Can Structural Change in Justice and Security Be Programmed?: A Response to Porter, Isser, and Berg

Bruce Baker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    From the perspective of sub-Saharan Africa, I agree with the analysis of Porter, Isser and Berg that the standard approach to Justice and Security (J&S) in ‘fragile and conflict-affected states’ has been ineffective. An initial drive by peacekeepers to curtail the violence and restore law and order, followed by an intensive training and equipment programme for the state security forces so that they can take over, has proved both over-ambitious and under-ambitious: too ambitious to expect to reform in a short period, poorly managed and trained J&S institutions that have a history of corruption and abuse; under-ambitious in not looking beyond the state providers nor looking at the structural causes of injustice and insecurity. As regards the structural factors, I concur that the programmes have largely addressed ‘symptoms without engaging in the political, social and economic dynamics and processes that produce insecurity and injustice stresses, and that give rise to the institutions that either successfully manage or exacerbate these stresses.’ Yet I am not so sure that the ‘lack of attention to politics’ has been from donor unawareness, as the authors imply. There is certainly talk about the importance of politics (in its narrowest sense) amongst in-country donor agency personnel, but their ability to translate it into practice often fails for very prosaic reasons. Staff struggle to get access to over-busy national Ministers; they are directed by external design teams made up of practitioners who are more conversant with their own speciality than politics; the background of the J&S team officers within the civil service ensures a preference for clearly defined sectors and for J&S issues to sit in familiar J&S institutions; retention of donor institutional memory and even of ‘good ministerial contacts’ is affected by rapid donor staff turn-over and poorly maintained central recording systems; and implementation of J&S is weakened by outsourcing to external implementers who are locked into contracts where politics gets over-looked in the specified methodology and J&S outputs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)340-344
    JournalHague Journal on the Rule of Law
    Volume5
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

    Fingerprint

    structural change
    justice
    politics
    staff
    law and order
    civil service
    outsourcing
    turnover
    corruption
    minister
    recording
    personnel
    abuse
    contact
    violence
    reform
    cause
    lack
    methodology
    ability

    Bibliographical note

    This article is not yet available from the repository.

    Cite this

    Can Structural Change in Justice and Security Be Programmed?: A Response to Porter, Isser, and Berg. / Baker, Bruce.

    In: Hague Journal on the Rule of Law, Vol. 5, No. 2, 09.2013, p. 340-344.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    @article{c50d5988d7254548bb210b1f3264c4a9,
    title = "Can Structural Change in Justice and Security Be Programmed?: A Response to Porter, Isser, and Berg",
    abstract = "From the perspective of sub-Saharan Africa, I agree with the analysis of Porter, Isser and Berg that the standard approach to Justice and Security (J&S) in ‘fragile and conflict-affected states’ has been ineffective. An initial drive by peacekeepers to curtail the violence and restore law and order, followed by an intensive training and equipment programme for the state security forces so that they can take over, has proved both over-ambitious and under-ambitious: too ambitious to expect to reform in a short period, poorly managed and trained J&S institutions that have a history of corruption and abuse; under-ambitious in not looking beyond the state providers nor looking at the structural causes of injustice and insecurity. As regards the structural factors, I concur that the programmes have largely addressed ‘symptoms without engaging in the political, social and economic dynamics and processes that produce insecurity and injustice stresses, and that give rise to the institutions that either successfully manage or exacerbate these stresses.’ Yet I am not so sure that the ‘lack of attention to politics’ has been from donor unawareness, as the authors imply. There is certainly talk about the importance of politics (in its narrowest sense) amongst in-country donor agency personnel, but their ability to translate it into practice often fails for very prosaic reasons. Staff struggle to get access to over-busy national Ministers; they are directed by external design teams made up of practitioners who are more conversant with their own speciality than politics; the background of the J&S team officers within the civil service ensures a preference for clearly defined sectors and for J&S issues to sit in familiar J&S institutions; retention of donor institutional memory and even of ‘good ministerial contacts’ is affected by rapid donor staff turn-over and poorly maintained central recording systems; and implementation of J&S is weakened by outsourcing to external implementers who are locked into contracts where politics gets over-looked in the specified methodology and J&S outputs.",
    author = "Bruce Baker",
    note = "This article is not yet available from the repository.",
    year = "2013",
    month = "9",
    doi = "10.1017/S1876404512001194",
    language = "English",
    volume = "5",
    pages = "340--344",
    journal = "Hague Journal on the Rule of Law",
    issn = "1876-4045",
    publisher = "Springer Verlag",
    number = "2",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Can Structural Change in Justice and Security Be Programmed?: A Response to Porter, Isser, and Berg

    AU - Baker, Bruce

    N1 - This article is not yet available from the repository.

    PY - 2013/9

    Y1 - 2013/9

    N2 - From the perspective of sub-Saharan Africa, I agree with the analysis of Porter, Isser and Berg that the standard approach to Justice and Security (J&S) in ‘fragile and conflict-affected states’ has been ineffective. An initial drive by peacekeepers to curtail the violence and restore law and order, followed by an intensive training and equipment programme for the state security forces so that they can take over, has proved both over-ambitious and under-ambitious: too ambitious to expect to reform in a short period, poorly managed and trained J&S institutions that have a history of corruption and abuse; under-ambitious in not looking beyond the state providers nor looking at the structural causes of injustice and insecurity. As regards the structural factors, I concur that the programmes have largely addressed ‘symptoms without engaging in the political, social and economic dynamics and processes that produce insecurity and injustice stresses, and that give rise to the institutions that either successfully manage or exacerbate these stresses.’ Yet I am not so sure that the ‘lack of attention to politics’ has been from donor unawareness, as the authors imply. There is certainly talk about the importance of politics (in its narrowest sense) amongst in-country donor agency personnel, but their ability to translate it into practice often fails for very prosaic reasons. Staff struggle to get access to over-busy national Ministers; they are directed by external design teams made up of practitioners who are more conversant with their own speciality than politics; the background of the J&S team officers within the civil service ensures a preference for clearly defined sectors and for J&S issues to sit in familiar J&S institutions; retention of donor institutional memory and even of ‘good ministerial contacts’ is affected by rapid donor staff turn-over and poorly maintained central recording systems; and implementation of J&S is weakened by outsourcing to external implementers who are locked into contracts where politics gets over-looked in the specified methodology and J&S outputs.

    AB - From the perspective of sub-Saharan Africa, I agree with the analysis of Porter, Isser and Berg that the standard approach to Justice and Security (J&S) in ‘fragile and conflict-affected states’ has been ineffective. An initial drive by peacekeepers to curtail the violence and restore law and order, followed by an intensive training and equipment programme for the state security forces so that they can take over, has proved both over-ambitious and under-ambitious: too ambitious to expect to reform in a short period, poorly managed and trained J&S institutions that have a history of corruption and abuse; under-ambitious in not looking beyond the state providers nor looking at the structural causes of injustice and insecurity. As regards the structural factors, I concur that the programmes have largely addressed ‘symptoms without engaging in the political, social and economic dynamics and processes that produce insecurity and injustice stresses, and that give rise to the institutions that either successfully manage or exacerbate these stresses.’ Yet I am not so sure that the ‘lack of attention to politics’ has been from donor unawareness, as the authors imply. There is certainly talk about the importance of politics (in its narrowest sense) amongst in-country donor agency personnel, but their ability to translate it into practice often fails for very prosaic reasons. Staff struggle to get access to over-busy national Ministers; they are directed by external design teams made up of practitioners who are more conversant with their own speciality than politics; the background of the J&S team officers within the civil service ensures a preference for clearly defined sectors and for J&S issues to sit in familiar J&S institutions; retention of donor institutional memory and even of ‘good ministerial contacts’ is affected by rapid donor staff turn-over and poorly maintained central recording systems; and implementation of J&S is weakened by outsourcing to external implementers who are locked into contracts where politics gets over-looked in the specified methodology and J&S outputs.

    U2 - 10.1017/S1876404512001194

    DO - 10.1017/S1876404512001194

    M3 - Article

    VL - 5

    SP - 340

    EP - 344

    JO - Hague Journal on the Rule of Law

    JF - Hague Journal on the Rule of Law

    SN - 1876-4045

    IS - 2

    ER -