Image Source: Fiona Mangan

Fiona Mangan is a Visiting Fellow with the Rule of Law Collaborative (ROLC) and Director of Justice + Security in Transitions (J+ST). An experienced practitioner and researcher with expertise in justice and security issues in conflict, post-conflict, and transitional environments, she previously served as Country Representative in Central African Republic (CAR) for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), following four years with USIP’s Rule of Law Center, and the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPROL). She previously worked at the Stimson Center, where her research involved a multi-country study on the impact of police, justice, and corrections reform work in UN peace operations. She has also worked for the International Policy Division at the Irish Department of Justice, Independent Diplomat in New York, Lawyers Without Borders in Liberia, and the International Stability Operations Association in Washington, D.C. In addition to rule of law work, she has served as an international election observer in South Sudan and Somaliland.

Ms. Mangan’s interest in conflict and development work began with extensive exposure to international travel in her childhood, an interest she later merged with academic study of law, international relations, and conflict analysis. Her first international fieldwork was a “bootstrapped” trip to Somaliland on a student budget while completing her M.A. thesis, and since then has conducted extensive fieldwork throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, and Europe. Much of her recent work has focused on Libya, including an analysis of prison and detention conditions in Libya, and she is currently working on a paper for the Small Arms Survey focused on border security in Libya.

This month, Ms. Mangan published “Considering the Role of Security Sector Reform and Police Reform when Tackling Organized Crime in Post-Conflict Environments,” a white paper with support from JUSTRAC that provides practical analysis and recommendations designed to make security sector reform (SSR) programming more responsive to organized crime dynamics. Using Northern Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina as case studies—and drawing on Ms. Mangan’s experience with SSR issues, such as in CAR and Libya—the paper draws broader lessons for SSR practitioners who have to confront the realities of organized crime dynamics in post-conflict situations. Conflict environments provide opportunities for criminal networks to embed themselves, and in post-conflict environments, organized crime is often able to adapt to the nascent peace economy. Moreover, organized crime is often overlooked as donors and policymakers focus their attention on SSR and maintaining stability. When asked what the key takeaway from her paper is, she replied, “The balance between whether to deal with organized crime at an early juncture in the SSR process—versus whether it’s too early and too destabilizing to the peace process—should be considered with more deliberate thought and a plan for the future. If a decision is made to leave crime alone, that decision has to be made with a conscious plan for dealing with it down the line.”

Ms. Mangan has participated in a number of JUSTRAC events, and she appreciates JUSTRAC for its success in fostering frank exchange among a variety of stakeholders and getting everyone to “speak the same language” about rule of law. It is “wonderful,” she says, to see speakers engaged in open, candid conversation with practitioners from other organizations and sectors, including donors. Ms. Mangan recently participated in a panel on SSR, at the September 2018 JUSTRAC Interagency Justice Sector Training Program, and JUSTRAC appreciates her ability and willingness to provide an independent perspective to an interagency audience on the fundamentals and complexities of designing and implementing SSR programs in post-conflict environments. JUSTRAC looks forward to continuing cooperation with Ms. Mangan and her participation in future events.