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Title: An investigation into the irregular military dynamics in Yugoslavia, 1992-1995
Author: Ferguson, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 8160
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2015
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This dissertation makes an original contribution to knowledge of how irregular military actors operate in modern mass atrocity crises, providing an evidencebased multi-perspective analysis of the irregular military dynamics that accompanied the violent collapse of Yugoslavia (1991-1995). While it is broadly accepted that paramilitary or irregular units have been involved in practically every case of genocide in the modern world, detailed analysis of these dynamics is rare. A consequence of paramilitary participation in atrocity crises –which can be seen in academic literature, policy-making, and in popular understanding– has been to mask the continued dominance of the state in a number of violent crises where, instead of a vertically organised hierarchical structure of violence, irregular actors have comprised all or part of the military force. Here, analysis of structures of command and control, and of domestic and international networks, presents the webs of support that enable and encourage irregular military dynamics. The findings suggest that irregular combatants have participated to such an extent in the perpetration of atrocity crimes because political elites benefit by using unconventional forces to fulfil devastating socio-political ambitions, and because international policy responses are hindered by contexts where responsibility for violence is ambiguous. The research also reveals how grassroots armed resistance can be temporarily effective but, without the benefits of centralised capabilities, cannot be easily sustained. While the variety of irregular military activity that took place in former Yugoslavia was significant, it is clear that the irregular dynamics were more substantial and more effective when operating within, or in close coordination with, structures where the state retained greater powers of central command and control. Furthermore, the dissertation identifies substantial loopholes in current atrocity prevention architecture and suggests the utilisation by state authorities of irregular combatants as perpetrators in atrocity contexts will continue until these loopholes are addressed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available