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Governments, Informal Links to Militias and Accountability

Carey, SC; Colaresi, MP; Mitchell, NJ; (2015) Governments, Informal Links to Militias and Accountability. Journal of Conflict Resolution , 59 (5) pp. 850-876. 10.1177/0022002715576747. Green open access

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From Syria to Sudan, governments have informal ties with militias that use violence against opposition groups and civilians. Building on research that suggests these groups offer governments logistical benefits in civil wars as well as political benefits in the form of reduced liability for violence, we provide the first systematic global analysis of the scale and patterns of these informal linkages. We find over 200 informal state–militia relationships across the globe, within but also outside of civil wars. We illustrate how informal delegation of violence to these groups can help some governments avoid accountability for violence and repression. Our empirical analysis finds that weak democracies as well as recipients of financial aid from democracies are particularly likely to form informal ties with militias. This relationship is strengthened as the monitoring costs of democratic donors increase. Out-of-sample predictions illustrate the usefulness of our approach that views informal ties to militias as deliberate government strategy to avoid accountability.

Type: Article
Title: Governments, Informal Links to Militias and Accountability
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0022002715576747
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022002715576747
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: civil wars, conflict, human rights, internal armed conflict
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1468472
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