Effective peacebuilding in the aftermath of civil war usually requires the drastic reform of security institutions, a process frequently known as security sector reform. Nearly every major donor, as well as a growing number of international organizations, supports the reform of security organizations in countries emerging from conflict and suffering high levels of violence. But how are reform strategies implemented? This collection of case studies (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Timor-Leste, Mozambique, Serbia, Colombia, Uruguay, Peru, Jamaica) examines the strategies, methods, and practices of the policymakers and practitioners engaged in security sector reform, uncovering the profound conceptual and practical challenges encountered in transforming policy aspiration into practice.
Post-conflict governments and donors prioritize rebuilding the justice sector through state delivered rule of law and access to justice programmes. Misunderstanding the nature of the post-colonial state, such programmes make questionable assumptions. First, that a lack of access to state justice is the same as an overall absence of justice. Second, that the state system that is being built is what people want. Third, that the state system of justice that is being built could provide a sustainable nationwide network in the foreseeable future. Based on interviews conducted with policy designers, practitioners, local people and chiefs at three sites in southern Sudan 2007, this article calls for a rethinking of donor-supported justice and police development and advocates an approach that recognizes the importance of local justice.
This paper examines the value of an alternative approach to SSR policy, namely a multi-layered one in post-conflict and fragile state environments. It begins by arguing that there is a state-centric bias in current SSR policy and practice. This contradicts development principles of a ‘people-centred, locally owned’ approach in post-conflict and fragile state contexts. The SSR’s state-centric approach rests upon two fallacies: that the post-conflict and fragile state is capable of delivering justice and security; and that it is the main actor in security and justice. The paper goes on to present the outline of a multi-layered strategy. This addresses the issue of who is actually providing justice and security in post-conflict and fragile states. The paper continues by describing the accountability mechanisms that could be pursued by SSR programmes in support of this approach. The conclusion is that the advantage of the multi-layered approach is that it is based not on the state’s capacity, but on the quality and efficacy of the services received by the end user, regardless of who delivers that service.