SOLLIMS Sampler Special Edition, May 2017 - Page 14

arms/ammunition surrendered was a key factor for gaining their cooperation. Another motive for these combatants to show up at a DDRR site was temporary amnesty. Blanket or general amnesty was never issued in Liberia; however, temporary amnesty proved to be vital to the success of the DDRR program. A conscious decision was made – in the interest of disarming and demobilizing armed groups – to postpone the implementation of transitional justice in favor of temporary amnesty, and this approach paid large dividends. The DDRR program succeeded in disarming and demobilizing 101,449 combatants, and it collected 61,918 weapons and 6,486,136 units of ammunition. Throughout execution of the DDRR program, UNMIL disposed of the collected ordinance, and it worked to seal off Liberia's borders from outside interference. An early threat to the DDRR program surfaced during a 10-day period in Dec 2003. Significant riots broke out at one of the DDRR sites (Camp Schieffelin), posing a major threat to the UNMIL contingent there. Consequently, UNMIL put a halt to the DDRR program. However, within four months, once additional UN peacekeepers were on the ground, UNMIL re-energized the program and resumed execution in full force. That persistence gave a reassuring message to the Liberian government, and to all Liberians, that disarmament, demobilization, and peacebuilding were moving forward and that momentum would be maintained. The pace of disarmament and demobilization picked up quickly. Similarly, persistence in “maintaining momentum” kept the crucial 2005 Liberian presidential elections on schedule. In opposition, many senior statesmen, interim government officials, and potential candidates had pushed hard for holding party conventions and for rewriting the constitution in advance of any elections. However, their motives may have been self-serving – to prolong their time in office/exposure, or even to have an opportunity to divert resources (funds from the February 2004 donor conference) for their personal gains rather than for the good of Liberia. Fortunately, the UN, U.S., and certain key leaders in Liberia stood firm on keeping the November 2005 elections on schedule. This resulted in the first female head of state for Africa (Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson), but more importantly resulted in a new, legitimate government recognized by the vast majority of all Liberians – to establish and uphold the rule of law. To consolidate a “monopoly of force” for this new government to uphold the rule of law, the UN, U.S., and the authors of the Stanley Foundation article took the approach of integrating DDR and SSR in the transformation of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). The UN worked the “Disarmament” piece – as it systematically disarmed the legacy national military force. The United States simultaneously worked the “Demobilization and Reintegration” pieces, while at the same time restructuring and reforming the force. The entire DDR/SSR program included recruiting, vetting, training, equipping, fielding, sustaining and mentoring the new force. The program also involved constructing new military bases across the country, establishing a professional defense ministry, drafting a national defense strategy, and redesigning the force structure. The point of intersection Table of Contents | Quick Look | Contact PKSOI Page 13 of 36