP progress in five areas.

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Canada, Peace Operations & SSR

A new blog series which explores the security sector reform (SSR) dimension of Canada’s planned re-engagement with peacekeeping and peace operations in Africa. This four-part series focuses on the main options being speculated upon for troop deployment: Mali, the Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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Police Reform in Iraq: Challenges and Lessons Learned (Part 2)

CSG’s Antoine Vandemoortele continues the interview with Paul Biddle, Strategic Police Advisor to the UK Embassy in Baghdad, the Coalition Joint Task Force Operation “Inherent Resolve” and the Governor of Anbar in Iraq between February and May 2016. Part II addresses issues of lessons learned and future areas of work to create a sustainable policing model in Anbar province.

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The Battle for Haiti’s Security Is Largely Political

In this blog post originally published on the IPI Global Observatory, Geoff Burt, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Security Governance, analyzes the political challenges Haiti faces in its attempt to address key security governance issues, including paramilitary action, gang violence and the reinstatement of the Haitian armed forces.

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Security Sector Reform in Patrimonial and Low-capacity States

SSR has become a key component of international donors’ efforts to improve security in conflict-affected and developing states. Its success, however, has been limited because program designers rarely fully comprehend, how developing countries’ security sectors actually function. How then can we better understand the impact of neo-patrimonial practiceson developing countries’ security sector?

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Deportation, Circular Migration & Organized Crime

In July 2015, the Security Governance Group began a study entitled “Deportation, Circular Migration and Organized Crime,” with case studies in Honduras and Jamaica. The research examines the impact of criminal deportation on organized crime in Canada and the selected case study countries. The project is funded by Public Safety Canada.

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Is a homegrown security sector reform possible?

This article seeks to examine the determinants of security sector reform outcomes in post-conflict countries and assess the potential of the ‘infrastructures for peace’ framework in restructuring the security sector. It argues that security restructuring is less viable merely with informal architectures and that creating multi-layered infrastructures is essential.

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Does SSR improve security in developing countries?

Many millions have been spent trying to reform the security sector in developing countries. But have these investments paid off? Are security actors more accountable, responsive and able to deliver for their communities? Perhaps most importantly, are people safer as a result?

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Security Sector Reform & Hybrid Security Governance In Africa

Prevailing approaches to security sector reform (SSR) have tended to stress Westphalian notions of the state characterized by legal-rational norms and institutions. Thus, SSR processes concentrated on the formal arrangements of the state and its security and justice institutions. Yet, such approaches are fundamentally at variance with the underlying realities of the African context, where many political and social transactions take place in the context of informal norms and systems.

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Recycling Rebels? Demobilization in the Congo

Publication summary on a new report by Christoph Vogel and Josaphat Usamba on the Rift Valley Institute. The report offers a useful overview of past and current demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR) programs initiated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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Measuring Security: Homicide as an Indicator of State Capacity In Oil-Producing States

How do you measure security? Measuring security is a challenging concept due to a variety of factors such as a lack of good data, difficulty in operationalizing complicated social issues, and the specific aspects to focus on are just a few examples. In an effort to unravel and test some of the available sources that may (or may not) lead to better insights into police and, more broadly, state governance performance, a colleague and I began an initial examination of the validity of homicide rates as an indicator of state security. Africa, with its range of states, allows for a deeper exploration within each national context.

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The Political Dynamics of Security in Fragile States

In many fragile societies state security organizations 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. This depressing situation is the result of a complex mix of factors including legacies of violence, underdeveloped institutions, personalized rule, profit-​making opportunities in settings of low growth, and high inequality, as well as high levels of political factionalism.

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Women’s Participation in Communal Justice in Rural Bangladesh

In many developing countries women continue to be marginalized and discriminated, which has propelled the issue of women empowerment into a key component of development policy interventions. However, there exists a lack of analysis on the issue of women’s leadership, particularly on whether women have any influence once in a position of leadership.

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Prospects for Peace & Security in Myanmar

Is DDR the appropriate tool, program, policy and/or approach for durable conflict mediation and peacebuilding in Myanmar? This article builds on a previous article by Helena Gronberg on the DDR dilemma facing Myanmar

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Is the time ripe for DDR in Myanmar?

In late 2015 a nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) was signed between the government of Myanmar and eight of the 15 rebel groups active in the country. Although seven armed groups (including the largest insurgent forces) refused to sign the NCA, the ceasefire was a welcomed step in the current peace process. The process was launched by the civilian government that came to power in 2011 following decades of military rule, and is the first, since 1963, to invite all armed groups to participate.

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Innovative Approaches to Security and Justice Programming

The Overseas Development Insitute (ODI) hosted a series of seminars to discuss key conceptual and practical issues related to security and justice programming. The series was held in 2014 and 2015 and hosted international experts on several security related issues. The events promoted debates and knowledge sharing that aim to increase the practice and the programming in the security sector.

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Law Enforcement and Perverse Effects: The Evolution of the Central American Maras

Crime and law enforcement are often entwined in a co-evolutionary process by which the actions of one prompt behavioral changes by the other that demand new strategies from the initial actor. While this dynamic is often recognized and anticipated by both law enforcement and criminal groups, it frequently yields perverse effects – unintended (and generally unforeseen) outcomes that exacerbate the very issue they were deployed to remedy (or create new problems). The evolution of the Central American youth gangs known as the maras provides a highly informative example of this phenomenon.

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Local and External Perceptions of Security Sector Reform in Guinea-Bissau

For almost ten years, the small West African country of Guinea-Bissau has been subject to security sector reform as part of international peacebuilding interventions. Since gaining independence in 1973-74, the former Portuguese colony has been characterized by political instability, coups d’état, military overthrow attempts, and the interference of military factions within politics.

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Haiti and the Democracy-Public Security Interface

If the ability to hold credible, peaceful elections is a key litmus test of a country’s progress towards democratic consolidation, the latest evidence from Haiti is far from encouraging. The electoral cycle that began in August 2015 – following months of delays and governance by presidential decree – was meant to renew Haiti’s democratic institutions, but has instead plunged the country back into political crisis.

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Community Security in Kenya’s Frontiers

Saferworld’s new report, “Matching needs with resources: National Police Reserve and community security in Kenya’s frontiers,” provides a useful overview of the significance of local security provision in fragile and conflict-affected countries while highlighting key challenges to effective security governance. This report provides lessons learned and good practices that are not only useful for Kenya, but can be used to design and implement better local security and justice initiatives elsewhere.

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Theorizing corruption in the Afghan judicial sector

The purpose of this blog is to identify and analyze the dynamics of corruption at its systemic roots that has led to forms of state capture, low pay resulting in petty forms of corruption and issues with training within the Afghan judicial sector. The paper relies on 70 semi-structured interviews conducted predominantly in Kabul with judicial reform and human rights organizations, rights-based and gender empowerment non-governmental organizations and civil society watchdogs.

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New SSR Resource – Defence Resource Management Course

A one-week Defence Resource Management Course funded by the Directorate of Military Training and Cooperation (Canada’s Department of National Defence) was developed for the Ukraine National Defence University in Kiev. First taught in February 2015 by an experienced team of senior Canadian military officers, and again in November, the course is organized around four inter-related themes illustrating the integrated and corporate nature of defence management at the strategic level.

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Backgrounder – Security sector reform, professionalization and the shift to external defense in the Philippines

After decades of preoccupation with internal stability, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is shifting its focus to external defense as a response to the developing situation in the South Chine Sea. This backgrounder offers a brief history of professionalization in the Philippines and discusses its importance in the AFP’s shift to external defense.

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Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration: Does ownership actually matter?

The outcomes of programs for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) are affected by the way in which they are implemented. More participatory approaches, where ex-combatants feel they have had more say and greater ownership, lead to better results. This is important for how DDR can contribute to the wider peace process and to peacebuilding itself. Establishing trust during DDR is significant for political reconstruction.

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Backgrounder – Security Sector Reform in Kazakhstan

With the notable exception of Afghanistan, the region of Central Asia has historically been underrepresented by the security sector reform (SSR) field. The record of SSR in Central Asia shows that reforms in limited parliamentary democracies face a different set of challenges and opportunities than SSR programs in fragile and conflict-affected states. The experiences of restrained reform in the region are nonetheless instructive.

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Developing Capacity through Ukraine’s Building Integrity Training and Educational Centre

The National Defence University of Ukraine (NDU) is contributing to change in defence within Ukraine. One noteworthy initiative is the Building Integrity Training and Education Centre (BITEC) established within the structure of the university in September 2014. BITEC personnel receive training outside Ukraine through Transparency International and in coordination with national Western military organizations, as well as NATO.

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Ukraine’s Updated Security Sector Laws: What promise do these laws hold?

Multiple potholes dot Ukraine’s road to a more accountable and liberal political regime: its 12% decline in GDP this year; the military stalemate in the east and the de facto loss of Crimea; and, of course, entrenched political malaise and corruption. It is within this challenging environment that crucial political and security reforms are taking place, which rely to a large degree on internal reformers and external assistance.

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Who’s afraid of plural security? New research on security provision beyond the state

Security in fragile and conflict-affected contexts is provided by a multitude of actors, with varying relationships to the state (plural security provision). An October 2015 knowledge event offered academics, practitioners and policymakers a platform to present and dialogue around empirical cases of plural security provision at city level, focusing on how state and international development actors can engage with plural actors in ways that contribute to strengthening citizen security.

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The Afghan National Police: A study on corruption and clientelism

This blog identifies the underlying conditions of the Afghan state from the outset of the late 2001 Bonn political arrangement that has resulted in deep-rooted corrupt clientelistic networks within the Afghan government. This has trickled to the majority of the ministries including the Interior Ministry. Corruption is systemic and hard to combat despite police reform. This is due to the nature of four interrelated explanations of corruption that are subsequently covered.

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Targeted UN Sanctions in South Sudan a Threat to Peace

By voicing concern, Russia and Angola delayed a further round of targeted sanctions against South Sudanese leaders proposed by the UN Security Council. Many have explained this action as part of the growing geopolitical competition between Russia and the West. And while such may be the case, the timing of these sanctions is dangerous for peace and has an inherently problematic dynamic.

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Cameroon’s double-edged sword: Civil-military relations and the development of a new social contract

The fight against Boko-Haram, is transforming the identity of Cameroon’s army as well as the way it is perceived by its citizens. Cameroonians are mobilizing like never before around their army. The transformation is giving rise to an emerging ‘social contract’, with likely profound impact for security and the exercise of legitimate civilian control by the executive over the military.

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Patrolling Luhansk – The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

Paul Biddle served as a UK secondee to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Luhansk (Lugansk) field office from April 2014-March 2015. He was over various times security, military and police focal point, operations officer, patrol leader and patrol hub leader. In this blog post, he shares his analysis and experience of the situation in Ukraine.

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Police Reform in Kenya: Challenges and opportunities

In this contribution, Annie Mageka analyzes the police reform process in Kenya and discusses recommendations to improve the state of policing in Kenya with local stakeholders. This article provide an excellent summary of over a decade of police reform in Kenya, it also provides on-the-ground reporting, empirical evidence and key insights on the future of the Kenya Police.

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The business of (dis)organised crime in South Africa

The concept of organised crime often evokes images of mafia-like figures and secret societies involved in acts like drug trafficking and murder. In reality, however, the organised criminal economy is mostly sustained by unsophisticated and ad hoc criminal networks, along with corrupt relationships. Sophisticated and structured criminal groups do exist, but these are not the only form of organised criminality.

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The domestic consequences of SSR: Real-world effects beyond external perspectives

Local ownership has always been central to the theory of security sector reform (SSR) in post-conflict contexts – practically every policy concept in circulation among bilateral donors or multilateral institutions makes local ownership of the reform agenda a sine qua non for external support to SSR. But these calls for local ownership echo hollow against the underwhelming results and unintended consequences of external support to SSR across a growing universe of cases.

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The Unity State Factor and the South Sudan Peace Agreement

On August 26th, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan reluctantly signed a peace deal that would end nearly 20 months of fighting between government troops and rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – in-opposition (SPLM-IO). Nine days earlier on August 17th, at a ceremony in Ethiopia, Kiir had refused to sign the agreement, although Riek Machar, head of the SPLM-IO and other political entities signed the deal.

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A sub-national approach to statebuilding and security: the role of municipal institutions in Colombia’s DDR process

The Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) process in Colombia was built nationally, but it was consolidated at the sub-national level. The Mayoral Offices of Bogota and Medellin developed programmes for the reintegration of ex-combatants that played a crucial role in both sustaining and contesting the national policy of reintegration. Analyzing these policies contributes to the understanding of the role that municipal authorities play in underpinning and redefining the DDR national policies.

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