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  • Author: Teodora Fuior, Magdalena Lembovska, Wouter de Ridder, Julian Richards
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Parliamentary oversight refers to the ongoing1 monitoring, review, evaluation and investigation of the activity of government and public agencies, including the implementation of policy, legislation and the expenditure of the state budget. Parliamentary oversight is one of the most important manifestations of the separations of powers in a democracy. Parliamentary oversight must extend to all areas of government, including intelligence and security services. Intelligence services work in secrecy and have the authority to make use of special powers that potentially are highly invasive of human rights. Communications interception and secret surveillance are only two of such powers. For these reasons, intelligence services are regarded by the public with suspicion and lack of confidence. Therefore, the need for legality, legitimacy and accountability is even higher for intelligence services than for other government agencies. As the lawmaker, parliament is responsible for enacting clear, accessible and comprehensive legislation establishing intelligence services, their organisation, special powers and limits. Parliamentary oversight activities review, evaluate and investigate how laws are implemented and how intelligence operations are in line with the constitution, national security policy and legislation. Parliament also approves the budget of intelligence services and can play a strong role in scrutinizing expenditure. Effective parliamentary oversight ensures a bridge between intelligence and the public and brings benefits to all: intelligence community, parliament itself and most importantly, the citizens.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Intelligence, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Europe, Macedonia, Albania
  • Author: Mahmoud Alawna, Nora-Elise Beck, Vlatko Cvrtila, Fatima Itawi, Saša Janković, Arnold Luethold, Frederic Maio, Felix Tusa
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This working paper aims to support the ongoing efforts of the Palestinian executive authorities, security forces, independent institutions, civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media to strengthen the Palestinian complaints system. It identifies deficits in the complaints system of the Palestinian security sector and proposes recommendations to rectify them. It particularly stresses the need to improve coordination between the vast number of complaints units and calls for greater clarity on the role of civil society and the media. It hopes to raise awareness for these issues among Palestinian decision-makers and citizens and international actors. When fully functioning, the complaint handling system can be an effective source of information for the government to improve its performance and develop its services. The paper builds upon the discussions of the complaints working group, consisting of Palestinian government officials and representatives of the security forces, civil society and the media. DCAF presented the recommendations to senior Palestinian decision-makers in late September 2016, providing these with cases of international best practice.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Human Rights, Governance, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Europe, Palestine, West Bank
  • Author: Henning Sørensen
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This chapter pursues developments of Danish civil-military relations to identify changes in the degree of military influence. Two case studies are put forward. The first case deals with long-term change processes in the field of civil-military relations. In this case study, four major areas are investigated: the personnel composition of the Danish defence, its expenditures per capita, its organisational structure, and military participation in defence commissions. Changes in all four areas are pursued over the last-half century revealing increased military influence in Danish civil-military relations. A striking indicator of this development is the case of top military disobedience in 2001, which constitutes the second case study entitled 'Military disobedience of the Danish defence commander'. The consequences of the major military influence for three actors: 'politicians', 'media', and the 'armed forces' are discussed and it is argued that neither of them gains from the increased military influence, not even the professional soldiers. The reported extreme of military behaviour contrasts many examples of military respectful democratic decision-making. Reasons for the military disobedience may be explained by the distinction 'to have' or 'to exercise' democratic control, where the former is the proper type of democratic control of the armed forces and not the latter as wrongfully perceived by the former Danish Joint Chief of Staff (JCS).
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Philipp H. Fluri
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: The effort to universally promote and apply multilateral disarmament and arms control treaties requires public understanding of the contribution of such treaties to international security. All too often specialized knowledge of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation treaties remains concentrated with the executive and a few specialized departments of the Ministries of Defense or Foreign Affairs: whilst parliamentarians and the public remain largely ignorant about them. However, without either comprehensively informed and committed parliamentary oversight and guidance, or scrutiny by an empowered civil society, arms control and disarmament treaties will neither be sufficiently understood nor successfully implemented.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Civil Society, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ian Leigh
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This paper first discusses the meaning of civil society and, in particular, its strengths and limitations. The second section considers what civil society can add to the representative democratic process. In the remaining sections, I discuss how civil society interacts with the law in a democratic state. There are two distinct aspects to this. Firstly, there are the legal and constitutional pre-conditions that allow civil society to flourish. These include issues about group autonomy, freedom of the press and of protest, including the place of civil disobedience. Secondly, there are the specific ways in which civil society can use the legal process to further its ends.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marina Caparini
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Civil society has become a popular term in academic, policy and foreign assistance circles. A significant body of literature and research has developed around the concept, and its key role in consolidating and sustaining democracy is now widely recognised by academics and policy-makers alike. Successive waves of democratisation in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe have led experts to view civil society as a crucial agent for limiting authoritarian government, strengthening the empowerment of the people, and enforcing political accountability. It is considered a crucial factor in improving the quality and inclusiveness of governance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Civil Society, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Willem F. van Eekelen
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: The term security sector reform is in fashion because it recognises the need for adaptation to changed circumstances after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of fanatical terrorism, without being precise about its vast agenda. In the report 2003 of the Secretary General of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly defence sector reform was defined as the reorientation away from Cold War structures of armed forces and defence establishments through reorganisation, restructuring and downsizing in order to meet the demands of the new security environment. It is a challenge that all countries - Alliance and partners alike - have had to confront. However, the need has been particularly acute for the countries of central and eastern Europe because of the military legacy many of these countries inherited and the dire straits of many of their economies.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Civil Society, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mircea Plangu
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Bitter impressions can be presumed if we are to acknowledge that society is somehow divided into two categories: military and civilians, or vice-versa. Or if we understand that the civilians involved in security policy are a scarce resource. Reading about the concept, we can perceive hints about some obstacles existent in the activity of civilians at the interface with their military colleagues.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Heiner Hänggi
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Good governance of the security sector, when considered from a disarmament perspective, indicates linkages between two principal issue-areas in contemporary international politics, i.e. those of 'security' and 'governance'. These two issue-areas are closely intertwined, contributing to evolving definitions of the terms themselves. During the bipolar period, security was generally defined in 'hard' military terms. Following the end of the Cold War, the concept was broadened to include 'soft' and human security concerns. This was paralleled by a broadening of the concept of confidence-building measures to include, inter alia, the role of security forces in the society. The fundamental principles of good governance include transparency and accountability of the exercise of state power. The implementation of good governance of the security sector (including military, paramilitary, internal security forces, police, border guards, and intelligence services) is a long and often difficult process, and whether this can be achieved is dependent on the capability and willingness of the individual countries.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Theodor H. Winkler
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: When the Berlin Wall came crashing down and the Cold War reluctantly proved, to everybody's surprise, to be truly over, there was an apparent, almost embarrassing inability to define the key parameters that would mark the new era that had obviously dawned. Even to give it a name proved difficult. The best attempt still remains “Post Cold War World”, i.e. a negative description (the absence of the Cold War) and not a positive analysis of what truly marks the emerging new international system.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Civil Society, Cold War, Democratization, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe