ICTJ Forum Series on Truth Commissions and Peace Mediation: Alan Doss



In the first of our special ICTJ Forum series on truth commissions and peace negotiations, we speak with Alan Doss, Senior Political Advisor to Mr. Kofi Annan and Associate Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP).

In this interview with ICTJ's Hannah Dunphy, Mr. Doss shares his reflections on his work brokering and implementing peace deals in countries around the world.

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From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Doss was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the UN peace keeping mission (MONUC). Immediately prior to his assignment to the DRC, he was the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Liberia and head of the UN mission (UNMIL).

In the DRC, where the infamous rebel group M23 has recently admitted defeat, Mr. Doss says the country faces yet another opportunity to pursue peace and justice in the wake of devastating violence.

"If this now is to be a real turning point, as opposed to once again a brief interlude before conflict reignites, it would be important to deal with these underlying problems," says Doss.

"Deal with the problem of communal relations in North Kivu[...] Deal with the problem of the absence of discipline in the armed forces, in the security forces, which is very important, because they are part of the problem. They need to be part of the solution. Deal with the regional dimension: Rwanda, Uganda. And above all deal with the institutional weaknesses of the Congolese state. If not, these problems will come back to haunt the country in one form or another."

He also responds to the criticism of the Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which emerged out of peace negotiations that brought about the end to the country's second civil war.

"Right from the outset, it was going to be a very difficult, even traumatic process," he says. "If we were to do it all again, one would have to look carefully at who is selected, who is on the commission, who leads the commission, the terms of reference for the commission, what exactly were we expecting to get out of the commission."