Democratic Security Sector Governance

State Security Services Best Practices May 2016_3

The third multi-stakeholder conference on democratic security sector governance issues in Ukraine, held at the Verkhovna Rada on the on 24th of May, has focused on intelligence reform challenges and priorities. Participants included national and international experts, parliamentarians, and representatives of the Ukrainian government, security sector, civil society and media.

The objectives of this event were:

  • To identify current state security service reform priorities and challenges
  • To identify weaknesses in state security service oversight structures and relevant solutions
  • To outline relevant lessons learned and best practices in European democracies
  • To identify ongoing reform and capacity development needs

In this instance, the conference was organized in cooperation with the Verkhovna Rada and the NATO Liaison Office (NLO) in Ukraine.  

This conference is part of a Kingdom of the Netherlands’-funded project, implemented by DCAF and the Razumkov Centre, which aims to facilitate public awareness and wider public communication on democratic oversight of the security sector in Ukraine.

Democratic oversight of intelligence services is now an established best practice in European democracies. However, the failures of NATO partners and even new NATO member states to fully reform their intelligence services – as became apparent in the early 1990s and early 2000s – has served to reinforce the critical importance of intelligence reform programming and the establishment of appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms.

Ukraine has already benefited from a substantive intelligence governance programme between 2005-2009 via the auspices of the NATO Liaison Office’s Joint Working Group on Defence Reform (JWGDR), an initiative in which DCAF, NLO and the NATO Policy and Planning department cooperated to outline a range of best practices. During that period a Citizen’s Council was established in the SBU to address complaints and address other policy issues including finances, a ‘Code of Ethics’ was developed and validated and a White Book on the Security Service and Intelligence Services of Ukraine (2007) was also developed to help outline and identify policy and programming priorities.

With ongoing assistance rendered to Ukraine in defence, law enforcement, justice and Rule of Law spheres, international attention – at the instigation of Ukrainian institutions – has begun to focus on intelligence reform. An advisory board on reforms has been formed with international representation, and EUAM has begun trainings on investigations.

 Conference Proceedings 3


Photo credit: Ivan Bandura (Flickr)

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