Ukraine

Democratic Security Sector Governance

Security sector governance refers to the process by which accountable security institutions transparently supply security as a public good via transparent policies and practices.  Accountability of security institutions is affected by democratic oversight performed by a range of stakeholders including democratic institutions, government, civil society, and the media. Security sector reform is the process by which security institutions are subordinated to oversight mechanisms, vetting, and lustration in order to deliver transparent and accountable public services as a public good. Security sector governance reinforces the rule of law.

Democratic Governance and Oversight of the Security Sector

 

Democratic governance of the security sector comprises the active performance of individual and cooperative oversight functions by:

  • Democratic Institutions
  • Independent Oversight Institutions / Ombuds Institutions
  • Civil Society
  • Media
  • Executive
  • Government
  • Security Sector Institutions

 

Credible oversight and management of the security sector remains vital in order to ensure democratic and economic development. The overall rationale for ensuring substantive democratic governance of the security sector is to:

 

  • Enhance citizens’ safety and public security;
  • Strengthen security provision;
  • Enable democratic institutions to monitor and amend security sector policies and practices and ensure compliance with international standards;
  • Embed transparency and accountability mechanisms across the security sector;
  • Encourage the development and maintenance of a democratic culture rooted in respect for the rule of law and human rights within security institutions;
  • Provide effective checks and balances to ensure that security sector actors cannot commit abuses or human rights violations;
  • Manage the security sector cost-effectively in order to avoid a financially resource-heavy security sector; and reduce the possibilities for corruption;
  • Manage human and financial resources effectively, including effective disciplinary measures and career management structures, and encourage professionalism and respect for authority among security sector officials;
  • Promote the security sector as representative institutions of the society at large, ensuring equitable participation of women, and minorities.

 

Democratic governance of the security sector must ensure that security agencies and their staff meet expected standards of performance and behaviour as defined through laws, policies, practices and relevant social and cultural norms. These principles apply not only at management level, but also that of the individual staff member. In particular, security institutions should:

 

  • Prevent abuses of power and authority (by security actors themselves or by other interest groups);
  • Use resources appropriately and effectively through appropriate budgetary management;
  • Be as transparent as possible, making appropriate information available to other government agencies, oversight bodies and the general public;
  • Uphold human rights both by preventing abuses within the security sector itself and by preventing and investigating abuses in society as a whole;
  • Address the security needs of all people for whom they are responsible, regardless of sex, ethnicity, religion, age, or income.

 

Effective governance of the security sector is based on sustaining security institutions that are:

 

  • Governed internally and externally by a legal and institutional framework;
  • Accountable to the authorities and to the population;
  • Transparently managed according to codified standards and practices;
  • Based on, and responsive to, people’s needs;
  • Based on fair and equitable representation.

 

Resources

UN SSR Guidance Note on Democratic Governance of the Security Sector

DCAF Security Sector Reform Backgrounder

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Legislating for the Security Sector Toolkit: Police Legislation Model: The Japanese Police Law and The Police Duties Execution Law

This booklet contains the Japanese police legislation in its original form as well as its articles reorganised by topic. This allows legislators to easily identify the specific topics that need to be covered in a police law and compare between differen … read more

Legislating for the Security Sector Toolkit: Police Legislation Model: The Swedish Police Act

This booklet contains the Swedish police law in its original form as well as its articles reorganised by topic. This allows legislators to easily identify the specific topics that need to be covered in a police law and compare the different models.

Legislating for the Security Sector Toolkit: The Colombian Military Criminal Code

This booklet contains the Colombian military criminal code reorganised by topic. This allows legislators to easily identify the specific topics that need to be covered in such a law and compare between different models of laws.

Legislating for the Security Sector Toolkit: The South African Military Discipline Supplementary Measures Act

This booklet contains the South African Military Discipline Supplementary Measures Act in its original form as well as its articles reorganised by topic. This allows legislators to easily identify the specific subjects that need to be covered in such a … read more

Legislating for the Security Sector Toolkit: Principles Governing the Administration of Justice through Military Tribunals

This publication contains the 20 Principles Governing the Administration of Justice through Military Tribunals as outlined by the Commission on Human Rights.

Legislating for the Security Sector Toolkit: The Argentinian National Intelligence Law

This booklet contains The Argentinian National Intelligence Law, 2001 and the Regulation of the National Intelligence Act, 2002 in its original form as well as the provisions of this legislation which are reorganised by topic. This allows lawmakers to … read more

Legislating for the Security Sector Toolkit: The Netherlands’ Intelligence and Security Services Act

This booklet contains the Dutch Intelligence and Security Services Act in its original form as well as the provisions of this legislation which are reorganised by topic. This allows lawmakers to easily identify the specific subjects that should be cove … read more

Legislating for the Security Sector Toolkit: The Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act

This booklet contains the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act in its original form as well as the provisions of this legislation which are reorganised by topic. This allows lawmakers to easily identify the specific subjects that should be covere … read more

Legislating for the Security Sector Toolkit: Compilation of Good Practices for Intelligence Agencies and their Oversight

The Compilation of Good Practices within the Security Sector Toolkit highlights the legal and institutional frameworks and measures that ensure respect for human rights by intelligence agencies while countering terrorism. The toolkit also identifies in … read more

Defence Sector Reform

The purpose of this policy is to guide the United Nations support to national defence sector reform (DSR) efforts. It outlines the parameters and components of this support, including principles, core tasks and constraints. The policy also highlights l … read more

SSR: Narrowing the Gap between Theory and Practice

The persistent gap between theory and practice in SSR can be a source of much irritation and disappointment at failures to implement SSR norms as well as in response to concepts and strategies that seem unhelpfully far removed from local realities. Thi … read more

Parliamentary Powers in Security Sector Governance

This publication contains two sections: First, an introductory text on parliamentary oversight with the aim to help parliamentarians and non-parliamentarians alike to understand what the powers of an ambitious, competent and well-prepared parliament an … read more

Parliamentary Oversight of Security and Intelligence Agencies in the European Union

This study evaluates the oversight of national security and intelligence agencies by parliaments and specialised, non-parliamentary oversight bodies with a view to identifying good practices that inform the European Parliament’s approach to strengtheni … read more

Building Integrity and Countering Corruption in Defence and Security

This Handbook has a simple purpose: to show busy decision-makers how significant progress can be made in tackling corruption in defence and security. It is increasingly recognised that corruption is central to the challenges in peace support and state- … read more

Ethical Guidelines for Contact with Business and Industry in the Defence Sector

“Ethical Guidelines for Contact with Business and Industry in the Defence Sector” was first issued by the Ministry of Defence in April 2007. This revised edition of these guidelines aims to clarify and simplify the rules that apply. The revision is par … read more

Civilianisation of the Defence Ministry: A Functional Approach to a Modern Defence Institution

This paper seeks to contribute to an informed and constructive discussion on how the civilianisation of the defence ministry could be conceptualized and managed within the framework of an overall defence transformation. The paper offers a methodologica … read more

Defence Institution Building Self-Assessment Kit: A Diagnostic Tool for Nations Building Defence Institutions

The Defence Institution Building Self-Assessment Kit is an instrument developed within the framework of the NATO initiative called Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building (PAP-DIB). It is aimed at the nations identified by the PAB-DIB d … read more

Security Sector Reform in Ukraine: Quo Vadis?

This publication assesses the current status and future reform plans of some of Ukraine’s key security sector components in light of changing threats and challenges in the international arena.

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