On storytelling

Like others before, I have reached a point where I give up hesitating to add my voice on dangers inflicted on all of us by the current incumbent of the Office of the President of the United States of America. As a former public servant I feel like many former holders of office in the U.S., staying out of a polarised antagonizing debate. But like others, I see that I can not uphold this reservation any longer. However, I am not doing this because I want to join the polarised army of do-gooders. I am doing this because I want to make a point by saying that, potentially, an important piece in the puzzle explaining what is happening may still be missing. A piece which might help in better predicting of what will happen in the weeks and months ahead.

October 5, 2020: Over my last tea before falling asleep I watched news about the President of the United States returning to the White House from Walter Reed Hospital despite a still ongoing medical treatment of a Covid-19-infection which had led to a hospitalisation just a few days earlier. I could see the story he was about to tell already in his preceeding tweets in which he spoke so ominously about what he had learned, that he really got it, and how good he feels. He was prepping his followership for the pathetic show ahead.

The evening news carried the story of him returning to the White House. From everything medical experts can tell, it is near certain that he continued to be contagious when he, in a premeditated way walking up an illuminated stairway to the second level of the White House, took off his face-mask with a pompous fake gesture of dignity, saluting Marine One as the helicopter flew off. Like to millions of other people it looked ridiculously childish and immature to me, but it was a calculated gesture aiming for a core audience within his base of followers: The believers and superspreaders of conspiracy theories that elevate him to the protector of the American people against all evil, including the monsters from Avengers’ Endgame lurking at the fences of the White House premises. Equal “monsters” with “Dems” and “Fake Press”, then you have the story he tells, and further develops.

I consumed the outrage and frenzy of the press about it, including about his callous calling on the American people not to take the virus too seriously, through some Twitter messages earlier that evening, before he left Walter Reed Hospital.

Then I woke up the following morning and I watched the news about his re-playing the helicopter salutation after Marine One had left. The aim was to shoot “proper” footage that could be used for a pompous and manipulative display of his godly return to the office for his followers. The news read: “Infected Trump re-shoots entrance into White House with camera crew https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/10/05/trump-no-mask-white-house-camera-crew-balcony-collins-lklv-ebof-vpx.cnn“. The polarized press acted on it either with messages of appreciation, or, like the above, with ever louder outrage. I watched anchormen and commenters in utter exasperation, displaying helplessness, and fury, literally with tears in their eyes, in light of more than 200.000 Covid-19-deaths in the U.S. alone, at that time, and still counting.

Many of those who read my blog have watched that by themselves, so what is my point? What is the additional thing that makes this blog entry standing apart from just being another outcry of anger and hurt? In order to see where Trump is going, one needs to understand the inner workings of his mind first. Much has been said there, some has not. I am venturing into the part which has not been said, as far as I can tell.

Throughout October 6 it quickly transpired that the pompous setup of the night before was to support establishing the storytelling narrative of a heroic selfless leader who went through all this at the virtual frontline of an alleged pandemic for his people. Or so he told through his Twitterphone. My point is that this, at best, may be only half of the truth. At worse, it may be a by-product of something much more serious: A high-risk gambling pattern that can be identified in Trump’s life on uncounted occasions, and including as recent as during the last elections. It is not only that Donald Trump re-invents himself in a situation of financial or political bancruptcy. I suspect that he may, consciously or not, create the situations from which he then seemingly escapes, demonstrating his “unique capacity” to re-define himself against all odds. I suspect that he may have no choice but doing just that, because he may need that kick.

We know from psychological experts that he appears to be on the extreme end of a narcissistic scale, and that he is absolutely incapable to empathise, which is also an indication for a severe sociopathic disorder. However, stories like the above make me believe that he, in addition, may carry the hallmarks of a severe addiction disorder.

Trump has a track record of being at his best in manipulating a situation when everyone believes that he already has lost the battle, by appearing to foolishly placing the noose around his own neck. Think, for example, the second debate at the eve of the 2016 elections: Remember the Locker Room Talks? I believe that he may actively get himself into these seemingly foolish situations because he needs the kick from a high-risk gamble which, at the end, needs to demonstrate his superiority. The more often he is winning this game, the more often he needs it, and the deeper his own delusional belief in his superiority. If I look at the super-spreader event one week earlier in the Rose Garden when he announced his candidate for the vacancy at the U.S. Supreme Court, I can not help but ask: How much of this carelessness is based on delusional thinking, how much is based on cold-blooded knowledge, and how much is based on the mindblowingly selfish and destructive, reality-denying mind of an addict who has no means to stop doing whatever is needed for getting the kick? We know from troves of scientific research, as well as from all practical experience represented by recovering addicts that the strongest kicks come from behavioral addictive patterns, not from substance abuse. You can be an addict of the worst kind, destroying yourself and others, without drinking, smoking, or doing drugs.

In this version of attempting to explain what happened, Trump literally would have no choice: He would have to get the virus, to run the risks involved because there was no other way to get the next kick. Like the heroin addict knowing there is a risk of OD’ing, and a part of that person’s mind even hoping that this is happening.

This is like to create the rabbit hole yourself that you then slide down. Success reinforces his belief in his superiority, and at the very same time, the ever deepening craving to feel more of the kick, again. In this vicious cycle, nothing is good enough for repetition, the kick requires more of the same, in ever increasing doses, and in ever shorter cycles.

We may witness the moment of history giving birth to an autocrat of the most dangerous kind: A person suffering from the combined delusional effects stemming from narcissism, sociopathic disorder, and behavioral addiction to power and extreme forms of gambling: The narcissist persona requires the constant need of being validated as superior and invincible. The sociopath persona provides the cold-blooded analytical capability of knowing how to manipulate other people for reckless application of own selfish needs only. Remember: Sociopaths are masters in identifying the weak and blind spots of empaths. They have a PhD in manipulation sciences. But the addict persona adds the need for the kick through high-risk gambling, as we have seen in the 2016 elections, and everything before, and after, until today.

The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was clearly exasperated when she, on October 7, spoke about the potential impact of steroids on the President’s thinking and decisionmaking as he was telling his negotiators to walk away from talks on a stimulus package relieving American people from economic effects of the Covid-19-pandemic. If my contribution to explaining Donald Trump’s behavior is correct, this may be true, but only be a part of the story: The other part is the elated feeling coming from a mind-altering drug which is produced by the body itself: Dopamine. I highly reccommend the book “The Deepest Well” by Nadine Burke Harris. Read what she has to say on the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences on, in this case, the Ventral Tegmental Area of the human brain.

Assuming the above scenario is true, what would be different compared to what we already know? In this scenario

(1) Trump’s unwillingness to concede any defeat has to be understood as an absolute inability to concede defeat;

(2) The delusional storytelling creates a personal world in which leaving the White House is impossible to even think about. It is a mental no-go-area, the option of walking out with dignity does not exist. Myriads of options exist how to make it happen to stay, and to get kicks all along the way;

(3) Meaning that, if that would be true, any assessment characterizing his mental state as “panicking” would need correction. Because, how fatigued must a 74-year-old be after a life with so many panicking moments? No, it is not fatiguing, it is creating a kick;

(4) Meaning that, if that would be true, we see the progressive part. The need for a kick comes in shorter intervals, and the dose needs to be much higher in order to achieve any effect. That then constitutes the real danger for the American people, and the World;

(5) How could the above be proven? In theory, that is easy: Take away his Twitterphone and you will see the effects of withdrawal. In practice, it is impossible: Try to take away the Twittertoy from the President of the United States, and you will be in trouble.

The reckless insane behavior of this incumbent of the great Office of the President of the United States puts not only my values, but my life, and the life of my children at grave risk. I am not morally judging Donald Trump. Many of my blog entries are being motivated by the desire to understand the devastating impact of a brain disease called “addiction“. I feel great pity and compassion for Donald Trump. The problem: This person has a “red button” at close range, carried around by an aide whereever the President goes.

On Aspects of Security, Crime, and Crime Control

Dear reader, I am deeply sorry: I took all the juicy case studies out! So this is the condense, admittedly very intense version of reading, without the narrative of why we find ourselves in situations like these. My professional line of work is political, and I will not mix this part with what I can say, in my personal capacity, in public, and what I can say simply because we All say this. The interrelationship is obvious, and the message needs to get out: There is no alternative to assisting in overcoming conflicts that are so different from what we have seen before. Neither there is an alternative to containing such conflicts, nor to assistance building the capacity in these States.

Just this afternoon, I was asked to brief a group of national politicians visiting the UN. Not only that all were surprised about what we do, I had to find answer to the question: “Why are we doing all this?”

My answer is the same like the United Nations military Force Commander of our Mission MINUSCA in Mali used, when he was asked “Why?’, in a BBC video. His reply at the end of this video, which by the way depicts many UNPOL officers: “Because no one else does it“.

 

So, again, here you go:

In every society, two major forces drive the construction of mechanisms that realize the provision of security, maintenance of order, and adjudication of justice: Consent and imposition. All systems establish variations of this, except on some occasions their two most extreme forms: Pure anarchy and pure dictatorship. Democratic systems strive for maximum consent. Member States of the UN establish variations which the UN must accept, within fundamental boundaries of least common denominators, passionately working on achieving more common ground.

The results in all chosen variations, the rich diversity that one can see within all Member States of the UN, includes the notion of the specific values and the cultural context underpinning the fabric of chosen forms of governance: How a specific system of providing security and justice is set up depends on the history, including that of values, in a society.

From a UN policing perspective, this understanding is critically important for providing security, and addressing the nexus between crime and crime control: Except for cases of internationally defined crime, like for example, crime against humanity, or genocide, common definitions vary in every local context. The legal definition of human action which is commonly considered constituting an act of less grievous crime will, at best, be similar. Likewise, and perhaps more importantly, the understanding of how a given society wants to deal with providing security for its citizens and with crime control varies. The definition of a crime fitting into the category of, say, sexual exploitation and abuse, differs as much from one local context to another as the way how to prevent, to investigate, to prosecute, how to punish, and how to deal with perpetrators and victims during that process, and in the aftermath.

Thus, for capacity building it is critical to find a common denominator, a consensus for all, on the side of those who rebuild, and the side of those who assist. Driven by the fundamental values underpinning the UN, UNPOL strives for the maximum, rather than the least common denominator. This holds true for the substance of assistance, but also for the methodology of how to assist: In absence of any common denominator, there otherwise is a less homogenous (at best) group of different experts with a national background, applying some “coherence” borne from pragmatism and realpolitik in any given situation. The frequent rotation of international personnel adds. These last two dry sentences carry the weight of experiences of countless situations in every single peace operation of all international organizations, describing the limitations of such well-meant and best intended, but limited approaches.

Rarely, a change in the national composition of peacekeepers assisting in capacity building will leave longer term concepts of implementation unaffected. Alternatives, such as specialized teams made from coherent professional background, perhaps even from neighboring security and justice systems, may alleviate this problem, but still a joint conceptual understanding is necessary for any organization composed of staff from the many different Member States of the UN. Sustainability of impact depends on coherence, vision, strategy, and partnership. This is why the development of the United Nations Police Strategic Guidance Framework SGF sits at the core of all long-term work of the Police Division.

Contemporary challenges as described in this chapter make it even more challenging to act without a joint conceptual framework, if one looks at the duration of assistance needed, of which PKO and SPM are only a part, and the complexity of interwoven factors. More recent history provides a few examples for a coherent national and complex, long lasting assistance scheme. One example for such cases is the German reunification after 1989, leading to intense and very costly partnerships between German States from the former “West Germany”, and their new partners from the East, integrating themselves with assistance into the reunited Germany as of today.  Some States have taken responsibility for assistance in their geographic region, as for example Australia does admirably in the case of Timor Leste, and other neighbors. The UN system does not work like that, it requires a broader participation, and it should, at least as a whole, represent the contribution of efforts of the entire constituency.

It also has been shown in earlier chapters to which extent policing in PKO and SPM co-exists with policing capacity and expertise provided by AU and EU, or bilaterally. But even where the UN system builds on regional contributions, the challenge of harmonization, coherence of policy and ability to contribute through trained expertise is extremely demanding. And lastly, the UN system of peace operations can not solely implement mandates by taking recourse to national support efforts, including those of willing neighbors, for many reasons. These efforts can be very useful and important, but will always need to be a part. The whole, therefore, requires a common denominator.

The common denominator for UN policing begins with an understanding of what policing and the rule of law are about, in our work, and as a prerogative for any assistance to domestic capacity building. On its uppermost level it is described within the policy document “United Nations Police in Peacekeeping Operations and Special Political Missions⁠1“, our entry point into the Strategic Guidance Framework:

(1) “For the United Nations, the rule of law refers to a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency⁠2.

(2)Policing refers to a function of governance responsible for the prevention, detection and investigation of crime; protection of persons and property; and the maintenance of public order and safety. Police and law enforcement officials have the obligation to respect and protect human rights, including the right to life, liberty and security of the person, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other relevant instruments. Pursuant to the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, police and other law enforcement officials are required, at all times, to fullfil the duty imposed upon them by law, by serving the community and by protecting all persons against illegal acts, consistent with the high degree of responsibility required by their profession.⁠3

This is why the strategic focus of the SGF has always been finding a way how to harmonize the assistance, using the rich experience of the many different cultures of policing, but striving for separating this from the less guided and less homogenous use of diversity of expertise stemming from local contexts within the countries UNPOL officers come from: Like a Police Director in a host country that witnessed almost seventeen years of police capacity building assistance, sitting at the helm of the local version of an FBI, once said to a new incoming Chief Adviser: “You are the umpteenth new Chief Adviser to me. Which new wisdom do you bring to my office?” This sentence both reflects the critical importance of finding the right duration of assistance, but equally important the harmonization needs, and preventing these harmonization needs from reaching levels of detail which should be entirely left to local emanation of concepts.

But what if the prerogative for assistance to capacity building is not there? What if the reality on the ground, for a variety of reasons, inhibits efforts to build capacity, whilst the very threats for peace and security, against which this domestic capacity is so direly needed, is on the rise? What if, therefore, peacekeeping finds itself in a protracted period of having to contain a situation, including the protection of civilians, whilst actors who threaten the very peace process are including non-identifiable parties to the conflict?

Contemporary United Nations multidimensional mandates often include, amongst other tasks of peacekeeping operations, the tasks of protecting civilians, and capacity building. From a security perspective the military and police components of these PKO contribute to containing a given situation of conflict, or stemming from conflict. They apply deterrence, and to some extent coercion in an effort to give a political process space, towards peace and security. The momentous task lies with that these missions need to move a political process, utilizing the impact and momentum generated by such containment. This requires to support domestic capacity building, and begins already with the interrelationship with domestic actors on the protection of civilians. It can be a complex “jumpstart” process, from disorder into a structured “pathfinding”, leading to appropriate solutions supporting the begin of regular capacity building⁠4.

A comprehensive case study identifies several different challenges for UNPOL:

(1) In a group of UN peace operations, the path into gaining results from capacity building for the peace process is not opened yet, stuck, or seriously impeded in its conceptualization and operationalization, due to a variety of reasons;

(2) In some of the above situations these deficiencies are conducive to a (re)surge of violent extremism and terror stemming from regional and global connections, producing regional and global consequences;

(3) More recently, crime plays an increasing role, in collaboration with violent extremism, and terror;

(4) UNPOL is challenged beyond a more classical understanding of it’s role in protecting civilians, and capacity building, as a consequence of the impact of crime to the instability and threat to the host State, mission mandate, and mission personnel.

When describing these challenges, the successful cases tend to disappear towards the back row. However, the successful cases of Bosnia&Herzegovina, Kosovo, Timor Leste, Sierra Leone, they exist. Haiti, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, they are situations aspiring to be added to the group of successful country situations.

Yet, these contemporary cases stand out: Crime has become a pressing component of threats against peace and security, and peace operations. At the same time the path into capacity building is severely hampered by this very crime, violent extremism, and terror. The scenario resembles the scenario of asymmetric war fighting: Neither are conventional military responses developed for symmetric wars capable means for asymmetric military situations, nor is a political effort of promoting peace, including through assistance to capacity building, effective if it can not address the asymmetric attacks which come from the nexus of crime, violent extremism, and terror. PKO and SPM alike in these situations operate under the same challenges as were confronting the International Community in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Prognosis

(a) From emerging experience with these cases, and monitoring the development in Africa and the Middle East, there is indication that such cases constitute a trend. Country situations in which UNPOL in PKO and SPM are deployed have a regional context with neighbors which face similar trajectories. The relevant crime dimension never acts local, but at least regional, and often in a global context, as the dimensions of violent extremism and terror do, too.

(b) In relation to PKO and SPM, criminals and an increasingly large group of extremists promoting violence and terror are not recognized parties to the conflict, or are excluded from being part of the peace process because of their terrorist affiliation, or are hiding in plain sight, being part of peace mediation efforts, but having second agendas motivated by crime, and corruption. Efforts of capacity building get prolonged, if started at all, and the encompassing deterioration of the security and overall situation weakens the credibility of peace operations. Direct and increasingly often lethal attacks against peacekeepers thus, in this anticipation, may become the worrying norm. Crime in the form of Serious and Organized Crime SOC has begun to play a new role in contributing to drivers of conflict, threatening peace processes. Our work on establishing conducive environments for building peace and security is affected by the nexus between crime, violent extremism, and terror,⁠7 all benefitting from what we understand as endemic corruption.

Nation States are the constituting elements of contemporary international order. This system calls for restoration of (legitimate) State authority in a case of post-conflict engagement by peace operations. In an era of globalization, these elements of consent and control, however, are fundamentally challenged by non State actors who act regional, and global, including through using means of the borderless Internet. The notion of a “global village” is wrong. It’s more looking like a global paradigm change, with all the chaotic phases that come with these.

In an earlier article⁠8 I wrote: “In most UN peace operations, we see security and justice institutions incapacitated by conflict. Establishing sustainable governance in communities, nations and states is a core element in the process of achieving peace and security.

While the mandate implementation plan of a peace operation is adapted to both its local and regional context, every conflict into which we deploy is also tied to a global context. The global drivers of conflict are thus interconnected with each and every peace operation. Awareness of these undercurrents, including for example the collaboration of transnational organized crime with extremists and terrorists, is critical in preparing modern peace operations to effectively discharge their mandate and help put fragile countries emerging from conflict on the road towards sustainable peace and security.

What needs to be added is the impact of global, instantaneous Internet-based communication. The awareness of the impact of social networks in contemporary spreading of violent extremism, for example, only gradually emerges.

Against such a prognosis, there is however no known alternative to capacity building within the context of restoring order, security, and a rule of law. Without assistance, countries emerging from conflict, or struggling with regional dimensions of global conflict, are left to their own devices. Such a worst case scenario does not lead to only local conflict dimensions, but has profound global consequences that affect the entire community of States, through crime, and migration of millions of the Worlds’ poorest and least fortunate, victims of unimaginable violence. The impact of this on societies receiving this traumatized and disillusioned scarred constituency has just begun. Receiving States appear to be on the defense. Migrating victims may carry hope of survival, but not the memory of a State caring about their even most basic rights and needs. The breeding battle of xenophobia reverberates between violent fundamentalists and terror on one side and voices on the side of States affected by the export of crime and terror on the other side. It leads to a chicken-and-egg situation, and only to entrenchment.

To affected communities in conflict-torn States, crime offers alternative livelihood for the disillusioned and tormented. Violent extremism, on the other hand, pays off for subordination by offering social services that States threatened by it did not render, and now can not render. Prevention, deterrence, and perspectives for livelihood fail.

____________________

1 United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support; Ref. 2014.01; 01 February 2014; http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/sites/police/documents/Policy.pdf

2 Ibid; Footnote 6, pg. 5, referencing the Report of the Secretary-General on the Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies (S/2004/616)

3 Ibid; Para. 14

4 One very demanding example was UNMIK: Since 1999, UNMIK in Kosovo was given extensive executive powers. UNPOL on UNMIK’s side worked in close collaboration with military NATO units of KFOR, in protecting civilians, and substituting for the absence of legitimate authority, on all levels. UNMIK was the executive police in Kosovo, whilst establishing the domestic Kosovo police was its main long term objective. But since the entire system of criminal justice and detention had broken down, UNMIK had to chart a new path, from the absence of justice towards a system ensuring transitional and regular justice. All chapters of how to do this were written without blueprint. They include the prevention of most serious crime at a time when no viable judicial mechanism was in place. However, UNMIK had legal power to create law, including criminal and criminal procedural law, which set this mission apart from any recent development. It included an entire internationally staffed UNMIK Department of Justice and likewise a Department of Corrections, and allowed a path towards the establishment of a rule of law system that was incrementally capable to correspond to the actions undertaken by UNPOL, and later on the Kosovo police.

5 Very good reading: Rebellion and fragmentation in northern Mali; CRU Report March 2015; Clingendael Institute; Netherlands

http://www.clingendael.nl/pub/2015/the_roots_of_malis_conflict/2_rebellion_and_fragmentation_in_northern_mali/

6 Ibid,

7 See, for example, as mentioned in the chapter on SPM: Report of the SG on overall policy matters pertaining to special political missions: http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/N1341359.pdf

Last access January 18, 2016

Also see UNSCR 2185: 26. Encourages information sharing, where relevant and appropriate, between Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations including its Police Division, the Department of Political Affairs, the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and the United Nations Development Program, within existing mandates and resources, when considering means to address, in a comprehensive and integrated manner, transnational organized crime, terrorism and violent extremism which can be conducive to terrorism;

8 Stefan Feller; UN Police, International Crime and Terrorism; Huffington Post 2015; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stefan-feller/un-police-international-c_b_6670430.html

Legal and Ethical Aspects of Coercive Interrogation Methods, Including Torture

Come to think of how I want to continue with my second blog entry on this topic, it is no easy feat.

In my first blog entry (Dec 22, 2014, click on the category “Torture”) I began with my personal experience with what I decided to qualify as an act of torture: Two months into my police education and training, a trainee colleague of mine had to witness how a man in a holding cell was physically abused through repeated slapping into the face, because he decided not to reveal his identity after arrest. I wrote about how this was a defining experience for me. All of a sudden, too early, I found myself in a situation where I was presented with the unsettling and fearsome question of what I was supposed to do: Not accepting it, and how to act on this information? Risking my very young career? Becoming complicit, by not doing anything? As always, there is no easy answer for this when you have no power, when you are at the low end of the food chain, when decisive action may threaten you, when you are at the beginning of a process developing your values, and your skills.

I felt powerless, and I felt this was not directly affecting me (ultimately, it was up to my colleague to act, so, was I excused?). I realized that I had no immediate means available to me, means that would be proportionate and, at the same time, protect me. I kind of muddled through.

What happens very often though during early times of integration into a peer group is a form of rationalization which runs counter to official education at the Police Academy: Exposed to the reality, the value system of a rookie will be formed by what hard-nosed long standing (and sometimes questionable) police officers tell you. “Don’t listen to what they are teaching you at school, this is the reality” is what you are going to hear. This is a real challenge for formal education, and teaching values. Not only in the Police. It’s always the same. These processes erode integrity, and especially the fragile integrity of the young and vulnerable trainees. As a trainee, you want to get out of this situation quickly. I was sometimes watching my young colleagues in a state of mimicry, pretending they had an experience that they did not have. The result is a loss of depth of thinking, through massive reduction of the effects that learning has. Copying appears to be the easy learning. I guess I was the same, but I remember that I refused to give up ideals, and dreams.

I do see a link between remaining complacent, by staying silent, by saying: “I have no dogs in this fight.”, and growing gaps between laudable objectives of organizations, and the reality of how they behave.
I believe since long that there are fights in which everyone has to have dogs in.

This one, the fight against accepting torture under some inhumane justification which pretends that there is a higher good than fundamental human rights that everybody is entitled to, no matter what this individual has done, or is alleged to have done, this is one of those fights.

In my first blog entry I also introduced what is known as “coercive interrogation methods”: Not every act of coercive interrogation qualifies as torture, and even, depending on the applicable legislation of the State one is a member of, not every coercive interrogation method is illegal. I will explain, and I need to begin with the legally applicable framework of the State I grew up in: Germany.

Within the criminal procedural code of Germany, we know the legal concept of “prohibited interrogation methods”. In a nutshell, this means that not only I have to tell a person who is considered a suspect in a criminal investigation, at the beginning of a formal interrogation, which rights this person has. Here in the U.S., this is known as the “reading the Miranda Rights”. In any legal framework compliant to internationally accepted criminal procedural law respecting inalienable human rights, a suspect of a criminal investigation has the right not to cooperate, the right to remain silent, the right to not tell the truth. In the system I grew up in, the burden of proof sits with the State, represented by me, a police officer, acting on behalf of a public prosecutor. If a suspect is deciding not to cooperate, this shall not be held against her or him.

A suspect may lie, but I, as a police officer in my German system, I shall not act with the intent to actively establish a false belief. Though I am not obliged to correct an error the suspect is falling victim to, I am not allowed to actively create a false belief which then, in turn, makes the suspect revealing a fact that he or she would not have decided to reveal otherwise. Example 1: A suspect fears that other suspects may, or may have, confessed. As a police officer, I do not have an obligation to tell this individual what I know. I can keep this information for me (and observe the suspects’ painful deliberations about what I may know, or not). If he or she then decides to confess, believing that others may have done that as well, that is permitted. The information gained from this interview will be admissible in court proceedings. Example 2: I am telling a suspect that his or her partner in crime has confessed, though this is not true. If this suspect then confesses, he or she may later challenge the admissibility of this confession within court proceedings, as this information has been retrieved against the free will of this individual.

Within the German criminal procedural system, example 2 is an example for interrogation methods that are prohibited by law. Criminal procedural systems in other countries are different, at times somewhat less strict. Another example is the difference between an “Undercover Agent” and a so-called “Agent Provocateur”. Whilst I can infiltrate a criminal organization with the help of a fake identity, in Germany I can not actively provoke a criminal act (the meaning of “agent provocateur”). In that case, I may even be subject to a criminal investigation. As an undercover agent, I may witness a criminal act, which then may lead to arrests and my admissible testimony in a court proceeding, but under no circumstances I am allowed to incite a criminal act. Not every legal system prohibits the use of an agent provocateur, though.

The logic is clear: An active influence of the State, which is also the legislative authority having established the criminal code according to which certain acts are punishable by criminal law, is not permitted. The same authority which establishes the criminal code labeling a certain behavior as profoundly antisocial can not incite such behavior, on an assumption perhaps that this rotten individual would have done it anyway, with, or without a “little active help” (so, who cares whether he or she got a little push).

As I said, different legislations hold different views on this. But in all these cases, the essence lies with that a person has a free will to decide. For example, to decide to cooperate, or not, or to decide to commit a crime, or not.

Interim: This is one defining element that connects all “coercive interrogation methods” with torture, because torture is a subset, the worst one. I quote Article 1 of the UN Convention against Torture again: “… torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

By logic, any coercive method obtaining information or a confession which does not lead to severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, intentionally inflicted, is not torture. It may be something else, including constituting a crime, but its not torture. Yelling at, and insulting an individual may be a form of verbal or even physical abuse, and I may commit a crime, but its not torture. Tricking a suspect into a confession by using a blunt lie may even be less than a crime (I might breach discipline, though). In my legal system in Germany all these methods are not permitted, whilst some are, in other systems. However, torture is not permitted in any system of a country that is a signatory to the UN Convention against Torture. Torture is the worst and most horrible form of coercion the world knows about.

A torture victim and a rape victim are subjected to exactly the same form of brutality, humiliation, and utter helplessness. Torture is a monstrous sibling within a larger family of zombies, one of his sisters is rape, one brother is sadism. The plight and pain they have inflicted on mankind includes unspeakable horror, until today. I will write about some of those darkest chapters in history of humankind, including the Holocaust, later, in another blog entry. I will argue why torture needs to be condemned, and banned, in its entirety. Because there is no such thing like a little torture, and much torture. Once an act is qualified as torture, it is. With no justification at all.

The question is: Who decides whether an act constitutes torture? In my system, it’s the courts who do. Once an act is qualified as torture, there simply is no justification for it. Because otherwise, also a little rape, and a little sadism, can be justified for whatever one defines as a higher good. The lessons of history explain why that shall not happen: Because it always led to that the monster was producing two types of victims: the tortured, and the torturers. Yes, them too. Read this.

What about coercive methods then which are below the threshold of torture, taking into account what I wrote above: That different systems are differently permissive when it comes to coercion? My ultimate yardstick is compliance with, and adherence to, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international humanitarian law, and international (criminal) law. Methods of coercion that meet these standards may be subject to deliberation within national legislation and I would not challenge them from a UN perspective, whatever personal opinion I may have on that matter. Personally, I am objecting against all of them.

In this second chapter, I wanted to touch both legal and ethical implications. The ethical ones really make the topic of torture a very tough nut. I experienced this myself:

Between 1987 and 1989 I received my senior education leading to my Masters Degree in Public Administration. For this, together with my fellow students, I studied at the German Police University, having been an accomplished police officer by then for many years already. The campus of this University was where scholarship, students, and practitioners would meet.
One day, a senior police commander presented to us the case of a recent high profile abduction case he had been in charge of, recently. A child had been abducted and the perpetrator/perpetrators had sent in information according to which the child was likely buried alive. The objective of the police, naturally, was to safe the live of the child, and, if possible, also to arrest the perpetrator(s). Nobody knew whether there were one, or several perpetrators.
The negotiation team of the police held contact, and a special police operation was preparing the handover of the requested ransom money. This was the only chance for the team to get into contact with at least one perpetrator. This person or group had been extremely professional, no other lead to this person, group, or whereabouts of the victim existed.
When it came to the prepared handover of the ransom money through a specialized police team, the police commander decided to arrest the suspect who showed up. Now the clock was ticking, and yet, there was no information about other suspects, and the whereabouts of the child were unknown.
This police commander told us in his presentation: “Given this situation, I ordered the suspect to be beaten up in order to reveal the location of the victim, if he would not cooperate”. The suspect, obviously, received physical abuse, the location was identified, the child was rescued unharmed.

Clearly, at this stage of my police education, I was very conscious that this was, by all accounts, borderline or prohibited, that no law existed permitting this action. I know this commander very well, he is in retirement now, a dedicated and deeply humane police leader. There was never a criminal investigation.

I realized that there are situations where law does not provide a safety net, where there is no legal way justifying action. This colleague of mine was presented with a situation where inaction led to the likely death of a small child, and no path was visible that would have made the arrested perp cooperating at his free will. A few years later, another case like this happened in a large city of Germany, almost an identical situation. The Police Commissioner who had made the decision to apply physical abuse to make a suspect cooperating, he got sentenced for a crime, and had to retire from his post.

I want to end this blog entry here and to take it up with another entry soon again, but not without disclosing my own decision, when I asked myself: “What would you have done if you would have been in that situation?”

I acknowledged that there are situations where the law does not provide a solution. I realized that still, the ethical values on which the law is based, continue to exist. Law can not solve the fundamental dilemma that it can not cover the entire reality, but only provide a guiding framework. If law attempts to do this, it will solve one dilemma by creating a new one. There are, as a matter of fact, areas where law leaves one without guidance. I decided that, in such a situation, the ethical values that form the foundation of that law, often enshrined in the constitutional law of a State, are still able to form a conduit. So my thinking then was that I will not order somebody else to commit an act that constitutes a crime. If I, for whatever reasons, am confronted with a situation where either action or inaction will cause the loss of life, or where the loss of a life competes with the respect of inalienable human rights, only Ethics can guide me. I will do it myself, not shying away from any consequence of this action. I would find it impossible to order somebody else to commit an act of crime, perhaps torture, on my orders. I would have to make a decision, and to take and to live with the consequences, either way.

I leave it here, I want to keep the controversial tension high. This was what I concluded during my formal senior training. This decision which I took at that time, 26 years ago, it formed my understanding for that there always always needs to be an ethical layer on which law, and personal action, is based. Without this, law is purely technical, cold, and subject to any manipulation one can think of.

As some ethical layers are so fundamental that they only exist in black and white, in “do” or “don’t”, law does not help in that situation. However, manipulation of law for any self-announced reason does not help, either. Instead, it takes away ethical legitimacy of the law.

Naturally, therefore, I end with quoting Dick Cheney, the former U.S. Vice President, in a recent interview: Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/14/dick-cheney-torture_n_6322872.html) is quoting him on Dec 14, 2014, from an interview that he gave to “Meet The Press” “I’m more concerned with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that, in fact, were innocent,” Cheney said.
About the program’s serious errors — and the abuses that CIA Director John Brennan described as “abhorrent” on Thursday — Cheney said, “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.”

That’s what I am talking about. Not having a problem as long as an objective is achieved. The dimensions of this sentence are broad, deep, and I fail to say more at this moment than how horrible such a statement is.

Why? Torture, systematic sexual violence as an instrument of conflict, sadism in treating adversaries and enemies, these acts continue to rip societies into pieces. They also communicate one message: “You are not worth being treated like you would have any rights. I strip everything from you, I take away your dignity. Because I can.” This is one of the most important issues of the most recent discussion about torture: As torturers have left the ground of humanity principles which we believe are universal, we have given reason to others to justify their atrocities using the same argument. We are co-responsible for the demons like Al Shabab, ISIS, or Boko Haram. Many have said this recently. I will come back to it.

But before that, I will try to finish my exploration of the relation between torture and civil criminal law.  After that, I will try to look into the Law of Armed Conflicts, and what it meant to strip detainees from the statute being “Prisoners of War”. We entered Hell on Earth, I believe.

We can go back, too, learn, and regret.

Reflections on police integrity in a global context

My friend and colleague Zoe Mentel and I wrote this for a conference earlier this year. Our joint thoughts and ethical basis are reflected in it, and sure enough, all my experience from so many different places of this world. But most importantly, this article is the result of Zoe’s brilliant work putting our combined thoughts “on paper”.

Re-reading this, almost a year later, within the context of a current discussion about Police reform, here in New York, and the United States, it becomes clear how complex reform is, and how much time is needed for it: The same Police organization (and the same political oversight body) that I am referring to in this article is subject to renewed and deep, loudly voiced distrust by citizens.

Does it mean that this Police regressed? Does it mean that the citizens are wrong? Does it mean that my arguments are wrong, or my assessment of a positive reform which started here in the 90’s?

All statistical and empirical data (and there is a lot), and all work by researchers and scholars clearly make the case that the current policing model over here needs to be fundamentally adjusted. And moreover, a fundamentally democratic and peaceful process of citizens demonstrating is calling for it. So, it both means to acknowledge how much time is needed for sustainable reform, and that reform never is a job that will be, at some point, finished. Rather, it is a continuous process of adjusting Police organizations to contemporary needs of the society they serve, to constantly reflect on mismatches between expectations of the public, and actions by the Police, and to address denial as a deep seated psychological mechanism preventing people from seeing and acknowledging the reality. At the same time one needs to strongly advocate the values on which policing is founded, and ensuring compliance with those values.

Which values? Well, my values are obvious, from the below. I argue that, in my experience of successful policing even in the harshest and most dangerous societies, they are almost universal, and they actually work. More about the latter in many examples I am planning to write about, here. I will also write about denial.

So, here we go:

Reflections on police integrity in a global context

On an affective level, the word “police” evokes widely disparate responses from individual citizens. On the one hand, those of us who enjoy the protection of a well-disciplined, professionalized service organization, which respects the principles of democratic policing and human rights, live in a reality where policemen and women are understood as public servants, accountable to the public.

Under this schema, individuals are able to associate the image of the uniformed police officer with a provider of security and order, a crime-fighter who puts the safety and security of others front and center.

Conversely, those who are subject to discriminatory, arbitrary and corrupt police practices likely associate the police with the abuse of authority and poor governance, either of an ineffectual or authoritarian flavor.

Transparency International’s “Global Corruption Barometer 2013” found that, in the 36 countries where “the police are seen as the most corrupt institution [,] … an average of 53 per cent of people report having paid a bribe to the police.”[1]

As the police officer is often the most visible, daily representative of state authority within a community, erosion of trust in the police is inextricably linked to an erosion of trust in the government and the rule of law overall. These two polar images of the law enforcement profession establish serious challenges for any who attempt to modernize a police organization through change management.

This is even truer in a peacekeeping environment. The public’s understanding of police varies from country to country, from city to city. Even within cities, the legitimacy of local police may fluctuate drastically from neighborhood to neighborhood, especially when questions of police bias against minority communities come into play. In its ideal form, however, policing is society’s safeguard for protecting the most vulnerable, rather than the most powerful, among us. The best police officers are the ones who demonstrate the spirit of service, instead the desire to exercise power. A government that holds its police accountable to its citizens, adhering to transparency of law enforcement action, has a much stronger chance to be considered a legitimate stakeholder of citizen’s interests.

Police transparency and the development of modern policing

When Sir Robert Peel first developed modern policing in early 19th century London, he instituted a number of principles and mechanisms that we still operate under today. One of these seems so simple, that we often forget how radical it was at the time. Every police officer in the new Metropolitan Police Force in 1829 was given an identification number. Upon induction into the force, each officer under Sir Peel received this number, so that he (and at the time, of course, all police were “he’s”) could be held accountable for his actions.

Today, the ability to identify an individual law enforcement official remains a common practice. Police officers from countries all over the world have their unique identification numbers or nametags displayed physically on their uniforms, embroidered on epaulettes or collars and imprinted on official badges and ID cards. Most recently, a modern variation of this practice can be seen in parts of Granada, Spain, where some police are wearing their Twitter handle on patches on their right shoulders.[2]

Community-oriented policing relies on accountability, transparency and open communication and cooperation with the public. And of course, in the post-conflict and crisis-affected states in which the United Nations Police work, building these key elements of policing require much more than badge numbers and twitter handles. Nevertheless, the general principles remain the same.

Police integrity, police accountability, police legitimacy and police effectiveness are built both on the macro-level by large, systemic reforms and on the micro-level by the individual actions, behaviors and attitudes of the women and men who walk the beat, investigate crimes and respond to calls for service.

No discussion of modern policing would be complete without referencing the intrinsic connection between policing and the rule of law. The rule of law is a principle that situates the relationship between citizens and authorities within a legal framework, rather than upon the arbitrary execution of power. It ensures that any government action is based on law and legality. As the late British judge Tom Bingham described it, “All persons and authorities within the state, whether public or private, should be bound by and entitled to the benefit of laws publicly made, taking effect (generally) in the future and publicly administered in the courts.”[3]

For the reasons stated above, policing refers to a function of governance responsible for the prevention, detection and investigation of crime; protection of persons and property; and the maintenance of public order and safety. Police and law enforcement officials (including police, gendarmerie, customs, immigration and border services, as well as related oversight bodies such as interior and justice ministries) have the obligation to respect and protect human rights, including the right to life, liberty and security of the person, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other relevant instruments.

Pursuant to the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, police and other law enforcement officials are required, at all times, to fulfil the duty imposed upon them by law, by serving the community and by protecting all persons against illegal acts, consistent with the high degree of responsibility required by their profession.[4] For the United Nations, the function of domestic policing must be entrusted to civil servants who are members of police or other law enforcement agencies of a national, regional or local government, within a legal framework that is based on the rule of law.[5]

Police integrity and organizational culture

Policing, as we commonly understand it, only works if the community accepts as legitimate those who are entrusted to enforce the law. But in places recovering from conflict, those who committed atrocities – including, unfortunately, the acts of sexual and gender-based violence that frequently characterize contemporary intrastate warfare – were often those who also wore a uniform. How do we build police legitimacy, therefore, in a state where the police may be fundamentally mistrusted?

Clearly, we need to help host-states undertake long-term, system-wide reforms, including proper training, the vetting of officers, accountability measures to root out corruption and abuse, internal affairs units, citizen oversight mechanisms, merit-based promotion systems, professional standards, and strong commitment from top brass for all of the above.

Experience demonstrates that without a deeply rooted commitment by the state and the society it governs, fundamental and sustainable transformation of policing into the above is nearly impossible. At the same time, the entire internal police culture must change. Ethical police organizations are ones that police themselves, ones in which peers and colleagues hold each other accountable in terms of integrity and ethics. These organizations are fundamentally open to scrutiny and dialogue with civil society.

Criminologists have come to understand how informal social control can be more powerful than formal, institutional controls in curbing criminality within a community. The same argument can be extended to building integrity within police organizations. In addition to formal mechanisms listed above, we must also change the norms of accepted behavior – and leverage the power of peer influence within police cultures to root out bad police practices.

Fostering ethics and integrity from within a police organization is, notoriously, no easy task. It often requires making tough calls and unpopular decisions. In 1994, for example, a new police chief took over one of the most famous police organizations in the world, the NYPD. Its image at the time was badly damaged. Corruption was, in certain stationhouses, endemic. The worst, some argued, was the 30th precinct in Harlem, which was scandal-ridden and accused of a wide litany of abuses, from officers stealing drug money to physically assaulting suspects. In the middle of the night, the NYPD’s chief, backed by the District Attorney, gathered local news media and raided the so-called “Dirty 30.” In front of news cameras, he began publically confiscating the badges of corrupt officers and throwing them into the garbage can. “I am retiring their badges,” he said to the press, “so that no cop will have to wear a disgraced number again.”[6] In the end, almost three dozen officers were arrested and prosecuted.

Many police observers have understood this highly symbolic action as a turning point for the NYPD. Organizational culture began to change once it became clear that neither police leadership nor the public would continue to tolerate corruption and criminal behavior. But the job that we face in an expeditionary police setting is, unfortunately, often much more complex and fraught with difficulties. Former United Nations Police Adviser, Mr. Mark Kroeker, has on occasion told a story about rebuilding the police in Liberia, immediately after that country emerged from its brutal civil war. He wanted to engage a Liberian National Police officer in a conversation about how to prevent corruption in the LNP.   Instead of talking about reform measures and capacity building, however, this officer turned to then-Commissioner Kroeker and said, with simple candor, “I cannot feed my family on integrity alone.”

Doubtless many police who have served with international police missions would be able to recount similar anecdotes from all over the world, from countries torn by or emerging from conflict.

The global effects of both large- and small-scale police corruption

This is how corruption persists. It’s not a simple question of good vs. evil. Questions of ethics rarely are. However, this binary “logic,” often associated with quick and easy value judgments of public services in less developed countries, can lead us to simple assessments: bad police institutions become no more than a collection of backwards, bad people.

Moreover, reforming the police must be done in tandem with reform in overall governance, as corruption in the former is largely symptomatic of corruption in the latter. Corruption persists not only because of greed and criminal intent on the part of individual police officers. It persists also because “shortcomings of state capacity” – including, systemic failures in the rule of law, as well as the failure to meet the material needs of both the police and the citizens that they are supposed to protect.[7]

Serious and fundamental deficiencies in the most basic policing infrastructure leave “even well-intentioned and dedicated officers” without the tools to “do their job properly.”[8]

How do we build the political will required to adequately resource a professional police service? Often this boils down to influencing governments to find a way to pay the wages of their police officers, sufficiently and regularly. It also means recruiting the right people and, then, training and equipping them properly. However, anyone who has spent even a short period of time with police in a less developed country will attest to the lack of the most basic infrastructure, which modern police services take for granted. Besides body armor and safety equipment, serviceable police stations, dedicated police vehicles and humane detention facilities, host-states colleagues often lack typewriters, paper and pens – not to mention the literacy that must accompany their use.

But beyond providing resources for such seemingly Sisyphean needs, fighting police corruption also means instilling, in the hearts of every line officer, the fact that each citizen interaction represents a choice – the choice to uphold the principles of democratic policing or the choice to undercut them. While police infrastructure and capacity may be built brick by physical brick, police integrity is built during each and every traffic stop. This is critically important because police integrity lies at the heart of whether we, the international community, succeed or fail.

Perito and Bayley argue that “Eliminating police corruption is required for any country that has establishing the rule of law as a national objective. Ignoring this imperative means that international efforts at nation building proceed at their own peril.”[9] Taking this line of thought even one step further, one could argue that police corruption threatens not only nation building within a government’s borders, but also regional stability as a whole.

Large-scale police failures support global instability through known linkages between traffickers of illicit goods, armed groups, and corrupt political actors. This is made clear by the ability of transnational organized criminals to create serious threats to the international community’s efforts, including peacekeeping, to assist fragile and recovering states. Specifically, illicit networks have demonstrated a resilient ability to undermine to government legitimacy and authority, as we have seen firsthand in a number of contexts. For decades, well-resourced and powerful drug trafficking syndicates have exploited weak governance, porous borders, and limited law enforcement capacity in Central America. More recently, they have also contributed significantly to the entrenched dysfunction troubling a number of host-states, ranging from Guinea-Bissau to Afghanistan, where the weakness of state institutions both creates and is created by the proliferation of drug trafficking.

However, as much as large-scale police corruption, such as complicity with international criminal organizations, supports global instability, it would be dangerous to overlook how “small-scale” or “routine” police corruption can, both individually and in the aggregate, influence world-historical events. In a world that is increasingly interconnected, the actions of a small number of patrol-level police officers can move from local to global in the blink of an eye.[10]

While the geopolitical causes of the Arab Spring are deeply contested and its long-term effects still unclear, one founding narrative has remained constant. The symbolic event most often cited as the immediate spark for this unprecedented regional upheaval has coalesced upon the actions of a single fruit vendor. Both traditional and social media have mythologized a young Tunisian named Mohammed Bouazizi. In 2011, his spontaneous self-immolation on the streets of Sidi Bouzid, a town of 40,000 residents some 280 kilometers from the seaside capital of Tunis, provided the impetus that, in part, mobilized widespread, cascading protests. His suicide unleashed long-simmering frustration at decades of ineffective and corrupt governance. The alleged trigger for Bouazizi’s desperate act has been reported as harassment from local police and municipal officials, who regularly confiscated his wares and the scale he used to weigh his fruits and vegetables. Described as “petty bureaucratic tyranny,” this type of routine police intimidation feeds on the humiliation of individuals without access to well-paying jobs and education, and it preys on communities without recourse to the collective efficacy needed to stop it.[11] The shakedowns, “taxes” and bribes characteristic of police abuse in bazaars and souks and street markets, at traffic checkpoints and in backroom deals, has a significant negative effect not only on the profession but the stability of whole governments.

Our job as UN Police is to reinforce this idea, over and over, both on the ethical and practical levels.   The seemingly isolated response by an individual police officer has the ability to send ripples of mistrust through a society.

Police integrity and the way forward: the interplay of the individual and the systemic

The red thread in discussions on police integrity is the interaction between the individual police officer and the state authority that his or her uniform represents. Much of this particular reflection has focused on corruption – but integrity is also built on the ability of the police to avoid other forms of abuse, including excessive use of force, racial and ethnic bias and, even, police indifference to reported crimes, especially those related to sexual and domestic violence.

However, all of these threats to establishing integrity within policing institutions must be met by efforts aimed both at the individual police officer and serious system-wide change.   To hold police, from commissioner to constable, accountable for his or her actions requires both formal sanctions for police abuse by supervisors and informal stigmatization of bad behavior by peers.

Practically speaking, no foreign actor – be it benign or otherwise – should attempt do “police reform” by imposing its own values on a police force in another country. Instead, the international community can best help weak or post-conflict states by “modelling the way,” by mentoring and advising host-state police institutions into resetting their own internal norms for behavior.

However, in the face of the multitude of problems facing police organizations in weak states, picking a starting point for building police integrity, can be dizzying, if not defeating. Perhaps we in the police profession should take our cue from past successes in changing behaviors around crime in general; after all, the actions that undermine police integrity are often crimes themselves – just ones that are committed by those who are supposed to be upholding the law instead of undermining it.

In the 1990s, police found some degree of success against surging crime rates in large, urban areas by focusing on quality of life crimes. Through a broken windows or problem-oriented policing approach, police attention (not to be confused with enforcement-only “crackdowns”) began to target “small” problems, hitherto ignored, such as graffiti, vandalism and subway turnstile jumping. This refocused attention on demands from the public signaled that the police cared about the problems that communities themselves found most troubling, even if those daily annoyances had seemingly little to do with the homicides, rapes and shootings that usually consumed the attention of most municipal police forces. Nevertheless, this reorientation of police efforts, combined with more enhanced analytical capability and evidence-based practices, contributed to dramatic declines in crime rates across the board, from property to violent crimes.

One limitation to a community policing approach is that research into its effectiveness has primarily been focused on the Western policing context. Another is that its definition is notoriously slippery. However, community policing’s success in the 1990s demonstrates that the way forward can begin with small, narrowly focused goals, which eventually bubble up to large-scale changes. Again, perhaps the best example to invoke is the simple traffic stop. Focusing on combatting police corruption by beginning with this routine task could be one small, but ubiquitous way to kick start the long-term process of building police integrity.

If police officers learn the correct way to conduct traffic stops – focusing on public safety instead of the exertion of authority (or extortion of a bribe) – this would communicate to the public a major shift in what to expect from their police: safety over subjugation, help instead of harassment. The other added advantage is that this first step seems small enough in scale to be practically implemented. All too often, the problems of working in international police reform, as well as the “solutions” proposed to remedy them, seem paralyzing in their complexity. Perhaps by focusing on realistically achievable goals, we can both focus on the actions of the individual police officer and secure the needed commitment from command staff.   In other words, the traffic stop allows for building police integrity from the bottom up by instituting policy changes from the top down. Nevertheless, the work ahead of us in this area will not be solved through this step alone. It would be naïve to think so. Yet, progress is no pipe dream, and policing is worthy of our concerted and collective effort.

Living free from the fear of crime and violence should be the entitlement of all, rather than the privilege of the few. Achieving this reality must, first and foremost, begin with building a legitimate police force, one that communities feel confident in turning to, as a defender of equal protection under the law.

[1] Transparency International (2013). “Global Corruption Barometer 2013,” p. 17. Retrieved from http://www.transparency.org/gcb2013/report/. [2] Gordon Macmillan (2013, 24 June). “Pretty amazing approach to Twitter in Granada. All police officers have their Twitter handle on their uniform pic.twitter.com/ZHbJ0Y2oKa” [Twitter post]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/gordonmacmillan/status/349105381135511552/photo/1. [3] Tom Bingham, The Rule of Law (London: Penguin, 2010). [4] UN General Assembly, 34th session, “Resolution 34/169 (1979) [Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials], Article 1. [5] According to the “Report of the Secretary-General on the Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies” (S/2004/616), “the rule of law refers to a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency.” [6] Levitt, L. NYPD Confidential, New York: Macmillan, 2009, p. 84. [7] Goldsmith, A. “Policing Weak States: Citizen Safety and State Responsibility.” Policing and Society, (2003) 13.1, p 10. [8] Ibid. [9] Bayley, D. and Robert Perito. “Police Corruption: What Past Scandals Teach about Current Challenges,” Washington D.C.: U.S. Institute of Peace (2011), p. 2. [10] Social media, furthermore, has rapidly increased the visibility and scrutiny of questionable actions by individual police officers. For example, the contested, fatal shooting of an unarmed, 22-year old named Oscar Grant III by a transit police officer in Oakland, California, was caught on film by multiple mobile phone video cameras. YouTube footage of the shooting has received millions of views and fueled both protests and rioting. [11] Ryan, Y. (2011, 20 January). The tragic life of a street vendor. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved from http://www.aljazeera.com.

Accountability of the Police, and operational independence of policing from political influence

This text is based on a version that I wrote in my capacity as Head of the European Union Police Mission in Bosnia&Herzegovina, in 2012. I replaced the specific links to this amazing and so much torn country on the Western Balkans with more general contexts. What came out of it has deep relevance to everything I am doing these days.
“The rule of law is a principle basing the relationship between citizens and authorities on a legal framework rather than the arbitrary execution of power. It ensures that any government action is based on law and legality. As the late British Judge Tom Bingham describes it: “All persons and authorities within the state, whether public or private, should be bound by and entitled to the benefit of laws publicly made, taking effect (generally) in the future and publicly administered in the courts.“
Law is made by a political process. The application of law is ensured by an apolitical system of governance. Actions of police and other parts of the executive are governed by this law. These laws are the only basis and set the limits of democratic policing. The limits of policing are also to be found in international human rights norms, such as the European Convention of Human Rights which is directly applicable law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. When police interacts with citizens, all actions have to be within the legal framework set for those interaction. No questioning of a witness or a suspect, no arrest, no seizure of evidence may happen without a legal framework providing for it. No arrest, interrogation or search must happen on political request or undue influence.
It is the very fact that interactions of the police with citizens are bound by law which constitutes the basis for the principle of “operational independence”. Because the law has no space for political interpretation, the police applies the law without political interference, but based on the principle of legality.
The police must also act on concerns and requests of citizens. Setting policing policies is part of government action and requires strategic political decisions. The professional conduct of police is based on modern values cultivated by leadership. Leadership has to lead by example.
This requires responsible education and training. Policing as a service is consuming public resources. For all this, and more, the police must account for. Thus, operational independence and adherence to the law does not exempt the police from being accountable on administrative and managerial levels, within a larger system of governance. All parts of
public administration, including the police, are part of the executive branch, and as such, policing is also subject to legitimate policy discussions. This is necessary to reflect the interests and demands the citizens channeled through the democratic process. Police action is therefore also subject to the scrutiny of the courts.
Appropriate solutions must integrate the police into a reliable framework of accountability. In all situations where the International Community assists in the reestablishment of governance, affected by conflict, broken down as a consequence of conflict, or having been part of the conflict, a home-grown solution ensuring accountability has to be found. In our assistance to the establishment of sustainable policing arrangements and the rule of law in countries affected by conflict, international policing is monitoring and advising on the establishment of a better system of law enforcement.
Such a system is the true cornerstone of the rule of law. We respect the political discussions about the legal framework that govern the work of the police. Law is never static. Its development is an important element of democratic life. In the resulting democratic discourse, international policing assistance is not party and cannot take sides.
Our role relates to whether a law meets requirements, standard, and best practice. A political discussion whether lawmakers are motivated by the right spirit, or not, is not a discussion in which international policing has a public place. However, we raise our voices internally, in true partnership with those who we assist.
Publicly, we may assess whether any of the laws in question does contribute to a legal framework in a manner that is reflecting international standards, and international principles. We also monitor and assess whether practical action of authorities, be it police, criminal justice system, or ministries, adhere to text and spirit of the law, to the rule of law and to the principles of democratic governance.
We encourage that the actors in the political arena lead a discussion in an open, fair, factual and transparent manner. A meaningful discussion needs to involve consultation of all stakeholders, and the general public. This will allow for a discussion about substance which should replace rhetoric. This applies also to stakeholders from the police. We expect and see that police is invited to contribute their opinion as experts.
Experts should limit their contributions to expertise and refrain from participating in the political exchange of arguments. Otherwise, important factual contributions get blurred in political rhetoric undermining the credibility of the arguments.
The area of justice, liberty and security is a particularly important field for the rule of law. The ability to discuss and pass relevant legislation remains an important test for the maturity of any democracy.”

First attempt to close in on a challenging topic: Torture

There will be more entries, don’t how how many initially, yet.

Here is how I want to begin:

In 1976, I became a police detective trainee. I was eighteen years old, had just finished High School. Pondering what to do, I had pursued enrolling in University, with a main interest in biochemistry, or, believe it or not, becoming a police officer. My father had recommended to pursue a second career option, in parallel to my interest in sciences. The additional benefit: If I were to become a police officer, it would exempt me from mandatory military service, as police service is considered equivalent in my system.

Well, I had won the job, and had begun just a few months ago, I loved the Police from the first day on, abandoning my other career option as soon as I saw: “This is it”.

I had entered a mixed training that would bring me to an Undergraduate Degree in Public Administration within three years, through a combination of academic studies and practical training on the job.

Meaning, that soon after entering the Police in a large local Police Department, I was assigned to my first practical trainee work. My trainee colleagues and I were were allocated to various functions of investigative policing and patrolling, mentors would show us how they did the various jobs.

Perhaps two months into this exciting new phase of my life, a trainee colleague spoke to my friend and me. The previous night, he had been assigned to shift duty in a 24/7 investigative desk. Over night, several arrests had been made in that department, people were kept in holding cells. My colleague’s mentor took my trainee colleague into one of these holding cells. Inside, a suspect of a crime who had not revealed his identity, no ID card was found on him.

The mentoring detective asked this person: “What’s your name”. “John Doe” (or the German equivalent to it), the person replied. SLAP, BANG, the first slapping into the face of the suspect happened immediately.

The mentoring detective asked the next question: “When were you born?” – “John Doe” was the reply, SLAP BANG was the consequence.

Over the next minutes, this interrogation continued, non-compliance led to physical abuse through slapping the person straight into the face.

I do not remember whether my troubled trainee colleague who told me the story reported whether the slapping led to that the interrogation was “successful”.

What I remember are several other things:

My trainee colleague was deeply, profoundly shocked. He was not sure about what to do, whether to report this, or not, whether to stay in the training, or to quit.

I was profoundly shocked. Realizing how vulnerable the position of my trainee colleague was, I had no idea what to recommend. Recommending to report it? Well, my colleague would have had his word against that of this Old Hand, and he would have likely lost his job. Reporting it myself? How? What would be the consequence? Would I loose my job?

I was eighteen years old, had just, two months earlier, begun to enter into an amazing new world, the shiny surface of this world had just cracked.

At the end of the day, I did nothing. Felt terrible about it. Forgot it at times, but it always came back. It was one of the first defining experiences that form me today, including, that from the moment on that I had a standing in my profession, I began to develop a zero-tolerance against events like these. At no time later in my career I do remember that I would have become complacent, and/or complicit. This one was enough. I would never ever accept this again. I will write about other experiences.

In this blog, my question is less the (extremely important) managerial side of it, and the ethical one. Here, my question is: Was this torture?

Wikipedia defines torture as following: “Torture is the act of deliberately inflicting severe physical or psychological pain and possibly injury to a person (or animal), usually to one who is physically restrained or otherwise under the torturer’s control or custody and unable to defend against what is being done to him or her.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture, accessed Dec 22 2014, 12:55 local time in NYC).

Was the slapping causing severe physical pain? Was the psychological pain severe, like for example that the suspect would not know whether the slapping would be more painful the next time it would happen?

James Mitchell, one of the two chief architects of the CIA program including waterboarding and other horrible forms of torture (I will correctly refer to everything in later blogs on this topic) is quoted In http://yahoonewsdigest-us.tumblr.com/post/105345504194/psychologist-admits-he-waterboarded-al-qaida as saying to the news service “Vice”: “It’s like any sort of thing you fear: The closer you get to it the next time, the more you struggle to get out of it and find an escape. So the moment [a detainee] was most susceptible to beginning to provide information was just before the next waterboarding session.”

The same principle, obviously. Was it torture what happened to the suspect in that holding cell 1976? In my view, a definite “Yes”.

In my German Criminal Procedural Law, we name the application of methods like these “Prohibited Methods of Interrogation”. Any action, including cheating, establishing a false belief, tricking the suspect into revealing something he or she would not have decided to do if he or she would have known the intentionally and actively falsified reality, or abuse, including through violence, falls under it. The result is that the Police Officer applying a prohibited method of interrogation can commit a crime, at least if he does what this detective mentor did.

The United Nations Convention Against Torture can be found here: http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html.

Article 1 and 2 of this Convention read as follows:

Article 1

  1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
  2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2

  1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
  2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
  3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

I stop here. In my next blog on this issue, I will give other examples, two that formed my ethical view on torture, and one in which I acted decisively, myself.

To be continued, hang in there!

On dialogue, and the absence thereof

The link http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2881588/I-breathe-100-police-supporters-storm-New-York-City-sick-t-shirts-mocking-Eric-Garner-s-words.html gets you over to the UK’s Daily Mail.

For those who don’t know: “I can’t breathe” were the last words, repeated many times, uttered by Eric Garner, a black New York citizen selling cigarettes at the corner of a street, thus being subject of a police control. Look up the video on YouTube, watch how he dies in a police officer’s chokehold, repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”.

Now, on one hand, watching this video is unsettling in itself. But what did really upset many was the fact that the officer(s) were not indicted, following a Grand Jury decision.

As this was also what was happening in the Ferguson case, and because during the same time a 12-year-old black boy, yielding a toy gun on a playground for ten minutes, got shot dead by police officers in Cleveland, within two seconds after their arrival, and from within the police car (look up the video on Tamir Rice, it is as unsettling as the videos in both other cases), it contributed to the public outrage that ultimately led to all demonstrations in New York, Washington, Ferguson, and all over the country.

“I can’t breathe” became a protest slogan, yelled from thousands of mouths.

The Police had to ensure that these demonstrations were happening in a peaceful manner. I saw the first ones, early on, here in New York. The visibility of Police was overwhelming, creating a feeling of threat even for me, a bystander with decades of police experience in really tough situations. The large nationwide demonstrations of the last weekend, however, were secured with a very low profile police visibility, at least here in New York.

Yet, antagonism could be seen from early on. It always is the same: Sides are created, either side feels threatened, and the members of the challenged side stiffen up, feeling obliged to justify their position. In many cases, the result is that sides don’t talk with each other, but only about each other. That often includes shouting matches.

The challenge is to establish a dialogue in which both sides can listen. If the dialogue necessary for that is nationwide, and root causes exist for decades, this challenge is huge, because sentiments, preoccupations, judgement calls, condescending attitude, at times hatred, run very deep.

Not unexpectedly, initiating dialogue is difficult, big time for spoilers of dialogue. There always are spoilers, always always. I see them in my line of international work in conflict- and post-conflict-environments, every day. I saw them during all those years of national police work as well.

However, there is no alternative to dialogue. Those who want to defend their position without listening, they know that dialogue erodes their claimed position of righteousness. Or they muscle up, in order to be in a better bargaining position, including through shouting matches.

Here in the aftermath of Ferguson, Police Trade Union representatives went on a path of, in my view, outrageous action, including even to publicly call on the Mayor of New York City not attending funerals of police officers, killed in the line of duty, any longer. They created a form to be filled and signed by police officers, requesting the Mayor and his spokesperson not to attend their funerals, in case they would be killed in the line of duty. ( http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0JR0JK20141213?irpc=932 )

Now this one: Police officers wearing hoodies with the words “I can breathe”. Which is understood by others as “I can breathe, you can’t”.

This is so unhelpful, and so common. It shows no respect, at all. It must feel terrible for late Eric Garner’s loved ones. Shameful, and I offer the apology that they don’t offer: I am profoundly sorry.

Not going into details, it’s a long other story about what happened in April 2003 in Mitrovica, Kosovo, when approx. 20 of my police officers were injured, including through grenades. As my police did not feel protected by NATO’s soldiers, they created a t-shirt with pictures of burning police cars and soldiers looking away. What they failed to see: They had set the cause for the grenade attack and breakdown of law and order themselves, through a show of force rather than acting on a solid support basis of the relevant communities: Police either acts on such a basis, or enforces external rules. The result of enforcement of external rules is always the same: Resistance. Resistance led to my police officers thinking how to break it. That led to violence on a massive scale. The military force had to shut down this situation, in order to contain. Which made my police officers felt abandoned.

General Marcel Valentin, then Commander of the NATO Force, and I, came together. We knew we sat on a huge joint problem: Two sides, police officers and soldiers, blaming each other.

If I would have taken punitive action against those police officers producing the t-shirts, I would have increased their feeling of being victims, unappreciated. If I would have done nothing, I would have supported that their wrong attitude which led to the violence is the path on which they shall continue.

My strategy was a mixture of zero-tolerance against those who produced the t-shirts, and a combination of methods that established dialogue.

Half a year later, the results were stunning. Results of patient dialogue and listening to others, and then to act on commitments, always are.

In this case, we systematically asked the population about their very specific security concerns. Once we knew, we committed with dedication to exactly address the local concerns, which were, believe it or not, a surprisingcombination of citizens being affected by illegally parked vehicles and illegal prostitution. After addressing exactly these concerns, we could walk the streets to do the beat, international, and ethnically mixed local police. That would have led to massive violence six months earlier.

There is no alternative to dialogue between police and the citizens they are supposed to serve and to protect.

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On Peace, Justice, and Security

The easy but important stuff first: Linking this blog to important pieces that I have published in my official capacities.

November 26, 2014, I published the following text in The Huffington Post, where it appeared as “An Insider’s View on UN Policing” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stefan-feller/an-insiders-view-on-un-po_b_6278716.html).

The underlying schemes will resonate through, I guess, many entries that I will be publishing here: Which are the common denominators that should define policing, police institutions, and justice institutions? In Kosovo between 2000 and 2004, I was in command for on average 4.500 police officers who were sent to the United Nations Interim Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) from up to 54 different countries from all around the world. It was my first experience with what it means to establish an international police organisation from scratch, with no blueprint. Moreover, this Police within UNMIK was supposed to be the real Police in Kosovo: The former Police had been a brutal and repressive element of Milosevic’s regime, and had participated in abuse, oppression, and atrocities. So they had to leave after the NATO air strike was successful. Which left Kosovo without ANY policing, apart from illegal structures that sprang up like mushrooms. There never is a void that is left unfilled…

It was my first experience with what it means to harmonise different approaches, cultures, understandings, values, education, managerial styles, operational practice, and tactical engagement. For the outsider it looked like a “Mission Impossible”, and yes, it was daunting, by all accounts. But it was also, in my view, surprisingly successful.

On basis of many similar experiences thereafter, a network of likeminded friends and I, who had been in command of such operations, identified the most pressing task: What is the least common denominator for policing that we all should accept, wherever we come from?

The below article gives actual insight in where we are on that. However, it is no coincidence that I wrote this article as well at a time during which I witness an intense discussion on Police accountability on occasion of incidents which happened lately in Ferguson, New York, and Cleveland. I am witnessing a fundamental discussion here in the U.S., one in which these incidents are perceived as results of a disguised racism, and insufficient accountability. The public reaction is encouraging, a large and peaceful movement has expressed the views of many citizens, white and coloured alike. Last weekend, I walked up Fifth Avenue in New York as a part of what the press describes as 25.000 peaceful protesters.

2014-12-13 14.53.22 HDR

I am witnessing much more, and all that is profoundly encouraging. So, here my piece in the Huffington Post:

“Justice is both a concept and a function sitting at the core of any society. Whichever form it takes, it contributes to the fundamental connection of an individual or a community to the larger whole. We may take our understanding of justice as a given, or we may even assume that the specific understanding that we grew up with should apply to all others. The reality is that justice comes in many different conceptual shapes, and forms, based on ethical or moral values, or a combination thereof. The world is an arena for different forms of justice and judicial concepts, within larger ideological and secular and religious frameworks. These memes coexist, they compete, at times they fight each other.

As a value in itself, it is inextricably linked to the absence of it, to injustice. Here, things become challenging: Injustice may for example occur if an individual is not treated in a just way. Being treated “justly” includes appropriateness of the rules one is subjected to and that the given rules are universally applied. Equally important is that the feeling of whether an individual or a group is treated “justly”, or not, is often based on complex and very subjective perceptions. What matters most is that injustice, or the perception of injustice, creates the feeling that one does not belong. In my line of work, United Nations Peace Operations, this often is one factor leading to violent conflicts and the difficulty to move from conflict to lasting stability and peace.

The same holds true for security: security and insecurity, as well as the subjective perception of whether to feel secure or insecure, are critically important for any development of lasting peace. Individual members and communities define their belonging to a society including through whether they are safe, and that their concerns on safety and security are appropriately addressed by the society to which they belong.

Therefore, institutions of governance which provide security and adjudicate justice are of critical importance for development into lasting peace and security. For the United Nations, conflict prevention and sustainable peace comprises measures for the prevention of (armed) conflict and addressing its root causes, including through strengthening the rule of law, national reconciliation, good governance, democracy, gender equality and respect for, and protection of, human rights.

The United Nations is looking back on almost 55 years of deploying international police into peace operations. There are currently over 13,000 UN police from ninety-one Member States of the UN in eighteen peace operations all over the world. We operate globally, in the harshest, most challenging and most dangerous environments. We take casualties. We live in those communities where we contribute to their re-establishing forms of governance that lead to lasting peace. We protect vulnerable communities and individuals being targeted by violence and victimized by the abuse of power. In this, more recently, peacekeepers including police officers have become direct targets of those who try to deprive communities of their right to receive good governance. We face being in the cross-hairs of extremists and terrorism, as we are directly inhibiting their actions to suppress freedom and to subjugate communities under the reign of terror. We assist in the establishment of institutions of just and secure governance that contribute to lasting peace and security, after and during violent conflict. We face the menacing nexus between transnational organized crime and extremism and terror, and the often endemic corruption on which both can thrive.

We have learned the hard way which policing concepts work, for security and justice, and which do not. Consequently, we have put our experiences into a consultative process that, literally, includes the world. Our distilled essence is a policy that is based profoundly on what the Global Community understands as the common denominator of policing. On that basis we continue to shape how to promote this form of UN policing. Naturally, this relates to the peace operations in which we take risks. But what we say is also relevant for all police-related policy discussions, simply because we all agree to it.

On 20 November 2014, the United Nations Security Council had its first ever thematic discussion on policing and peace operations. In an overwhelming show of engagement, every member of the Security Council took the floor. The Security Council unanimously voted for its Resolution 2185 which stressed the importance of international policing in peace operations and requested that the Secretary-General further promote professionalism, effectiveness and system-wide coherence in the policing-related work of the United Nations, including through the development and implementation of standards and guidance through the Strategic Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping. Likewise, the relevant Committees of the UN General Assembly, forming the voice of all 193 United Nations Member States, appreciate both the comprehensive consultative approach and the relevance of this framework for international police peace operations.

So, what is the essence of what we have learned? Our growing repository of guidance can be found online (For starters: See here). It is based on a core principle that can be found in our policy framework, which is fundamentally supported by all Member States, whichever form of justice and security they choose, whatever their culture, history and societal values:

In accordance with United Nations standards, every police or other law enforcement agency should be representative of and responsive and accountable to the community it serves.

Police and law enforcement officials have the obligation to respect and protect Human Rights, including the right to life, liberty and security of person as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other relevant international instruments. Pursuant to the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, police and other law enforcement officials are required at all times to fulfil the duty imposed upon them by law, by serving the community and by protecting all persons against illegal acts, consistent with the high degree of responsibility required by their profession.

Policing must be entrusted to police or other law enforcement agencies of a national, regional or local government, within a legal framework that is based on the rule of law. Thus, the police are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. Policing the police requires measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency.

As the police adviser to the United Nations, I believe that every serious discussion about the relationship between the society and the policing model that a society chooses for itself needs to be informed by these guiding principles.”