Many countries worldwide are looking for ways to transform their militias, tribal forces, and dominant military into reliable, democratically controlled, and accountable security services. In that aspect, countries are looking at security sector reform as a massive milestone towards their democratic status.
Sujit Choudhry and his team wrote a book titled Security Sector Reform in Constitutional Transition to challenge the consensus that stipulates that SSR may not play a vital role in constitutional transitions and democratic rule.
They argue that the current agreement involves having the security sector out of politics and maintaining civil-military relations under a democratic footing. All the while making sure that a new or emerging civilian authority doesn’t take advantage and manipulate and abuse the security sector.
The agreement also stipulates that if there is a transfer of power from an authoritarian to a democratic authority, the military should engage to ensure effective constitutional transition but should remain in its barracks.
The military can only engage when required to cede control to the incoming civilian authorities but only with reasonable dispatch. They are not to retain their status afterward.
However, the book vividly shows how the co-relation between the SSR is much more complicated than it looks like in the agreement. It gives an illustration of stability and how it acts as a crucial element in constitution building.
It further describes how it works towards creating a thriving economic environment and providing a basis for healing and reconciling the country after several authoritarian experiences.
It also illustrates how the failure to maintain security can still hinder the transition to democracy by showing an example of the civil war in Yemen and Libya.
About Sujit Choudhry
Sujit Choudhry has always been an advocate for change. Having taken on Omar Khadr’s case, a Canadian citizen held at Guantanamo Bay to the Supreme Court of Canada to seek justice.
He also served as a Governing Toronto Advisory Panel member and drafted a proposal that set the ball rolling toward restructuring the city’s government.
Sujit has also been a teacher at NYU. He taught Comparative Constitutional law and worked to build a center to deploy his students and colleagues to post-conflict nations dealing with constitutional issues. Connect: https://www.facebook.com/SujitChoudhryLaw/