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Academic Event – Security Sector Reform in the Balkans

Academic Event – Security Sector Reform in the Balkans

Failure of Power: Police Reform in Bosnia

Cvete Konekska‚ University of Oxford, UK


Since Arend Lijphart’s first conceptualization of power-sharing (consociational democracy) in 1968 it has become a popular idea in post-conflict democratization and reconciliation both among academics and professionals. The peace agreements that ended the ethnic conflicts in the Balkans, Dayton, Ohrid and Ahtisaari’s agreements, propose various versions of power-sharing arrangements for Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo. Their success in democratizing these divided societies is mixed as these are regional laggards in terms of democratic consolidation and economic growth. This paper ventures to explore the factors that led to failure of power-sharing during attempts at police reform in Bosnia between 2004 and 2008. Police reform is one of the most sensitive issues in post-Dayton reforms in Bosnia, which led to failure despite the repeated international efforts to get domestic political elites to cooperate, and past records of successful accommodation over reforms in the military and wider security and justice system. Exploring the  reasons behind political elites’ failure to agree over police reform reveals the limitations of power-sharing systems as institutional tools aimed at post-conflict democratic politics and its problematic aspects. Based on empirical data collected between 2009-2010 the findings suggest that perceptions of groups security, perceptions of international actors’ intentions as well as perceptual and institutional legacies of territoriality of ethnic groups explain the failure better than explanations based on ethnic relations and differences. These findings suggest links between literatures on democratization, power-sharing and informal institutions that open space for further research.


DCAF and SSR in Bulgaria

Nikolay Pavlinov Pavlov‚ Centre for National Security and Defense Research/Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria


This paper presents a case study of Bulgaria’s efforts towards effective democratic control of the Armed Forces (DCAF) and Security Sector Reform (SSR) in the period after 1989. The main thesis is that the fulfillment of  NATO and EU membership requirements in this sphere did not automatically lead to better performance of Bulgaria’s security sector which became fragmented, feudalized and some of its elements even privatized. The principle of DCAF and civilianization of the Defense Ministry were used mainly in political power games. Nationalisation of  the security sector is needed in order to achieve real national support, civil society involvement and to fill DCAF and SSR with substance in the future.


The Evolution Civil-Military Relations and Democratization in the Balkans

Nihat Celik‚ Kadir Has University, Turkey


Civil control over the military, the principle of non-interference in politics and accountability are generally accepted as universal norms in civil-military relations in democratic regimes. The security culture in a country, which is shaped by the experience of centuries and traditions, affect the nature of civil-military relations. Even though there are widely accepted norms, it is hard to apply one theory to every country. Apart from the security culture and geopolitics, military, constitutional and bureaucratic structure of a given country determines the course of civil-military relations. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, a process of transition from authoritarian regimes to democracy and from command economy to market economy began. As a direct result, the structure of civil-military relations also began to change.  International support like the EU and NATO membership visions and also internal demands for a developed democratic regime were the main stimulants in this transition process. In the former Warsaw Pact or successor states of the former Yugoslavia, due to the varying political, geographical, cultural and structural conditions, the evolution of civil-military relations has followed different paths. Although it is possible to observe some common patterns, it is hard to make reliable generalizations in this regard. This paper mainly aims to combine theoretical and regional knowledge and produce policy relevant results which may be useful for decision-makers. The first aim of this paper is to analyse the evolution of civil-military relations in post-Communist Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Serbia with a focus on successes and failures. After sorting current problems, it will secondly try to address the question what should be done in order to establish a more democratic structure of civil-military relations.


The Public Has No Right to Know: Is Transperancy Good for Reaching Peace?

Marko Savković‚ Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, Serbia


When Neil Barnard, who led South Africa’s National Intelligence Service in the 1980s, was asked in 1995 how negotiations to end apartheid were successfully concluded, he replied that “each and every side had to give so much that you can never do it under the public eye”. It is an old decision-makers’ fear—that public opinion, prone to manipulation and once informed of the more sensitive terms of a peace agreement, will discard it completely. Yet in a multiethnic context, this is a presumption that goes against the very essence of consensus-based democracy. And it is repeating. For instance, the Middle East region recently witnessed a “WikiLeaks”-styled affair of its own, with 11 years of otherwise secret transcripts of Arab-Israeli communication being posted online. The Palestinian public was immediately outraged, but the world media failed to notice why. Negotiators were criticized not because they were prepared to compromise heavily with the Israelis (even abandoning the Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem) but for presenting themselves as hardliners and thus misleading the general public. Citizens of Macedonia went through a similar experience. The Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA), which brought the 2001 civil conflict to an end, was met with great acclaim. The OFA represented a road map for transforming Macedonia into a bi-national state. It was preceded by long negotiations, heavily influenced by international actors, of which the public was kept generally unaware. From the moment it was signed, the OFA was bound to set off controversy, simply because of the scope of the changes it proposed. Nevertheless, its core messages were diligently communicated to citizens. In our paper, we critically re-examine the motivation of decision-makers in Macedonia by shedding light on those terms of the OFA that were – and continue to be today – among the most difficult to implement. By doing so we will answer the simple question of whether or not transparency is a general precondition to the successful implementation of a peace agreement.




Katerina Gachevska‚ Birmingham City University