Reconstructing a policing system out of the ashes: Rwanda's solution

Bruce Baker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Civil war (1990–1994) and genocide (1994) left the Rwandan government with the daunting task of re-establishing internal security. The policing model they have pursued, reflecting their regime ideology, is a hybrid model. It combines a modern professional and disciplined police force with the informal social control mechanisms of popular justice. The article, based on two months fieldwork in 2006, demonstrates that the model has provided an effective, popular and universally accessible policing that is not resource intensive. Yet its success has to be tempered by reflection that civil liberties have been compromised by an intrusive surveillance at local level, and by repressive responses to anything perceived as opposition to the ruling party at national level. Rwanda's special circumstances make listing durable substantive lessons with widespread applicability unwise. But, there is a case for re-examining the potential of using informal security structures with varying degrees of connection to the state in the overall national internal security strategy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)344-366
    JournalPolicing and Society
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Bibliographical note

    The full text of this item is not available from the repository.
    This is an electronic version of an article published in Policing and Society 17(4), pp.344-366. Policing and Society is available online at:


    • policing
    • Rwanda
    • post-conflict security


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