6.10 Trade-offs
6.10.1 Prioritizing short-term stability vs. confronting impunity. Dealing with groups or individuals who prosecuted the conflict may be necessary early on to bring certain factions into the fold or to mitigate tensions. But turning a blind eye to continued use of political violence against rivals or exploitation of criminal networks to generate illicit revenue will enshrine a culture of impunity that threatens sustainable peace.
6.10.2 Using local security forces to enhance legitimacy vs. using international security forces to ensure effectiveness. While international security forces may be more effective in performing security functions, having local security forces assume these responsibilities would enhance legitimacy. But local forces often lack the capacity to perform effectively and may have a reputation for corruption and grave human rights abuses. Balancing this trade-off involves training and mentoring local forces and gradually transitioning responsibilities from international actors.
6.10.3 Applying force vs. maintaining mission legitimacy. Public order operations may require the use of force, especially where spoilers and a culture of impunity are widespread. Assertive action ensures credibility, but excessive force can also jeopardize the legitimacy of the mission, especially early on when a mission is under public scrutiny. Finding a way to balance this trade-off is essential and should involve international stability police who are proficient in the use of nonlethal force.186
6.10.4 Public order functions performed by the military vs. the police.187 Achieving public order in these environments often presents a difficult dilemma as to which institution—military or police—should perform public order functions. While the military has training and experience in the use of force against violent spoilers, they lack the requisite skills in investigations, forensics, and other critical law enforcement functions. Traditional police units, on the other hand, are trained in nuanced use of force and nonlethal means. Meshing the capabilities of both these organizations is critical to meet public order needs.
6.10.5 Short-term security imperatives vs. investments in broader security reform. With limited resources to work with, it may be difficult to balance short- and long-term requirements. The need for immediate security (i.e., protection for elections) may divert donor resources and energy from long-term SSR efforts. Demonstrating quick wins can build credibility, but may jeopardize the development of a foundation for deeper reform of the security sector.188 A proper balance must be struck.
6.11 Gaps and Challenges
6.11.1 Security sector reform. Local security institutions are often viewed as corrupt, abusive, and lacking in public service ethos. Reshaping this perception among the population, building the capacity of security institutions, creating civilian oversight structures to ensure accountability, and developing sound security policies are all elements of SSR that have proven to be very difficult. It is a major gap that must be filled.
6.11.2 Intelligence. Establishing a safe and secure environment in a society emerging from conflict requires actionable intelligence about potential threats that may arise. But intelligence is not a formal or acknowledged part of S&R missions. Doctrinal guidance and cooperation on this function is sorely needed to ensure that critical information is collected and appropriately shared.
6.11.3 Corrections. Corrections systems are critical elements of public order, providing a place to house convicted criminals or spoilers. While both the UN and ICRC have published principles on the treatment of individuals in detention, very little guidance exists on the effective development of corrections institutions to complement the development of police forces, court systems, and other important aspects of public order.
6.11.4 The role of private security firms. The employment of private security firms—both external and within the host nation—is ubiquitous in S&R missions. The lack of oversight of these entities has proven to be detrimental to peace and legitimacy of the mission. More guidance and accountability is needed to mitigate their destructive effects.
6.11.5 Reintegration of ex-combatants. Successful reintegration has proven extremely challenging because it requires immense sustained support to ensure that ex-combatants, once disarmed and demobilized, do not return to a life of violence. Reintegration should be addressed during peace negotiations and followed up with a robust strategy that includes thorough planning and sustained international support.
6.11.6 Civilian oversight of the security forces. SSR strategies have focused overwhelmingly on developing the security forces, while giving short shrift to improving civilian oversight over those forces. Building the forces is important, but keeping them accountable over the long run requires deeper reforms of the institutions that govern the security sector.
6.11.7 Border security. Border security is not given adequate attention in S&R missions, in spite of the fact that many sources of insecurity originate outside the border, including the illegal arms trade and foreign terrorist groups. Border security is not mentioned in any landmark reports on UN peacekeeping.
6.11.8 Holistic security strategy. Security sector reform is carried out in an ad hoc and piecemeal manner. Rarely has there been an overarching strategic framework that ensures integration of all the efforts, from intelligence to incarceration.