SCID Symposium 2014

2014 SCID Symposium – Building Security and Justice in Post-Conflict Environments

SCID Symposium 2014 Group ShotOn 13 March 2014, the Department of Criminology hosted the first – of what will be an annual – Security, Conflict and International Development (SCID) Symposium. Ten members of the newly-established SCID Panel of Experts gave presentations on the theme of the Symposium – building security and justice in post-conflict environments.

The broad range of papers addressed issues concerning stabilisation, statebuilding, holistic security, Security Sector Reform, policing in post-conflict environments, transitional justice, community-based dispute resolution, and the value of conflict assessments. Papers were given by leading international experts on issues related to building security and justice after conflict. Presenters included former diplomats, retired senior police chiefs and military officers, government advisers, senior members of the legal profession, and senior officials in the UN system.

The event was an enormous success. The quality of the presentations was outstanding and it was an incredible opportunity to be able to listen to and discuss the insightful observations of leading international experts who have extensive first-hand experience of the issues being discussed. It was also great to meet those working and studying in this field, which is often particularly cherished by those involved in distance learning and those working in remote or isolated areas. In addition to exposing students to the views of leading experts in the field, it was intended that the Symposium help contribute to bridging the gap that can often exist between academia and the field, and thus better respond to the challenges in building peace; draw attention to some of the key issues involved in building security and justice after conflict; further equip students with the skills and knowledge required for a career in this field; and provide a networking opportunity.

Further to the realisation of these aims, through the delivery of the outstanding papers, the Symposium also highlighted some common themes, challenges and lessons learnt in building security and justice after conflict. Many papers addressed the importance of local engagement in efforts to rebuild security and justice after conflict if these and broader peacebuilding efforts are to be successful. Likewise, the importance of context-specificity and reflection was emphasised, in contrast to what often happens in the field with the application of pre-determined models and approaches. Whit Mason, for example, argued brilliantly that we need to think more about how societies work, and the principles upon which they are based, if peacebuilding efforts are to be more effective. This may lead us to the conclusion that the methods of intervention usually used aren’t necessarily the most effective and, indeed, that ‘outsiders can’t supply what’s needed to bring peace’. This linked with the recurring theme throughout the Symposium of the exercise of power and the potential harm associated with external interventions in conflict and post-conflict environments. It also resonated with the comment made by Phil Wilkinson and echoed by others throughout the day that indigenous solutions are required for indigenous problems.

Being attentive to the use of power and control was first introduced in the two excellent opening papers by Malcolm Russell (stabilisation) and Phil Wilkinson (holistic security), which also introduced the recurring themes of the value of holistic approaches to building peace and security; the need to be attentive to language and – if possible – have a shared understanding of core concepts in order to have a shared approach; and the difficulties in co-ordination, particularly where national interests conflict with mutual endeavours. The importance of engaging with community-based approaches to building security and justice after conflict was also underscored by the brilliant papers by Tony Welch (Security Sector Management), Fraser Hirst (community-based dispute resolution) and Matthew Waterfield (conflict assessments), among others. The importance of engaging with those at the community-level was emphasised if effective and sustainable solutions to conflict and insecurity are sought, while too often local engagement is reduced to consultation with state-level leaders. A related message was the importance of being responsive to the context (and the changing context), which means being flexible, adaptable and reflective in approach. Excellent papers on the value of international criminal justice (John Cubbon) and policing (Chris Sharwood-Smith and Mo Poole) highlighted the complexity of the challenges of rebuilding security and justice after conflict and current developments in the field of transitional justice, in the UN Police Division and in police reform within post-conflict environments. The final paper by Keith Sargent (governance and corruption) tied together many of the recurring themes of the day, emphasising the importance of co-ordination and coherence of efforts, as well as superbly highlighting the conflict-related risks associated with corruption.

Every paper was outstanding and, I believe, resonated with one of the key messages delivered by Matthew Waterfield in his presentation: many people are suffering from the effects of conflict and ‘it is up to us to respond to those challenges in innovative and creative ways’. Discussions after the Symposium, including, I hope, on this Blog, will continue to consider these challenges and the ways in which they can be most effectively addressed.

Below are the audio versions of the presentations and the PowerPoint presentations, where relevant (soon to be accompanied by videos of the presentations). I hope this will enable some of the fascinating discussions to continue and involve other SCID students and Panel of Expert members. Audio and video recordings of the presentations will also be uploaded to the Course platforms (iPad and Blackboard). The Critical Reader will also soon be published, which contains the written papers of the Symposium presentations.

Thanks again to everyone who attended and contributed to the Symposium and made it such a wonderful success and such an enjoyable occasion. Next year’s Symposium will be on the theme of researching and working in conflict-affected environments, so I hope to see many of you then – if not before.

2014 SCID Symposium – Malcolm Russell – Stabilising the Debate: Destabilising the Totem of Stabilisation

PowerPoint presentation: Stabilising the Debate – Malcolm Russell

In this presentation, Malcolm Russell examines the concepts of ‘stabilisation’ and ‘stability’, and the relationship between the two. In so doing, Malcolm exposes the power relations and efforts to control that are often less visible in immediate post-conflict intervention efforts. Malcolm examines these concepts by engaging with a debate on stabilisation between Roger Mac Ginty and Christian Dennys (in Stability: International Journal of Security and Development), notably on the subject of control and whether or not it is inherent to stabilisation. Malcolm argues that stabilisation need not be about control but that, in contrast, endeavouring to create what is referred to as stability is about control. Moreover, Malcolm suggests that the aim of endeavouring to create a condition referred to as stability is to promote and protect the interests of the actors who are intervening and undertaking such an endeavour, rather than in the interests of a long-term, viable peace. Moreover, aiming to create a condition called stability is counterproductive as it involves overriding and undermining the processes of national political and social reconciliation which are key to stabilisation.

Malcolm Russell has policy and operational experience as a British Diplomat for more than 25 years ranging from UN and EU negotiation to working in the field in fragile and conflicted states such as Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. He is accredited as an EU Expert in arms control and strategic trade (WMD) controls and as an expert on maritime security (particularly piracy) at the International Maritime Organisation. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Statecraft and Research Associate at the Research Centre on Intervention and Knowledge, Aberystwyth University.

2014 SCID Symposium – Phil Wilkinson – Holistic Security: A Practitioner’s Perspective

PowerPoint presentation: Holistic Security – Phil Wilkinson

In this presentation, Phil Wilkinson reflects upon over four decades of operational experience to argue that national security should be dealt with ‘holistically’. Additionally, Phil argues that sustainable security is the essential prerequisite for social and economic development and that, more generally, security and development are interdependent. A number of lessons and observations useful for the practitioner or student of post-conflict recovery are made. Not least among these is the recommendation that security should be viewed as a relative term, which means different things to different people in different places and contexts, who have different interests and motivations. These multiplicity of meanings, along with the competing demands and interests of different actors, complicate efforts to understand and build holistic security. Nonetheless, this should not detract from the need to avoid treating elements of security in ‘stove-pipes’ and as independent of development issues. Moreover, while the complexities of post-conflict environments prevent the development and application of a holistic security template, it is essential that security is dealt with comprehensively and in recognition of its interdependent relationship with development. To do otherwise, it is argued, would undermine efforts to support places recovering from conflict.

Phil Wilkinson OBE has spent 32 years in the British Army with the Royal Artillery, Parachute and Commando Brigades and Special Forces, including 6 years in Northern Ireland. He is author of UK’s and NATO’s Peace Support Operations doctrine manual. Subsequently, he was Senior Research Fellow at the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s College, London helping to develop the concept and practice of Security Sector Reform (SSR). He has also been SSR/governance advisor/practitioner in Bosnia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq.

2014 SCID Symposium – Chris Sharwood-Smith – The Structure and Activities of the UN Police Division

PowerPoint presentation: UN Police Division – Chris Sharwood-Smith

In this presentation, Chris Sharwood-Smith provides an overview of the history of the engagement of UN police in peacekeeping. The rationale behind the formation of the UN Police Division is examined, alongside the structure and activities of the Division and how it may develop in the near future. In so doing, Chris analyses the concept of police peacekeeping from the inception of the UN and provides a clear picture of the significant transformation of police peacekeeping mandates over time. This detailed consideration of the UN Police Division and the changing role of the police in peacekeeping also highlights a number of challenges facing the Division today as well as ways in which these challenges can be best addressed. Not least among these is the importance of police peacekeeping mandates remaining sufficiently flexible to be able to respond to the demands of crises as they arise and respond to the requirements of UN Member States.

Chris Sharwood-Smith spent 31 years in the Police Service and has been deployed overseas on stabilisation activities and seconded to the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to work at the UK Mission to the UN on peacekeeping training. Subsequently, Chris became involved in developing Police Peacekeeping training for the UN and represented the UK Government on the Doctrine Development Group as Chair of the Training sub-committee. Since retiring in 2010 Chris has worked with the US State Department and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) on police peacekeeping training and development.

2014 SCID Symposium – Maureen Poole – Police Reform in Post-Conflict Environments

In this presentation, Maureen Poole, provides an overview of the way in which she has approached and engaged with Police Reform in conflict-affected environments and related activities in the field of international development. This approach is informed by an extensive career in the UK Police as well as lessons learnt from a subsequent career in international development. She highlights the many lessons she drew from an extensive police career in the UK and how she applied these lessons to her work in international development and police reform in countries emerging from conflict. One lesson in particular that remained with her is the mantra ‘legislation, priority and budget’, which has guided much of her work, at least in the planning stages. This mantra serves as an effective reminder of the need to ascertain the nature of the factors which constrain and guide development work.

Maureen Poole has 34 years’ policing experience, retiring in December 2000 to commence a second career within international development focusing on Gender, Policy and Investigations within a Police Reform environment. With extensive experience in West Africa, SE Europe and the Middle East, Maureen has expertise in different policing styles, different national and traditional law systems, international criminal law, and conflict-related sexual violence.

2014 SCID Symposium – Anthony Welch – Inter-Agency Co-operation in Security Sector Reform and Development

PowerPoint presentation: Inter-agency Co-operation in SSR – Tony Welch

In this presentation, Anthony Welch examines the evolution of Security Sector Reform (SSR) and the limited success of SSR to date. Part of the reason for this lack of success is the inherent difficulties of dealing with states in transition or affected by the aftermath of conflict.  However, Tony suggests that there are also inconsistencies in the approaches made by donor states and intergovernmental organisations when attempting to carry out SSR.  This is predicated on a lack of consensus on what constitutes the security sector and how best to reform it.  In addition there is competition within and between intergovernmental organisations and inter-personal rivalry among their staff, which all serve to detract from the work of reforming the security sector. Tony argues that the successful implementation of SSR is often undermined by this confusion and competition within and between the intergovernmental organisations undertaking the reform processes. It is suggested that confusion, rivalry and competition are not confined just to the security field, but exist in all human activity, which perhaps explains why their impact have not been analysed in any depth. Tony also argues that other obstacles in the way of successful implementation of SSR programmes include lack of genuine local ownership and lack of meaningful monitoring and evaluation methodology, which can effectively measure SSR outcomes and impact to the satisfaction of both the donor and local communities. To close the presentation, Tony suggests ways in which these obstacles can be overcome and how the success rate of SSR could improve.

Dr Anthony Welch OBE has over twenty years’ field and academic experience in international development and the security sector. A former military officer and with a doctorate, he has worked around the world with the UN, EU, UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). He taught Security Sector Management and Reform at Cranfield University, both in the UK and abroad, and is currently engaged in security and development matters on behalf the UK and Swedish Governments, including acting as an advisor on international development and security in Parliament.

2014 SCID Symposium – Fraser Hirst – The Role of Community-Based Dispute Resolution in Justice Sector Reform: The Example of Helmand Province, Afghanistan

In this presentation, Fraser Hirst explores issues relating to incorporating initiatives to support community based dispute resolution systems within justice sector reform programmes. Fraser provides an overview of community based dispute resolution systems in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan in 2008/2009 and ways in which initiatives to support them were incorporated into the initial justice reform programme, when he was Senior Justice Adviser of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) there. The Chapter draws a number of lessons learnt which have wider implications, and could usefully inform programmes elsewhere, including the need for a practical focus and innovative approaches on what will work and provide a practical benefit at the community level; the need to take a holistic approach to justice issues which takes account of all components of the justice system and the linkages between them; the need for programmes to be informed, driven and owned by the people they are designed to benefit; the need for thorough preparation and research; and the need for the programmes to be underpinned by incorporating human rights and gender issues as a cross-cutting issue in every aspect and at every stage of the programme.

Fraser Hirst has extensive experience in all aspects of justice development in conflict-affected states, specialising in Community Justice/Community Dispute Resolution and Justice for Children among other issues. He has previously worked as Head of the United Nations Legal System Monitoring Unit in Liberia, Head of UNICEF’s Justice for Children Project for Somalia, Senior Justice Adviser for Helmand Province in Afghanistan, and UK DFID Justice Adviser for Afghanistan. Other legal experience includes working as: Lawyer, Court Administrator/Registrar, Magistrate, Supreme Court Judge, Prosecutor and Attorney General.

2014 SCID Symposium – Whit Mason Failed State-building: a social reconstruction approach to fostering security and justice after conflict

In this presentation, Whit Mason advocates for a social reconstruction approach to building security and justice after conflict. Whit suggests that much thinking about efforts to build security and justice after conflict is very narrowly focussed, and rarely draws – for example – from the work of the great jurists and political philosophers, or the experience of places which have become stable and where security and justice prevails. Whit argues that one of the main problems of this field is that it understands itself and its domain very narrowly, and that the corpus of thinking from which it draws is very limited. For instance, the work of the sociologist Norbert Elias, who investigated, among other things, the connection between centralised authority and people developing the habits of restraint that are common to civilised societies, is generally ignored because his work is not seen as part of the corpus of thinking relevant to this field. This is one of the reasons why deep and meaningful lessons and insights are hard to find when reflecting upon how best to resolve conflict and build peace. Consequently, Whit argues that we should enlarge the scope of what we think we are doing when we aim to rebuild security and justice. Also, it is argued that we need to think more about what we think we are doing, how societies operate and the principles upon which they are based, and how interventions intersect with the organic operations of society – if peacebuilding efforts are to be more successful. Whit concludes that we need to be more honest and clear about the reasons why we intervene; think more deeply about the reasons for conflict and why people engage in armed conflict, for instance, notably why people perceive there to be no better viable alternative; and what can outsiders do, if anything, to help people change these perceptions.

Whit Mason has worked as a journalist, political analyst and strategist, UN speechwriter, USAID outreach director, NGO Chief of Party, academic researcher, and think tank fellow, in many societies, including those affected by conflict. He has written extensively on the political aspects of development and conflict, including co-authoring a critically acclaimed book, Peace at Any Price: How the World Failed Kosovo and Zealous Democrats: Islamists and Democracy and editing The Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Missing in Inaction. He is an expert in strategic communications and is also a Research Associate at Oxford University’s Centre for International Studies.

2014 SCID Symposium – John Cubbon – The Effects of International Criminal Justice from a Domestic Justice Perspective

PowerPoint presentation: International Criminal Justice – John Cubbon

In this presentation, John Cubbon considers the types of effects of international interventions in criminal justice related to armed conflict. John identifies these types of effects by comparing them with those of “ordinary” criminal justice. While this comparative approach identifies some similarities, it also highlights the distinctive effects of international interventions. John concludes with some optimistic reflections on the impact of international criminal justice, including preventing crimes related to armed conflicts, as well as contributing to the promotion of peace and reconciliation. John discusses how these positive effects can often be overlooked as they tend to be longer-term and less tangible, as opposed to attractive short term goals such as identifying potential peacemakers or introducing amnesties in an effort to usher in peace. There also tends to be a focus on instances where international criminal justice has not prevented atrocities or has been rejected by affected populations, rather than the longer-term and less tangible effects of preventing large-scale war crimes or crimes against humanity as well as broader contribution to promoting peace and reconciliation. John also identifies factors – fairness, objectivity and publicity – that will harness the opportunities that are contained within international criminal justice.

John Cubbon has worked in the United Nations as a lawyer since 1995, since 2006 as Senior Legal Officer in Chambers at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Between 1998 and 2006 he played leading roles in the assessment, operation and development of the judicial system and its institutions in Kosovo, among other activities. His areas of expertise are the monitoring and establishment of judicial systems, reform of legislation and the role of transitional justice in post-conflict environments.

2014 SCID Symposium – Matthew Waterfield – Conflict Assessments in the Planning of Stabilisation/Conflict Recovery Programmes: The Example of Northern Uganda

PowerPoint presentation: Conflict Analysis – Matthew Waterfield

In this presentation, Matthew Waterfield discusses a baseline conflict assessment of Northern Uganda he conducted in 2009, the main objective of which was to inform the planning of the 3-year three-year (2008-2010) USAID Stability, Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda (SPRING) programme. The baseline conflict assessment of Northern Uganda underscored the importance of ownership of the peace process by Uganda as being critical to the success of the process as well as the need to enhance the sustainability of local capacities for peace in order to counter the developing dependency culture that developed in the north. Matthew underlines the importance of conducting a conflict assessment in providing the analytical framework to identify the specific causes and consequences of a conflict. Matthew also highlights how critically important it is that conflict recovery programmes are designed based on an explicit articulation of the understanding of the specific context of the conflict. Matthew shows how a conflict assessment can be conducted and what it might entail, such as structural and stakeholder analyses, in which the causes of the conflict and the interests and means of all stakeholders are analysed. Matthew also highlights the importance of continually reviewing the assessment for accuracy and ensuring the assessment informs each part of the programme cycle, in order that the aims and objectives of the programme are fulfilled and contribute to the broader peacebuilding process.

Matthew Waterfield is a Senior Conflict and Security Expert with twenty years of experience in conflict-affected countries. He is founding Director of niche consultancy firm Aktis Strategy, which provides strategic analysis and programmes in some of the most challenging conflict affected countries. Previous experience includes serving as a senior DPKO official and work as an independent consultant. He has specialist expertise in conflict analysis, stabilisation, security and justice sector reform, conflict transitions and governance. He has also played a lead role in the definition and development of UK government approach to cross-departmental conflict and stabilisation analysis and planning.

2014 SCID Symposium – Keith Sargent – Re-thinking Post-Conflict State Building: Developing Better Governance and Fighting Corruption – Have We Got It Right?

PowerPoint presentation: Re-thinking Post Conflict State Building – Keith Sargent

In this presentation, Keith Sargent underscores the importance of addressing governance and corruption issues if post-conflict state building efforts are to be successful. With specific reference to state building efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan, Keith highlights the extent to which these efforts have been undermined by a weak governance and anti-corruption agenda, particularly for the public service. Keith also examines the reasons why efforts to promote governance and fight corruption have been less than successful, referring, in particular, to weaknesses in donor co-ordination, prioritisation and sequencing as well as debates over the nature/definition of governance and corruption. In conclusion, a number of recommendations are proposed that would enable governance and corruption to be addressed more comprehensively after conflict and, thus, better contribute to rebuilding post-conflict states. These recommendations include the need for donors to deal with anti-corruption in a joined-up, comprehensive and cross-cutting manner; the need for agreement to the prioritisation and sequencing of the elements of the state building agenda between donors and with government at the outset of the state building process; the need for commitment to fully understand systemic corruption and act firmly against it; the need to commit adequate resources to the governance agenda, and particularly to obtaining ‘clean government’ and fighting corruption; the need for change initiatives to promote a culture of integrity and anti-corruption, which should not be lost sight of just because they are invariably very long term; and the need for greater attention to be paid to addressing corruption in donor organisations if they are to be listened to and expect its wishes to be organisations respected by aid recipient countries.

Keith Sargent is an independent advisor specialising in state building and good governance. In a career spanning over 40 years he has worked internationally in advisory and management capacities for governments and their development partners  including  the  UK Government’s DFID/ODA and  FCO,  UN  agencies,  the  EC,  the World Bank and other agencies. He is a regular chairperson and speaker on an Anti-Corruption seminar programme at the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies, where he also speaks on a Conflict Transformation programme.

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