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News Roundup: 14 December - 20 December 2015 By: Antoine Vandemoortele | SSR | Dec 21, 2015

Want to keep up to date on the SSR field? Once a week, the CSG’s Security Sector Reform Resource Centre project posts pertinent news articles, reports, projects, and event updates on SSR over the past week. Click here to sign-up and have the SSR Weekly News Roundup delivered straight to your inbox every week!

SSR Resource Centre

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

New SSR Backgrounder! - 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. In its 2011-2016 National Security Plan, the Aquino government committed to reforming the Philippine security sector and bolstering the capability of the AFP through security sector reform, which has three elements: capacity building, military professionalization, and the engagement of other security actors. Through Aquino’s year in office, modest additions to military equipment were made. However, improvements in other areas such as professionalization remain questionable. This backgrounder offers a brief history of professionalization in the Philippines and discusses its importance in the AFP’s shift to external defense.

Security Sector Reform and the Paradoxical Tension between Local Ownership and Gender Equality

Based on research published in Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, this Academic Spotlight blog contribution analyzes the tension that can exist between the principles of local ownership and gender equality that guide Security Sector Reform (SSR) programmes when gender discrimination and patriarchal values characterize the local environment.

Centre for Security Governance

New Publication - Police Reform in Kenya: Challenges and opportunities (CSG Insight No. 9)

This blog post by Annie Mageka, CSG Blog Correspondent (Kenya), is the first contribution on our blog to feature analysis by local researchers and journalists as part of our new Blog Correspondent series. 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 she interviewed.  It has been republished here as part of the CSG Insights series.

This publication provides an excellent summary of over a decade of police reform in Kenya, as well as on-the-ground reporting, empirical evidence and key insights on the future of the Kenya Police.



FARC, government and victims present deal on victims

The Colombian government and FARC rebels reached a historic deal on victims, including parts focused on a truth commission, victim reparation measures, and punishment for war criminals. Two separate tribunals will be established alongside a truth commission with no punitive authority. - Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports

Police reforms crucial for strengthening rule of law

During the second meeting of Pakistan’s Parliamentary Caucus on Rule of Law, lawmakers highlighted challenges to effective policing and put forward recommendations for reforms. Among the challenges is the current ratio of police officers to citizens, which is unsatisfactory, compared to standards set by the United Nations. - Daily Times

Criminal Groups Infiltrated El Salvador Security Forces: Official

The El Salvadoran government has stated that the infiltration of criminal groups into its security forces is a serious and ongoing threat. The army has detected 100 cases of people affiliated with criminal groups entering, or attempting to enter, the armed forces, while the National Civil Police has found more than 200 attempted cases. - Elijah Stevens, Insight Crime

Bloody Sunday: former paras win battle against questioning in Northern Ireland

Ex-paratroopers waiting to be questioned by detectives for their part in the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings have won the right for their interviews to be held in England or Wales. Some representatives in Northern Ireland have voiced concerns that the decision does not inspire confidence in the judiciary. - Owen Bowcott, The Guardian

SIPA Skirts Ban on Work in Bosnian Serb Entity

Although the government of Republika Srpska has halted cooperation with the State Investigation and Protection Agency, agents are still conducting operations in the entity. Authorities also announced that they planned to reverse course and sign a new agreement to reactivate cooperation with SIPA. - Rodolfo Toe, Balkan Insight

Serbian Security Chiefs’ Retrial ‘A Chance for Justice’

The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia ruled that there were serious legal and factual errors when the UN court acquitted the former chief and another former official of the Serbian State Security Service of war crimes. They are alleged to have controlled the most notorious Serbian combat units during the Balkan wars. - Denis Dzidic and Sven Milekic, Balkan Insight

NATO, Ukraine officials sign defense cooperation agreement

NATO and Ukrainian officials signed an agreement outlining a roadmap to modernize the country’s defense industry and capabilities. The roadmap of priorities include improving Ukraine’s armed forces, cooperation in standardization and codification, and enhancing the country’s defense industry. - Ryan Maass, United Press International



A Military Contribution to the Prevention of Violent Conflict: Paradox or Opportunity?

In a blog post following up on the Understand to Prevent initiative, the author looks at how the project aims to consolidate post-crisis peacekeeping efforts and provide new opportunities for a military contribution to the prevention of violent conflict. Reaching an understanding of the conflict environment requires winning the trust of civil society organizations. - Gizem Kilinc, Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law

A civic awakening in Guatemala

In this contribution, the author discusses the strides made in Guatemala in efforts to combat corruption. The UN-sponsored commission against impunity has functioned within the domestic justice system with a degree of independence, and has helped to train national prosecutors and police. - Mary Speck, Miami Herald

U,S. Enthusiasm for Security Cooperation Needs to be Tempered and Realistic

The author argues that the United States should temper its enthusiasm for security assistance programs, and be realistic about what those programs can and cannot do. He asserts that the U.S. cannot force other militaries to be professional if they do not want to be. - Christopher Fettweis, Security Assistance Monitor

Afghan Province, Teetering to the Taliban, Draws in Extra U.S. Forces

American Special Operations forces have taken a more central role in the fighting to save crucial areas of Helmand Province from falling to the Taliban. The author cites sources in the province who have observed the police units as understaffed and evidence of widespread selling of weapons and military equipment on the black market. - David Jolly and Taimoor Shah, The New York Times

Desertions Slow Progress of Afghan Air Force Training in U.S.

In this piece, the author highlights the chronic problem with desertions among the Afghan airmen sent to the United States for training. The air force in Afghanistan is lagging behind other branches of the military as it did not start on development until 2007 and the process has been plagued with missteps. - Mujib Mashal, The New York Times

The Gang Challenge in El Salvador: Worse Than You Thought

The author discusses gang violence in El Salvador and draws upon insight from Salvadoran security experts. The country’s police are often not trusted or respected by the population to protect them, while the military lacks the budget and statutory authority to maintain a permanent presence throughout the country. - R. Evan Ellis, War on the Rocks

Why the Arab Spring Has Not Led to Disaster in Tunisia

In this article, the author discusses Tunisia’s political transition and the reforms that still need to be implemented. One of the critical tasks facing the country is accountability and reform for the security forces after years of abuses, and the Truth and Dignity Commission is still sorting through thousands of rights violations. - Jared Malsin, Time

Graft in Indonesia: Hard to Kill

The author looks at the lack of progress that has been made in Indonesia’s defense sector since the start of Joko Widodo’s presidency and his promise to tackle the country’s corruption problem. Small amounts of progress have been seen in the introduction of anti-corruption training and moves towards a gratification management system to prevent bribery. - Scott Edwards, Khmer Times

An Agenda for Ouattara’s Second Term

In this opinion piece, the author argues that dismantling the culture of impunity that fuels human rights abuses in Cote d’Ivoire should be at the top of President Ouattara’s agenda. While donors have invested millions of dollars in the justice system, little has been done to push the government to address the problems of corrupt judges and executive interference in the judiciary. - Jim Wormington, Human Rights Watch



Squaring Colombia’s Circle: The Objective of Punishment and the Pursuit of Peace

This paper weighs the possible modes and competing policy objectives of punishing FARC members for serious crimes in the context of Colombia’s ongoing peace negotiations. It argues that punishment has to occur in a way that does not damage one of the underlying objectives of the peace process, transforming the FARC from an insurgent group into a political actor. - Paul Seils, International Center for Transitional Justice

Community Policing in Skopje – From Idea to Reality

This policy paper evaluates the functionality of the community policing model in Macedonia’s capital Skopje by analyzing the structure and the set-up of the community policing practice in the municipalities of Aerodrom, Cair and Gjorce Petrov. Incorporating views from the ground, the paper endeavors to determine the scale to which the community policing model is developed. - Kaltrina Selimi and Andreja Bogdanovski, Analytica

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