The problems faced by countries emerging from years of violent conflict are enormous, highly complex and intricately interconnected. Amongst the greatest challenges are the presence of large numbers of ex-combatants and the ongoing violence perpetrated by members of still-active rebel groups. These ex-combatants will ultimately need to be demobilised and reintegrated into civilian life or perhaps into newly constituted security services. Ex-combatants, as well as the many others associated with them (such as wives, porters, cooks, sex slaves), are likely to have known no other way of life than war and violence. Their sense of identity is integrally linked with the armed structures they have been fighting with. As ex-combatants have a potent ability to ‘spoil’ the peace process and progress towards security and development it is largely accepted that they need special attention.
- Author(s):Edward Bell
- Date:September 2006