The Negative Consequence of Hyper-Political Integration in Bosnia & Herzegovina

By: Kaitlyn Lynes

Political reintegration is an integral component of a successful disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program. Ex-combatants, associated peoples, and communities must participate in decision and policy-making processes at regional, national, and international levels in order to ensure local ownership. The ideal conclusion of a DDR program is when fair and free democratic elections occur, which should follow the occurrence of a political reintegration process. Ex-combatants often have legitimate grievances, which fuels the wars and conflicts they fight in. Providing political opportunities is often a productive way of compromising with illegally armed groups, ensuring remobilization and the continuation of violence will not occur. Therefore, it is crucial for communities to be involved and supportive so that political reintegration does not appear to be only a buyout or reward for “perceived” war criminals. The transfer of ownership of civic responsibilities to communities and new political parties also serves as a transformative and restorative process for all actors involved. Subsequently, political reintegration has become one of the few durable solution in conflicts where the illegally armed group can not be decisively beaten or allowed to create their own state.

Prior to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina there was no established Bosnian government, as the war caused the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Political reintegration, therefore, faced a particularly unique challenge in Bosnia. Unlike most conflicts, there was no single rebel group looking to be given political opportunities in a previously established governance structure. Instead, the international community had to create a government that provided opportunities to the various groups within Bosnia, including the Muslim Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs, and Bosnian Croats. This has led to a tripartite Presidency, directly elected, that consists of one Bosniak, one Serb, and one Croat at all times. Representatives can only claim one ethnic identity, and voters can only vote for one ethnic identity. Instead of creating an equal power-sharing government, the system has only served to institutionalize ethnic divisions from the war. Further segregating different ethnicities, politicians at the state level have little power over the entirety of the country. The defined territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina is separated between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, the self-autonomous district of Brcko, and ten self-governing cantons across the federation, all working at different levels of government. Superseding all of this, the internationally organized governance structure led by the United Nations still oversees much of the Bosnian state. While this highly structured and overlapping system of government was supposed to ensure equal access to political opportunity in the immediate post-war era for all ethnicities in Bosnia, it has instead allowed ethnic tensions and divisions to flourish while avoiding the reform it desperately needs.


Women’s essential contribution to peacebuilding

By: Lina Castellanos

Including women in peace negotiation processes is essential to sustainable DDR

efforts. Throughout history, all sorts of arguments have been made to exclude women’s

participation in peacebuilding: lack of negotiation skills, lack of experience, war being a

men’s field and some others that have proven to be mistaken not only because it is

clear war isn’t exclusively dominated by male combatants but also because women

have experienced war in different roles: as victims, perpetrators and peacebuilders. In

2000, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and

Security acknowledged the importance of including women in peacebuilding. The

Security Council, urged member states to increase the representation of women at all

decision-making levels for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict, and

expressed its willingness to incorporate a gender perspective into peacekeeping

operations and involving women in all peacekeeping and peacebuilding measures. For

the first time, women’s perceptions and contributions were recognized in post-conflict

scenarios. Yet, since the approval of Resolution 1325 it hasn’t always been the case

that women are actively included in peacebuilding efforts. In that sense, women are still

stigmatized and marginalized in their communities in a post conflict environment.

Women tend to be the most affected during conflicts but they are also more likely

to unify and advocate for peace. Besides, they have proven to create non-violent

resistant strategies that enrich the creation of a peace environment. In Colombia, for

example, la Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres –The Women’s Pacifist Route- is a non-violent

feminist movement that has made visible the way war has affected Colombian women.

Since 1996, the movement has claimed for truth and justice and has successfully

transformed the idea of women perceived solely as victims of the conflict into a more

active role of women being socially and politically engaged in peacebuilding. Today

more than 10,000 women in Colombia belong to the Pacifist Route and without doubt

one of their greatest achievements has been sensitizing society on realities that were

commonly ignored. These women mobilize pacifically and originally; they usually want

to ridicule war by using tactics such as dressing in vivid colors -to challenge the vision of

war as a black and white subject-, they make soap bubbles to imitate war bombs and

they have confronted illegal armed groups with pacific chants when they have been

stopped before starting their protests in areas hard hit by the conflict.

A clear understanding and promotion of women’s rights accompanied by

initiatives to vindicate them is key to conflict and post-conflicts situations. Without those

elements it is difficult to create sustainable peace.

Haiti and Changing DDR Dynamics

By Timothy Koch, graduate student of International Affairs at The New School.

The DDR operation that occurred in Haiti is a prime example of the ever changing dynamic of DDR and the need for DDR operators to be able to adapt to any situation that they are faced with.  Even though Haiti is seen as a failure in some eyes we must remember that through failure we can learn from our mistakes and become closer to success.

Haiti showed us the need for DDR operators to be able to work with all different types of conflict offenders.  The gangs in Haiti were one of the primary causes of conflict, and unlike DDR operations before in Haiti there were no uniforms and rigid power structures.  Operators were no longer dealing with seasoned veteran military commanders potentially from prior liberation struggles, but were now dealing with gun and drug running hoods that in many cases lacked the respect for DDR and its goals.  These gangsters saw no reason to discontinue their operations as they were making too much money and did not think their lifestyle was flawed.  There weren’t many incentives that DDR operators could offer them in an attempt to persuade them to give up their ways.  They were living the highlife compared to many others in Haiti and the operators had to meet this challenge.  It was no longer a military member making a basic wage, in this situation it was now gangsters potentially making hundreds of thousands of dollars by being a drug transport hub to the city of Miami and Dade County.

The example of Haiti also showed us how DDR operators must prepare for non-conventional power structures within a country.  Prior operators would be dealing with major political factions and rebel groups along with semi established governmental entities and in Haiti this was not the case.  The gangs replaced the rebel groups and political factions; however in Haiti the ruling elite held a massive control on power relations within the country.  Just like the gangs these selfish power elite profited from the lack of governmental control within the country and were extremely resistant to DDR operations.  Incentives could not be offered to these people as they had everything they wanted.  They were living at the expense of normal Haitian citizens and wanted to continue to do so.  This power dynamic made it very difficult for DDR operators to do their job.

These changing dynamics that characterize the Haiti DDR project perfectly exemplify the need for DDR operators to be able to keep an open mindset and not be rigid in their ways of thinking.  Also it shows the need for them to be able to adapt to different power relations and conflict structures.  DDR operators cannot be traditional people who are stuck in their ways of thinking and this is becoming ever more relevant in the world of today.    DDR operators must constantly be innovating their prior failures because as we know failure can breed success.

Implementing Community-Based Security in Bosnia and Herzegovina

By: Kaitlyn Lynes

Inherent in the second generation of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programming is the focus on development objectives and caseloads beyond the scope of ex-combatants. All aspects of society negatively affected by conflict, including women, children, the elderly, and disabled ex-combatants, must be considered to engender sustainable reintegration and peace. The ultimate goal of successful reintegration is the return of ex-combatants to a community, whether the community they originated from or a new one. However, before a return can be achieved, prior conditions must exist. At a minimum, there must be an adequate absorption capacity for ex-combatants. This means there are economic opportunities for both people living in the community and the arriving ex-combatants. An additional complication often includes the return of internally displaced peoples and refugees, all of whom expect a job when they return. Beyond socio-economic reintegration, critical psychosocial issues must be addressed. Intensive community sensitization is the process of dealing with the traumas of war, often in the form of transitional justice and reconciliation mechanisms.  At times ex-combatants are reintegrated into communities which they attacked during the conflict. In essence, victims are expected to live in the same small towns and villages as their former aggressors, causing an extremely fragile security situation that can be improved with targeted psychosocial reintegration approaches. Most importantly, there must be strong local ownership of reintegration processes, ensuring a credible, context-appropriate program designed and implemented by those directly affected.

Community-based security is most effective in weak or failed states, yet has not been implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since the end of the war with Serbia following the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement in December 1995, the country has been primarily governed by several international organizations. Many post-conflict initiatives—meant to solve immediate security issues at the local level—are still implemented today. The most well-known example is the two-in-one schools, school buildings across the country that have separate classrooms, administrations, offices, and recess hours based on ethnicity. Students and teachers of different ethnic identities never cross paths, even while occupying the same building at the same time. Recent protests against this system by students highlights the urgent need for community ownership over security considerations. The Bosnian government continues to struggle with a lack of authority and reach, as well as widespread corruption, both strong indicators that a bottom-up approach linking security and community development would positively benefit Bosnia and Herzegovina. Community-based security across the country will allow for efficient and effective governance structures to take hold and provide better mechanisms for finally dealing with psychosocial grievances experienced during the war.

Moving beyond Peace keeping – Second Generation DDR and the case of Haiti

By Senani Dehigolla of The New School

“UN peacekeeping operations are now increasingly complex and multi-dimensional, going beyond monitoring a ceasefire to actually bringing failed States back to life, often after decades of conflict. The blue helmets and their civilian colleagues work together to organize elections, enact police and judicial reform, promote and protect human rights, conduct mine-clearance, advance gender equality, achieve the voluntary disarmament of former combatants, and support the return of refugees and displaced people to their homes.” ~Kofi Annan

Increased number of conflicts around the world while making the world more insecure demands drastic and effective methods in countering insurgency and to transform nations into peaceful and liveable environments. Authoritarian regimes, religious extremism, barbaric violence, secular nationalism, refugee crisis etc. around the world emphasises the increasingly complex reality of DDR operations that requires dynamic models to operate. It is noteworthy that DDR practises around the world has progressed over last few decades encompassing many political, military, security, humanitarian and socio economic dimensions depending on the diverse nature of conflicts.

Second generation DDR in particular, could be tremendously valuable in moving beyond the military structures towards the entity of community which is severely hindered by armed violence. It is quite obvious that the community play a significant role in successful DDR as it becomes substantial ground for further violence or lasting peace. Therefore, moving beyond traditional DDR is crucial to successful Disarmament and Reintegration given the fragile post conflict contexts where everything that is humane is lost. Many states around the world which were ultimately reduced to ‘failed states’ through conflicts inherits weak public institutions particularly those pertaining to law and justice, constant struggle for power ,illicit drugs, HIV/ AIDS , economic insecurity, lack of political will and pervasive poverty making positive change through DDR an extremely  challenging task. Thus, the evolution of DDR has progressed from a security tool towards a peace building tool in achieving development and improving livelihoods of the affected which in return intensifies its scope and responsibility.

With many dedicated and selfless contributions made every day to make DDR achieve its goals, it is also prone to heavy criticism ranging from failed DDR to outrageous behaviour of ‘blue helmets’. Considering the much debated case of Haiti, it is clear that unique methods need to be implemented to address the changing dynamics of conflicts arising from different contexts. Detached relations of New York and Geneva from the actual intensity of ground realities, financial issues, and poor identification of issues on the ground are some of the negative aspects pertaining to the case of Haiti. MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti) was widely criticised for its limited response to the root causes of the conflict where social and political aspects were largely ignored. Since 1991 a number of UN missions have intervened in Haiti and by 2004 the situation was much worse. However, with constant harassments from natural disasters Haiti was in the brink of destruction and admirably the UN support was still available to them. Thus, UNDP’s more innovative approach to DDR in restoring daily life help build the social fabric of these communities with individuals gaining employment, self-respect and creating space for change. Furthermore, to increase its positive impact, DDR programs require better training for the blue helmets, inter cultural dialogue and dedicating longer period of time in conflict affected areas. Long term stabilization also depends on optimistic government participation and increased national capacity to manage weapons and to curb violence.

In Haiti, Statebuilding in the Wake of DDR and SSR

I had no way of knowing that my beloved Haiti ushered in the second generation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) processes worldwide prior to taking Professor Dean Piedmont’s course on this subject. I did however always wonder why MINUSTAH – the UN’s peacekeeping force – has been in Haiti for so long. Upon learning that DDR is in fact a peacebuilding process aimed primarily at reintegrating ex-combatants into civilian society post-war, the presence of MINUSTAH became even more perplexing to me since Haiti was never at war.

Furthermore, while the 2004-2006 period in Haiti’s history was marked by a critical upsurge in violence before and after a U.S. supported coup d’etat, there were also no clear ex-combatant groups to reintegrate back into Haitian society. Therefore, rather than looking to DDR to reinforce a newly independent country’s statehood as the first generation of DDR did after the Cold War, the failure of DDR in Haiti led to this second wave where DDR increasingly focused on the role of development in reducing livelihood concerns that often lead to violence (as an aside, today’s third generation of DDR emphasizes attempts to counter violent extremism [CVE] through political integration).

In addition to DDR, Haiti has also been one of the sites for a related process known as Security Sector Reform (SSR). SSR is more of a statebuilding measure designed to strengthen a country’s ability to create and uphold a climate of peace so that the country’s institutions can actually function. The Haitian National Police (HNP) was the main target for SSR initiatives and was actually making encouraging strides towards its goals in bolstering the civilian police force as recent as November 2009. Of course no one saw the January 2010 quake coming and almost all of the SSR gains being made were completely set back as a result. With the collapse of the national penitentiary, the Supreme Court, and almost every other major government building (the presidential palace included), renewed security concerns emerged in various ways.

Post-quake Haiti has not been wracked with no where near as much violence as that which initially warranted MINUSTAH eleven years ago (though the mission continues to maintain a reduced presence with its mandate having just been renewed at the end of October 2015 for another year). Even SSR, which was not as much of a failure as DDR, has not been a major topic of discussion for the Haitian state since it historically was viewed as an external process rather than one that had national ownership. At the same time, it goes without say that Haiti’s institutions remain underdeveloped and this reality will continually hinder long-term peace and security if it remains unaddressed.

With presidential elections currently underway and a new administration that starts in February 2016, the incoming Haitian president has a critical opportunity to establish a commitment to the country’s institutional building priorities that the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation has outlined in its post-quake Strategic Plan for National Development. For one, this administration should diligently look to restore the citizenry’s faith in its state actors. The previous administration never executed the local and regional elections that were stalled by the earthquake and therefore ran his presidency by decree once the term of the parliamentarians expired. Since this will be the first time in a while that the state will have a functioning Parliament, actively working with the various branches of government – while also reinforcing the capacity of local and regional stakeholders – is one of many efforts that readily come to mind in terms of finally putting Haiti on a path towards sustainable development, peace and security.

By: Vanessa Leon

Editor: Jerilyn Scutlieri

Southern Sudan DDR: Problem and Recommendations Overview

There is a broad range of issues plaguing DDR in Southern Sudan, many of which are adjacent to country-specific problems, causing a panacea effect.

The South Sudan DDR Commission (SSDDRC), Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the government of Sudan had a lack of cohesion, and serious design, implementation, management and expectation problems.  Failing to acknowledge the multiple ongoing conflicts at the time of agreement compromised the DDR process. Neither the SPLM nor the Sudanese government in Khartoum had much interest or capacity to support DDR, due to mistrust and past DDR failures. Massive regional disparity, varying absorption capacity, a highly militarized society and an overall underdeveloped socioeconomic context characterize Sudan due to decades of war.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was not a legitimate basis for demobilization of active duty combatants, armed civilians or Other Armed Groups (OAGs) and disarmament was not included, so small arms and light weapons (SALW) proliferated. The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) could not handle the budget burden disarmament would cost. Ineligible people were receiving benefits because of ineffective verification systems and a fuzzy line between military and civilian life. UNMIS DDR unit was directed to manage much more armed groups than they had originally anticipated. Within the UNMIS DDR unit, consisting of DPKO and UNDP, tensions arose over the best way to handle the situation.

Special interest groups merit mention in the CPA, yet are absent from the Stockholm Policy Review Group documents. The deep gender divide in Sudanese society complicates a DDR process inclusive of women, who have unique needs. To address women, there must be a coordinated approach that includes: implementing a gender-specific DDR process, equity and security, a community focus, equality of choice, and equal access. All DDR activities should include gender training for male ex-combatants, and spread awareness about HIV/AIDS and promote positive behavior change. IDDRP recommends that children and youth DDR time frames be faster, inclusive, and participatory; this reintegration process should be community based. The priorities are demobilizing children fighters within six months and returning them to their families and immediately assisting girls associated with armed groups.

Before the referendum, any more demobilization would have to involve SPLA, SSDDRC and UNMIS to ensure that no ineligible people become part of the DDR process. Developing a legal framework for SALW national control program should be fast-tracked and implemented in tandem with a long-term, cooperative-type ‘weapons-linked-to-development’ program. The post-referendum DDR operation would have to be spearheaded by the new government, supported by international donors and be redesigned with region-specific policy, additional flexibility, realistic expectations, immediate stabilization and support for the political transition process. Considering the socioeconomic environment, economic reintegration should be needs based, special needs groups should have priority and the process must be sensitive to carrying capacity. Dual-targeting would be the best reintegration policy if community support were achievable.

By Gabrielle Belli

The Conflict in South Sudan – fueled by failed DDR?

In 2005, The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) brokered the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) between the dominant Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) fractions and the National Congress Party (NCP), the ruling party of Sudan. While the peace process effectively ended the twenty-plus year civil war in Sudan, the CPA was neither inclusive, nor successfully implemented. The peace process excluded other political and military opposition groups of the south that actively participated in the civil war. It also failed to address south-on-south violence. While the Interim DDR Programme (IDDRP) notably addressed the importance of including all groups in the DDR process, it can be argued that the obvious failures of this ostensibly contributed to the escalation of violence in South Sudan in December 2013 (following secession in 2011). Additionally the prevalence of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the south has inarguably exacerbated the conflict, a conflict that according to Zainab Bangura, the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Representative (SRSG) on sexual violence in conflict, has seen some of the worst sexual violence committed against women and girls.

Initially the Sudan DDR process had high promises. DDR was an integral part of the CPA and focused on security sector reform (SSR) efforts, while the Interim DDR Programme (IDDRP) targeted Special Needs Groups (SNGs), including child soldiers; elderly personnel; the war wounded and disabled; and women associated with the armed forces (WAAF). Furthermore, the IDDRP included many of the principles outlined in the Integrated DDR Standards (IDDRS) and in Second Generation DDR frameworks. National ownership, community-driven approach (to DDR), gender inclusiveness, capacity building of local institutions were only some of the various issues addressed. Subsequent assessments, such as the 2010 report by the Stockholm Policy Group reiterated these concerns, including the need for national ownership (by the north and the south respectively) of any DDR strategy.

In line with the ‘one country, two systems’ approach, it was agreed that Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the SPLA were to identify 90,000 personnel for DDR within their respective ranks. The aim was to reduce the risk of a return to conflict and strengthen the CPA. However, the actual process of demobilization in southern Sudan was not properly started until 2009 and at the time of the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in December 2013 only a fraction of the intended caseload had de facto been processed. Additionally many remained skeptical of the entire DDR process, arguing that it was intended to favor the north. With the ongoing conflict the prospects for future DDR initiatives in the South are now uncertain.

As mentioned, easy access to SALW and the failure of previous DDR efforts is responsible for much of the current violence the south. State security does not have capacity (or incentive) to provide protection to civilians or control the illicit flow of arms. As long as there is no policy and legal framework in southern Sudan for the control of small arms, and as long as the DDR initiative are not carried out, the violence will continue and women and girls will continue to bear the brunt of the conflict.

By Helena Gronberg

Measuring Progress or Measuring Success? Thoughts on M&E in Next Generation DDR

During a briefing in Haiti, Desmond Molloy, former chief DDR implementer of DPKO, recalls a struggling DDR program. Long gone were the days of first generation, state building DDR in Africa. Desmond was faced with a dilemma: should he follow traditional protocols that didn’t apply to the power structure and conflict in Haiti or should he create a new program that embraced the changing dynamics of DDR?

In the end, he, with an ‘integrated’ team from DPKO and UNDP, created and piloted the Community Violence Reduction (CVR) approach and programme as a way to engage the Haitian community and reintegrate gang members. As I sit here flipping through piles of notes, I wonder what innovative approach can be applied to the monitoring and evaluation process in DDR, and if there is any way to take inspiration from Desmond’s actions.

Three main guides on utilizing M&E in DDR programs exist. They are authored by the IDDRS, UNDP, and S/CRS. The practical dilemmas that these three guides pose is highlighted below:

  1. Generic Objectives, Generic Indicators

Using quantitative indicators can help with tracking the progress of disarmament and demobilization. For example, one way is to count how many guns are still believed to exist in a community and how many have been collected. However, quantitative indicators do little to measure reintegration, the most time consuming and often rushed and/or neglected component of DDR. I posit that measuring reintegration in DDR should focus on qualitative indicators, such as interviewing community members and creating focus group studies.

  1. Power of Outside Influences and Assumptions

More emphasis should be given on the power of outside influences and how that ultimately affects the program. This should be integrated in the logical framework and not just the overarching report. Equally important are assumptions that DDR practitioners can identify that may prohibit or weaken the progress of the program.

  1. Measuring Success

Often DDR is measured not in success but in failure. I posit challenging this thought process to erase the dichotomy of success/failure in monitoring and evaluating a DDR program. If the DDR program “succeeds” in demobilization and reintegration but the ex combatants refuse to give up their guns, has the program failed? I argue that focus should be on individual objectives and not on the program as an overall whole. This is a very difficult approach that should be handled with care when presented to donors. More research needs to be carefully conducted on this subject.

By Meredith Bapir