Major General David C. Ralston (ret.) is president of Government Secure Solutions CGI Inc. He served in the U.S. Army for more than thirty years, retiring from active service in 2007 as a major general. Over the course of his Army career, he served in a variety of command and staff positions throughout the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, and Kosovo. His positions included deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence, Kosovo Force; director of force management, Office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, Headquarters Department of the Army; and commanding general, U.S. Army Field Artillery Center and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Ralston still serves as the Army’s senior facilitator for the “How the Army Runs” course presented to all new army general officers. He holds a Harvard fellowship in national security, a master of arts in public administration, and a bachelor of science in business administration.
This path-breaking volume fills a major gap in the literature on efforts to rebuild societies emerging from conflict. Drawing on firsthand experience in tackling organized and other destabilizing crime in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, it distills that practical, hard-won knowledge into lessons and guidance for policymakers and practitioners who must face similar challenges. No similar work exists anywhere.
"Serious crimes" include any and all criminal acts that threaten post-conflict security, hinder political and economic reconstruction, or undermine public trust in nascent criminal justice institutions. From money laundering to murder, drug trafficking to terrorism, these crimes flourish where governments are impotent or officials are themselves complicit in illegal activities. Their impact on post-conflict societies of all types can be profoundly damaging--but they can be dealt with.
More than forty seasoned practitioners--judges and generals, prosecutors and human rights activists, scholars and government officials from across the world--participated in the discussions that generated the broad guidelines and more specific prescriptions presented in this handbook. Each of its chapters covers a different area of activity--initial assessment, reform of the legal framework, institutional reform, investigation and prosecution of serious crimes, and foreign assistance--providing not only general guidance but also real-life examples to illustrate the importance of adapting to local circumstances.
Easy to read and easy to use, with checklists and sidebars supplementing the succinct text, Combating Serious Crimes will be greatly appreciated by governments, international and regional organizations, and foreign assistance providers throughout the world. The police, judges, prosecutors, defense counsel and peacekeepers who address serious crimes on a day-to-day basis in post-conflict states will likewise find the book invaluable.