A rule-of-law environment exists when all persons, institutions and entities (public and private), including the state, are held accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. Good governance of the security sector is thus an essential pillar of the rule of law.
The mission has both a responsibility and the capacity to influence how quickly and firmly the state is able to recover and extend its authority, legitimacy and capacity to apply equitable laws in a fair manner. This requires a comprehensive understanding of the actors involved in the rule of law, including those who provide security, policing and judicial services; those who manage those services; and those who hold service providers to account.
Human Rights and Protection PromotedHuman rights are at the centre of the work of the United Nations. The mission ...
Legal Framework StrengthenedConflict tends to weaken legal frameworks over time. It usurps and destroys institutional infrastructures, and ...
Justice Sector StrengthenedA strong judicial sector supports the transition to sustainable peace. It also plays a key ...
Security Sector StrengthenedStrong security services exist in a rule-of-law framework with respect for human rights. They must ...
Police and other Law-enforcement Sectors StrengthenedReinforcing the rule of law and sustainable peace are impossible without law enforcement. Police and ...
Corrections System StrengthenedPost-conflict corrections systems, when they exist, are weak. This leads to violations of prisoners’ basic ...
Defence Sector ProfessionalizedThe goal of professionalizing the defence sector is civilian control of the military. The military ...
There are deep connections between strengthening the rule of law and SSR. Implementing institutional reforms is a complex and political change-management process. Many functions and institutions that administer justice will need capacity-building. Examples include ministries, police, prosecuting authorities, public defenders’ offices, courts and prisons.
While local ownership is fundamental, the mission may need to maintain a certain level of intrusiveness. This helps combat corruption and strengthens institutional integrity and accountability.
The MLT therefore plays a crucial role in crafting a comprehensive and holistic approach to strengthening the rule of law. Where there is non-state service delivery of security and justice, regardless of who provides security or justice services, they should equally be held accountable to the law and formal governance structures. All actions should be carried out in close consultation with all parties to the peace process as well as with civil society. Strategies should be needs-based and long term, and donors should be encouraged to remain engaged and stay the course.
The role of the MLT in strengthening the rule of law is likely to include:
- supporting political dialogue on rule of law needs, norms and standards;
- supporting national needs assessment in relation to international standards and good practice;
- developing national security strategies with a focus on effective and accountable justice; and
- facilitating international support.
The MLT may wish to consider the following in determining priorities:
- Is the environment safe and secure?
- Who is providing justice and security?
- Does the country have the capability to absorb reform initiatives?
- Is it possible to manage active spoilers destabilizing the environment?
- Can a quick win in a geographic area supporting the rule of law help build confidence in the reform?
- Is the host government stable enough to undertake reform?
- Is the rule of law responsive to the gendered perceptions of security, law and order, and other issues?
- Can law-enforcement agencies maintain public order within a framework of human rights?
- Is it possible to address some areas of justice and SSR before reform in other areas begins?
- All significant parties to the conflict have signed a peace agreement.
- A comprehensive needs assessment and a PCA constitute the basis for support.
- The host state displays willingness to carry out justice and security reform.
- Bilateral donors provide resources to strengthen rule of law in a coordinated way.
- A strong legal framework guarantees non-discrimination consistent with international human rights norms.
- Legal frameworks acknowledge roles of women and minorities and respond to local traditions, culture and history.
- A public administration that is rules-based and accountable, with adequate systems of appeal.
- A strong and independent judicial sector can withstand external pressures.
- Separation of powers and checks and balances ensure fair interpretation of laws.
- A strengthened law-enforcement sector responds to women’s and minorities’ needs.
- A strengthened corrections system is consistent with UN human rights standards.
- Structural mechanisms and mediation processes exist for peaceful resolution of conflicts.
- Functioning internal and external oversight and accountability mechanisms are in place.