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News Roundup: 3 February - 9 February By: SSR Resource Centre | SSR Weekly | Feb 10, 2014

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Southern Africa: Security Forces Among the Most Gender-Sensitive, SADC study reveals

Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, and Zimbabwe have been recognized by the South African Development Community for progress in women’s representation in the security sector. All four countries currently have at least 20 percent of all posts filled by women, according to recent research. –Ruth Butaumocho,

U.N. Congo peacekeepers question Rwandan rebel disarmament claim

On Tuesday senior members of a Rwandan Hutu rebel force operating in eastern Congo said that they had started to disarm, and that they were ready to begin negotiations with the Rwandan government in Kigali. However, UN peacekeepers in the area are saying they have seen no signs of disarmament. Chrispin Mvano, Chicago Tribune

Zimbabwe takes aim at corruption

Last year Zimbabwe was ranked 157 out of 175 countries on Transparency International’s global corruption index. Managers and directors from all corners of the public sector are “allegedly on the take,” receiving bribes and massive salaries while their companies are forced to lay off employees and default on their financial obligations. Officials from within the government itself are now leading calls for reform. –Gillian Gotora and Christopher Torchia,

New laws on judiciary due by ‘end of month’

Cambodia’s Ministry of Justice has stated that three long-awaited laws on the function of the country’s judiciary will now be ready by the end of this month. Work on these new laws has been ongoing since at least 2005. The laws will specify the organization and function of the court system, amend the Supreme Council of the Magistracy, and specify the status of judges and prosecutors. –Vong Sokheng, The Phnom Penh Post

EU offers to help Ukraine on justice, reforms

The EU has offered to assist Ukraine in achieving constitutional reform and bringing the perpetrators of the recent protest violence to justice. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton visited Kiev last week to discuss Ukraine’s current political crisis. Ashton spoke of a “broad ‘understanding’” that reforms should include both elements of the 2004 constitution and some changes. – The Bellingham Herald

Human rights group slams Iraq over treatment of women in prison

In a new report, Human Rights Watch says that women in Iraq are still detained illegally, and suffer human rights abuses while in custody, including rape and torture. The Iraqi government has previously promised to reform the country’s criminal justice system, although according to HRW there has been no sign of improvement. – Fatimah Waseem, Kansas City Star

Corruption, decision logjams slow India’s arms modernisation

India is in the midst of a $100 billion defense modernisation programme aimed at replacing its Soviet-era planes and tanks. However, bureaucratic logjams and corruption are slowing the pace of modernisation and creating spending constraints. Last month, a contract to purchase “luxury helicopters” for VIPs was cancelled amid corruption allegations. India’s defense ministry has also insisted on purchasing from local manufacturers, even though local industry remains “weak.” – Hindustan Times

Security Sector Reform Resource Centre

Vertically Integrated Peace Building and Community Violence Reduction in Haiti

The Centre for International Governance Innovation has published a paper by Professor Timothy Donais of Wilfred Laurier University, and Geoff Burt from the Centre for Security Governance. The paper examines gang-driven violence in the urban slums of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The paper makes a case for great coherence and coordination between bottom-up community violence reduction efforts and top-down police reform, based on a broader argument around the importance of “vertically integrated peace building.”


Profit trumps principle on Syria weapons black market

The surplus of small arms in Syria and the rising price of arms in neighbouring Lebanon is encouraging illegal arms trading between the two countries. In particular, Syrian soldiers and rebels are selling their surplus weapons. Weapons of all types are being sold, from handguns to machine guns, and small caliber mortars. –Nicholas Blanford, The Christian Science Monitor

Malawi’s criminal justice system is in need of urgent reform

The primary focus of international donors and development projects in Malawi is poverty reduction, although problems with the country’s criminal justice system are crippling, and are currently underemphasized. Citizens are regularly held without proper cause and wait months behind bars before trial. As a result, the country’s prisons are overcrowded. –Charlotte MacKenzie, The Guardian

Security in the Sahel: Part II – Militarisation of the Sahel

Part II of this two-part briefing focuses on the militarisation of the Sahel region following the French intervention in Mali last year. According to the briefing, while developing northern Mali is an important goal, international donors should also be focused on stabilizing Niger, where there is little presence outside urban areas, and Libya, where numerous armed groups must be disarmed and integrated in order to ensure security. – Richard Reeve, Oxford Research Group