How Do National Oversight Institutions Influence Security Sector Governance?

Academic Webinar

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The professionalism of security services, as well as citizens’ perceptions of it, hinge upon having a system of checks and balances that ensures everyone respects civil liberties, human rights, and the rule of law. Formal, national-level oversight institutions both within and beyond the military (such as inspectorates, military ombuds institutions, parliaments, independent anti-corruption and human rights commissions, etc.) play a key role in monitoring security force behaviors toward citizens that affect popular trust in the security services and, in turn, the extent of the rule of law in the sector. This webinar will provide a forum for African experts to explore the strengths and weaknesses of security sector oversight by a range of formal institutions internal to the state that are designed and committed to bolstering democratic and civilian control of the security sector.

Webinar Objectives

  • Review the potential and the current performance of military inspectorates, ombuds institutions, legislatures, and independent human rights and anti-corruption commissions in facilitating rule of law and military professionalism as part of a broader process of democratic and civilian oversight of the security sector, as envisioned in the 2013 African Union Policy Framework on Security Sector Reform.
  • Reflect on the constraints of formal security sector oversight institutions in furthering the implementation of the African Union framework for democratic and civilian oversight of the security sector, as well as how to overcome these challenges so as to bolster African security force professionalism in service of the rule of law.
  • Discuss ways that African state and societal actors can strengthen these oversight institutions so as to facilitate their effective performance in delivering security to citizens.

Recommended Readings


Brigadier General (Professor) Dan Kuwali
(Chief of Legal Services and Judge Advocate General, Malawian Defence Force)

Dr. Emile Ouedraogo
(Adjunct Professor, ACSS, former Minister of Defense and Parliamentarian, Burkina Faso)


Dr. Catherine Lena Kelly
(Associate Professor of Justice and Rule of Law, Africa Center for Strategic Studies)