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Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peacebuilding
Switzerland created the Expert Pool (SEP) in the year 2000 as a response to the growing international demand for experts in the field of civilian peace and human-rights promotion. After the end of the cold war and over the course of the Balkan wars, it became clear that first and foremost, civilian expertise was needed to sustainably ensure peace and to reconstruct the war-ravaged countries.
Since then, the demand for experts has constantly been on the rise. They serve as advisors to local authorities and institutions, assist in the building up state structures, support international peace missions and elections, and are part and parcel of the international community’s efforts to promote peace and human rights.
Thanks to its longstanding commitment to peacebuilding and human rights issues, Switzerland has acquired a wealth of experience enabling it to influence international dialogue on these issues and thus to sustainably enhance human security at the field level.
Between 2008 and 2010, 252 Swiss experts acted as election monitors in 45 missions spread over 33 countries.
These missions, which are conducted under the auspices of international organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union (EU), or the Organization of American States (OAS), are meant to ensure free, transparent, and democratic elections. At the same time, the objective is to strengthen democratic structures and processes with a view to achieving a lasting and socially equitable peace in the countries concerned.
The deployment of experts has proven to be both an effective and a visible instrument of Swiss peacebuilding and the fostering of human rights. Here-below are two examples of the deployment of civilian experts:
- Strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo
The European Union mission, EULEX, which was launched in 2008, assists the Kosovo government with the development of an independent judicial system and policing services. A Swiss expert advises the mission on all human rights matters and his input has helped to establish the Human Rights Review Panel, an independent body tasked with examining alleged human rights violations by EULEX Kosovo.
- International inquiry in Guinea/Conakry
In late 2009, a Swiss expert was assigned to a commission of inquiry, mandated by the UN Security Council to investigate the outbreak of violence in Guinea’s capital Conakry in September 2009. Based on the recommendations issued by the commission and debated by the UN Security Council, the International Criminal Court in The Hague launched an investigation to determine whether crimes against humanity had been committed and, if so, to bring the perpetrators to justice.