No security or police forces have been held accountable by democratically-elected civilian authorities in Egypt yet, although four years have passed since the 2011 revolution, according to the Carnegie Middle East Center.
A report issued on Monday by Yezid Sayigh, a senior associate at the center, described the interior ministries in Egypt and Tunisia as "black boxes with opaque decision making processes, governed by officer networks that have resisted meaningful reform."
The culture of police impunity will increase, and a democratic transition will remain impossible both in Egypt and in Tunisia, until their governments reform their respective security sectors, it added.
The report tackled several missed chances for reform. According to Sayigh, the uprisings created important opportunities to reform the security sector, directly after their eruption, while the public support was at its peak, and the sector itself was too weak to resist. However, at the time, no measures were developed to build effective political coalitions or coherent reform policies, especially with regard to the police.
In an atmosphere of deep political polarization, Islamist parties that joined the government after elections were accused of trying to islamize the security sectors, the report added. The appeasement of the security sectors and setting them aside from political issues were attempted by the consecutive transitional governments, but the delay in serious reform allowed the sector to immunize itself, especially in light of the growing political violence and terrorism.
The report also urges the governments to appoint neutral interior ministers, carry out both top-down and a bottom-up reforms for the sector, engage it in meaningful dialogue, enhance its professional capabilities, wages and work conditions, as well as modify the recruitment and promotion policies.
It added that government should not step back on critical issues, like ending the impunity of the security forces, setting its policy and budgets, and making or ratifying senior command appointments.