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One-Sided Violence Against Civilians in War: Insights from New Fatality Data
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2007 (English)In: Journal of Peace Research, ISSN 0022-3433, E-ISSN 1460-3578, Vol. 44, no 2, 233-246 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents new data on the direct and deliberate killings of civilians, called one-sided violence, in intrastate armed conflicts, 19892004. These data contribute to the present state of quantitative research on violence against civilians in three important respects: the data provide actual estimates of civilians killed, the data are collected annually and the data are provided for both governments and rebel groups. Using these data, general trends and patterns are presented, showing that the post-Cold War era is characterized by periods of fairly low-scale violence punctuated by occasional sharp increases in violence against civilians. Furthermore, rebels tend to be more violent on the whole, while governments commit relatively little violence except in those few years which see mass killings. The article then examines some factors that have been found to predict genocide and evaluates how they correlate with one-sided violence as conceptualized here. A U-shaped correlation between regime type and one-sided violence is identified: while autocratic governments undertake higher levels of one-sided violence than other regime types, rebels are more violent in democratic countries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 44, no 2, 233-246 p.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-97268DOI: 10.1177/0022343307075124ISI: 000245923100006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-97268DiVA: diva2:172130
Available from: 2008-05-08 Created: 2008-05-08 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Targeting the Unarmed: Strategic Rebel Violence in Civil War
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Targeting the Unarmed: Strategic Rebel Violence in Civil War
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Rebel attacks on civilians constitute one of the gravest threats to human security in contemporary armed conflicts. But why do rebel groups kill civilians? The dissertation approaches this question from a strategic perspective, trying to understand when and why rebel groups are likely to target civilians as a conflict strategy. It combines quantitative studies using global data on rebel group violence with a case study of the civil war in Mozambique. The overall argument is that rebel groups target civilians as a way of improving their bargaining position in the war relative to the government. The dissertation consists of an introduction, which situates the study in a wider context, and four papers that all deal with different aspects of the overall research question. Paper I introduces new data on one-sided violence against civilians, presenting trends over time and comparing types of actors and conflicts. Paper II argues that democratic governments are particularly vulnerable to rebel attacks on civilians, since they are dependent on the population. Corroborating this claim, statistical evidence shows that rebels indeed kill more civilians when fighting a democratic government. Paper III argues that rebels target civilians more when losing on the battlefield, as a method of raising the costs for the government to continue fighting. A statistical analysis employing monthly data on battle outcomes and rebel violence, supports this argument. Paper IV takes a closer look at the case of Mozambique, arguing that the rebel group Renamo used large-scale violence in areas dominated by government constituents as a means for hurting the government. Taken together, these findings suggest that violence against civilians should be understood as a strategy, rather than a consequence, of war.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning, 2008. 41 p.
Series
Report / Department of Peace and Conflict Research, ISSN 0566-8808 ; 82
Keyword
one-sided violence, violence against civilians, killing, civil war, rebel group, rebel strategy, bargaining, count model, Renamo, Mozambique
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8852 (URN)978-91-506-2009-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-31, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-05-08 Created: 2008-05-08Bibliographically approved

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