Current Research Projects

Constitutional Reform Processes and Security Sector Reform: Principles for Practice

Negotiating a new constitution is an important element of a political transition to constitutional democracy. Security sector reform is often a critical factor for a successful transition, and a central topic for negotiation during the constitution building process. Given the variety of actors involved, and the wide differences in background and interests between them, negotiations risk failure due to a lack of understanding of mutual and different interests. Few to no resources exist, either to provide guidance on how to structure the process of security sector reform negotiations, or to offer an account of how parties involved in constitutional negotiations should set the agenda for security sector reform

The project’s objective is to provide a set of guiding principles for security sector reform in the context of constitution building processes. These guiding principles will be drawn from a highly structured comparative analysis of selected case studies of security sector reform in the context of constitutional transition. The audience is individuals and groups in security sector agencies, political parties, civil society and international entities seeking to engage in or support security sector reform during times of constitutional transition. By providing detailed studies of each case, it is intended that the analysis of challenges and lessons learned, and the process and design successes in each case, will provide a valuable addition to the resources available to those wishing to further their understanding of how security sector reform works in practice in times of democratic transition.

Partner: The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).

Steering Committee: Zoltan Barany (University of Texas at Austin); Sumit Bisarya (International IDEA), Sujit Choudhry (Constitutional Transitions), and Richard Stacey (Constitutional Transitions).

Experts: 17 experts from 13 countries.

Outputs: policy manual directed at practitioners in the field and a policy audience; edited volume published by a leading university press, combining case studies, thematic papers and a broad  overview directed at an academic and research audience; online working papers freely available online.

Status: In progress; expert network meeting in The Hague in April 2014; projected completion: Spring 2015.