Pragmatic Realism in Justice and Security Development

TitlePragmatic Realism in Justice and Security Development
Publication TypeBook
Subtitle / Series TitleSupporting improvement in the performance of non-state/local justice and security networks
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsScheye, E
Number of Pages64 pp.
PublisherClingendael Institute
Accession Number1344

This report reviews and outlines many of the important conceptual and policy challenges and opportunities for donors to support the strengthening of the performance of non-state/local justice and security networks. Given the poor track record of the current statebuilding approach, the report argues that donor-supported justice and security programming ought to adopt a pragmatic realism approach that recognizes the different nature and structure of power and authority in the fragile, post-colonial state. Because of the vitality of the networks of the 'second state', this approach would proportion a significant percentage of assistance, in the short- to intermediate-term, to improving the performance of non-state/local justice and security networks and building more effective and accountable links and relationships between the state and these networks.The report concludes that the key to determining what defines a 'significant percentage' of donor support is an understanding of the multi-layered politics, societies, and dynamic balances of power that characterize most fragile, post-colonial states. A pragmatic realism approach does not propose to support local/non-state justice and security networks indiscriminately, as donors would continue to support the accountable delivery of service by state institutions. It also recognizes the need of donors to be aware of potential elite capture of non-state/local justice and security networks and the need to protect minority and women's rights, though it ought to be understood that these challenges are comparable to those that exist when working with state actors. Even as the choice of which networks to engage with depends upon the realities of the local context, it also hinges upon the donor's political judgement and its perception of its national interests. In this sense, a pragmatic realism approach requires donor flexibility and a willingness to take and manage risk. Practically, it would mean distributing small amounts of money to a large number of recipients - civil society groups, NGOs, and non-state/local justice and security networks. This could be done through a 'justice and security venture capital fund', equivalent to the 'funds' that have proliferated in community-driven development programmes in the multi-layered post-colonial world.

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