Authors: Margit Bussmann and Gerald Schneider
Title: Strategie, Anarchie oder fehlendes internationales Engagement?
Subtitle: Zur Logik von einseitiger Gewalt
Journal: Forschung DSF
ISSN: 2193-7931 - eISSN: 2193-794X
Full Text: Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung [Free Access], Konstanzer Online-Publikations-System [Free Access]
»Besides battle related activities, systematic violence directed against the civilian population belongs to the instruments on which the warring parties rely during a military campaign. This direct form of violence is often used purposefully. The extent of this so-called onesided violence varies strongly among the actors and during a war. The project funded by DSF therefore attempted to explain whether we can trace these differences to developments on the battlefield, organizational attributes of the parties to the conflict, or the lack of adequate international responses. The strategic logic focuses analytically on the distribution of power between the parties involved in a conflict. According to the organizational logic, the occurrence of one-sided violence is related to the internal organizational structure of the conflict parties. The third logic deals with the effects of international actors and their possibilities of keeping the conflict actors from using violence against civilians.
The research team built time-series based upon the Konstanz One-Sided Violence Event Dataset (KOSVED) to account for the dynamics of one-sided violence. This event data set that was collected within this project provides information on the number of civilians who were killed or injured within civil wars. We limit the data collection to direct killings of unarmed civilians through rebel organizations and government actors and thus exclude indirect victims, who died for instance through disease or starvation, and victims who were killed in relation to battle activities. Besides the number of victims we provide in an as detailed as possible way information on the exact timing of the event, the characteristics of the victims and other context related variables. With a content analysis of media reports and a systematic coding of events, we could collect time-series data for 18 civil wars. KOSVED and other data sets provide the basis for our empirical evaluation.
The analysis demonstrates that we can trace the intensity in which this instrument of violence is used only partly to vengeance motivations. While the Serbs relied on one-sided violence for instance after territorial gains, the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army, which is militarily not very threatening, frequently relied on it during its long campaign. The project also demonstrates, in contrast to other studies, that organizational hierarchy accounts in some conflicts for many acts of one-sided violence and that these groups rely on incentives and disincentives to induce their soldiers to attack civilians. The harming and killing of civilians often coincide with the negotiations and talks of the perpetrating group with third party actors. The analysis showed conversely that the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross do not reduce the extent of one-sided violence. Instead, the econometric analysis reveals that the Laws of War propagated by the ICRC are linked to a higher incidence of violence some years after the ratifications of the corresponding norms through which the civilian population shall be protected.« [Source: Forschung DSF]