Visiting Scholar
Center for International Studies
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089 USA
Phone: 909/793-9455
Fax: 213/740-7010

This document is a proposed work plan for the issue area of “Rule of Law and the Problem of Security” as part of the Central America 2020 project.

Three preliminary comments are in order.  First, feedback on this draft is welcome.  Second, the proposed schedule is later in the Summer than originally solicited by the project lead consultants.  The dates proposed should be taken as neither firm nor final, but as those which are presently optimal for me to carry out this project in as effective a manner as possible.  Third, with the knowledge that the project lead consultants are meeting shortly to review these work plans, I have acted expeditiously rather than exhaustively in the preparation of this document.  Thus, some of the information necessary for a complete work plan is absent (e.g. some names of proposed workshop attendees).  Your suggestions in filling these gaps are also welcome.

I. Conceptualization

    The purpose of this research report is to identify the principal challenges in the areas of security and the rule of law as they relate to Central America’s development over the next twenty years.  These issue areas are important for development for a number of reasons:

(a) if individual citizens and social groups do not feel secure in their homes, communities and workplaces, then their quality of life suffers, and other indicators of economic development are rendered less meaningful and potentially endangered;

(b) the dramatic rise in common and violent crime in much of Central America over the past decade has become a principal complaint among citizens about their governments, potentially challenging unconsolidated processes of democratization, creating costs for securing economic activity, and deterring foreign investment and other economic activity;

 (c) the weak state of the rule of law in Central America creates uncertainty in contracts and other economic transactions, undermines citizen confidence in the ability of formal state judicial and law enforcement institutions to protect them, and provides incentives for citizens and groups to seek alternative, informal or private means of justice and security (e.g., support for lynchings, reliance upon private security means, acts of vengeance) which may deepen inequities and remain unaccountable.

    In identifying the challenges in the areas of security and the rule of law in the region through the year 2020, this research report will first draw upon existing data to provide a profile of the current governmental and non-governmental capacities and approaches to providing human security and establishing the rule of law in the region.  In carrying out the research, I will seek out the input of pertinent sources in the region —  public security officials, academic experts on the rule of law and public security, representatives of non-governmental organizations working in this area, and knowledgeable international sources — both in the definition of the priority challenges and in the development of creative yet feasible means of addressing those challenges.  In this sense, the process of the research will seek to stimulate participation of relevant actors in the region, albeit on a limited scale given the time and resource constraints on the project.  The research will focus on both challenges and possible actions involving both governmental institutions (e.g., the police forces, judicial systems, legal constraints, violence prevention agencies) and non-governmental organizations (e.g., citizen crime-fighting initiatives, legal reform advocates, private sector associations, popular organizations, and human rights groups).  And I will address the status and potential for fruitful interaction of state and civil society.

II. Proposed Outline

I. Criminal Justice Policy

* Crime Trends in Central America
* Integrated State Responses to Crime Prevention
* National Police Forces
* Criminal Investigations Capabilities
* Initiatives and Possibilities for Community-oriented policing
* Accountability of Police and Judicial Authorities
* Statistics, Data and Research on Crime, Violence and the Justice System

II. Civil Society and Prevention of Violence and Crime

* How can civil society contribute to community security without falling into vigilantism or orejismo?
* Violence Prevention Programs: Public Education and Media Campaigns
* Violence by and against Youth (gangs); Youth Violence Prevention programs

III. Vulnerable Groups within Society
* The Status and Possibilities for Augmenting Security for Women
* The Status and Possibilities for Augmenting Security for Indigenous Persons

III. Proposed Methodology & Timetable

     Preparation of the research report will require accumulation of data from secondary sources and from selected interviews with persons, mainly in the region, who have given thought to the development of enhanced security and the rule of law.  This research will be conducted through use of sub-contractors to gather specific data in the region, through a trip to Central America in July, through e-mail or telephone interviews with knowledgeable sources, and through reliance upon materials already at hand.  In addition, feedback on a preliminary draft will be solicited from regional experts in a workshop to be held in the region, after which a revised report will be submitted to the lead consultants.

The proposed timetable is as follows:

July 1999:                      Trips to Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica. (I already have sufficient data on El Salvador and
                                     Nicaragua, and have contacts through which to gather information on Panama.  Consultants will be
                                     used for Belize).

7 August 1999:             Completion of Draft Research Report.

2nd or 3rd week Workshop on Security and the Rule of Law.
of August:

10 September 1999:      Submission of Revised Research Report to Lead Consultants

The location of workshop is yet to be determined.  I am open to suggestions, but am considering the following possibilities: El Salvador (counterpart: FLACSO); Guatemala (counterpart: FLACSO). I have not yet contacted any potential counterparts regarding the workshop.

The slate of proposed invitees to the workshop is currently as follows:

* Laura Chinchilla, ex-Ministra de Seguridad de Costa Rica
* Primer Comisionado Franco Montealegre, Director of the Nicaraguan National Police and current President, Association of
   Chiefs of Police of Central America
* Dra. Leticia Salomon, Sociologa, CEDOH, expert on police and citizen security in Honduras
* Lic. Salvador Samayoa, member of the Consejo Nacional de Seguridad Publica, El Salvador
* Lic. Luis Cardenal, Pres., Chamber of Commerce and member, Consejo Nacional de Seguridad Publica, El Salvador
* Dr. Jose Maria Rico, Instituto Interamericano de los DD.HH., San Jose, Director, project on Community Policing
* Alejandro Rodruguez, Inst de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales, Guatemala
* Carmen Rosa de Leon, IEPADES, Guatemala City
* Someone with insights on judicial reforms from the region ( I have some ideas here)
* Possibly an especially insightful Minister of Public Security or Justice Minister
* Others yet to be determined (Panama, Belize)

   In addition, I propose to invite other persons whose interests and experience might make them both interested in and useful to the workshop.  Their presence could help build a constituency at the international level for the research agenda contemplated.  The following persons could be invited without offering to cover their expenses:

Dr. George Vickers, WOLA, Washington, D.C.
Dra. Cristina Eguizabal, Ford Foundation, New York City
Bob Perito, Acting Director, ICITAP, Washington, D.C.
Michael Shifter, Inter-American Dialogue
Dra. Mayra Buvenic, Director of programs against violence, Inter-American Development Bank
Persons from USAID, European Commission, UNDP, MINUGUA, OAS, World Bank
Dr. Jorge Obando, UNDP
Juan Mendez, Director, Inter-American Institute of Human Rights
Dr. William Stanley, University of New Mexico