Conflict and Fragility

Policy briefs

Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform - A pragmatic approach to addressing the security and justice spectrum

20 Mar 2012 - 11:25

Policymakers and practitioners working on Rule of Law (RoL) Reform and Security Sector Reform (SSR) have a tendency to demarcate strict areas of competence between the two fields of programming. This is both counterproductive and unnecessary. To provide a different perspective, this Policy Brief presents the justice and security spectrum, a continuum running from the more 'kinetic' types of security to issues such as transitional justice and reconciliation. Realising that SSR and RoL Reform each have a comparative advantage in particular areas of this spectrum opens up a wider set of entry-points for reform. The linkages between these areas enable programmers to set up an incremental approach to progressively cover more issues along the whole spectrum as the reform process unfolds. The Brief also discusses the need to avoid duplication in areas where both RoL Reform and SSR are relevant (such as police, justice and corrections). At the same time, in such areas of overlap, reform and development efforts can be labelled either 'SSR' or 'RoL Reform'. Such flexibility can be advantageous, allowing programmers to designate actors and labels according to what is more pertinent and acceptable within a given context. Overall, the case is made for more pragmatism among RoL Reform and SSR actors, facilitating programming that evolves and adapts, with actors phasing in and out as a reform process develops.