OSCE participating States recognize the importance of democratic civilian control of security forces. In 1994, the FSC adopted the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, a landmark document in security sector governance. The Code obliges participating States to provide for democratic oversight of their armed, internal, para-military and intelligence forces as well as the police. They are also obliged to ensure that their armed forces remain politically neutral and to guarantee that the human rights of security personnel are respected.
The Code contains principles governing the relations between participating States and calls on them to implement all agreed confidence- and security-building measures, and arms control agreements. In addition, it specifies that participating States should maintain only such armed forces as are necessary for individual or collective self-defence.
Each year, the participating States report to each other on their national practices in implementing the Code’s provisions. This information exchange adds to the confidence and security promoted by the Code. As an additional transparency measure, the reports are published on the OSCE website.