WASHINGTON – The United States Helsinki Commission will conduct a hearing to examine international efforts to deploy civilian police contingents in post-conflict OSCE regions, and to monitor and train local police for effectiveness in keeping with democratic standards. Efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations will be a central focus of the hearing.
Civilian Police and Police Training in Post-Conflict OSCE Areas
Wednesday, September 5, 2001
10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
385 Russell Senate Office Building
Scheduled to testify:
Steve Bennett, Director, OSCE Kosovo Police Service School
J. Michael Stiers, former Deputy Commissioner, UN International Police Task Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Gerard T. Beekman, Special Assistant to the UN Police Advisor, and former Police Advisor, OSCE Mission to Croatia (to be confirmed)
Robert M. Perito, Senior Fellow in the Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace at the United States Institute of Peace
International civilian police missions have been deployed under OSCE or UN auspices during the 1990s in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo. Their task has been to support international peacekeeping in areas recovering from conflict while simultaneously undergoing democratic transition.
NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, U.S. Air Force General Joseph Ralston recently briefed several Commissioners on the importance of civilian policing, highlighting related needs in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He suggested that enhanced efforts in policing are needed before U.S. military personnel deployed in that country can depart.
Hundreds of American police officers have participated in such missions around the globe. In February 2000, the federal government established an inter-agency effort to replace the ad hoc approach to this growing field of international activity.
International civilian police efforts are expected to cover the gap between multilateral peacekeeping efforts undertaken by military contingents and the need to establish and maintain civilian public order.
Military units are often confronted by civilians but lack the experience or mandate of law enforcement bodies to respond to such situations, yet there has often been little or no alternative in post-conflict areas.
The hearing will examine the successes, problems and lessons learned to date from current policing activities in southeastern Europe, as well as their applicability to new situations, like those in Macedonia and south Serbia, where police reform could lessen tensions and prove critical to rebuilding public confidence.
Other efforts, including the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary, and bilateral programs, may also be discussed as part of the overall U.S. experience in this area.