Tuesday, 13 September 2016

New publication \ Transformation of the security sector in South Sudan needs a critical re-think

There is no end in sight of the violent conflicts in South Sudan. The fact that fighters have not been demobilized sustainably and security sector reform has so far not taken place are major contributors to this. The new BICC study “In Need of a Critical Re-think: Security Sector Reform in South Sudan” names the existing patronage system as main obstacle to a transformation of the South Sudanese security apparatus and advises a clear break.

People in Rumbek, South Sudan. Photo: BICC


The authors Claudia Breitung, Luuk van de Vondervoort and Wolf-Christian Paes give the following policy recommendations:

\ Reconstitute the security sector and then abolish the practice of buying short-term peace by integrating militias into the army

Given the current divisions in the country, which largely followed infighting and divisions inside the SPLA and the political system, the South Sudanese security sector will in reality need to be built up from scratch. This will include proportional representation on the basis of ethnicity and a dismissal of generals found responsible for gross human rights violations. Once that has been achieved, ensure that rules and regulations for promotions within the military are in place and adhered to (these should be based on military success, loyalty, and education). Consider having generals’ appointments being approved by parliament. Moreover, militia integration should in principle be banned. One should avoid by all means making similar mistakes like in the past, opting for an open-ended integration process and integrate again all types of armed actors into the national armed forces. Unfortunately, Kiir’s most recent incorporation of friendly militias into the army in 2015 indicates that this kind of policy is still the SPLA’s fallback option for dealing with unrest. However, in light of the economic collapse, the sinking oil prices, and lack of international donor support, even as a short-term strategy South Sudan can simply not afford ‘buying peace’ in such a manner.

more recommendations to be found in BICC Working Paper 6\2016

Press release (in English)

Press release (in German)