By Neil J. Mitchell

Who's accountable for the phobia, atrocities, and violations of human rights that ensue in civil wars? Blame could be without delay attributed to the particular perpetrators of the massacres, rapes, and pillaging--but it will possibly even be put on the leaders who frequently disguise at the back of their ambivalent orders. putting accountability essentially within the arms of political management, Mitchell explores the interplay of leaders, their administration practices and repressive guidelines, utilizing the Arab-Israeli clash and the English and Russian civil wars to make clear whilst leaders are roughly more likely to flip to atrocities to accomplish their pursuits. With civil wars carrying on with to rage worldwide, Agents of Atrocity offers a well timed heritage of atrocities and the leaders and henchmen who carried them out, whereas supplying a brand new context for knowing why they take place and the way they are often avoided within the future.

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Further, during civil war the government has the means to commit atrocities as it mobilizes and arms large numbers of soldiers, police, and citizens. Finally, civil wars present governments 20 / AGENTS OF ATROCITY with the best opportunities to lower the political costs of violations; violations can be obscured by the general fog of war, admitted but shrugged off with a “c’est la guerre” necessity, or framed as an unfortunate but appropriate response to the more bloodthirsty opposition. By comparing civil wars, one can approximate similar levels of threat to the regime, similar resources to commit violations, and a common relaxation of norms of behavior that occurs in war.

With the Hutu president’s death, Hutu army officers took control, tuned the dial to “Radio Genocide” and broadcast that Tutsis were cockroaches. The incident did not require such actions; the officers The Principals and the Agents of Political Violence / 43 created an opportunity to carry out the planned atrocity. This is not unusual: even with very high concentrations of political power, political leaders still carefully prepare the ground for policy actions. Consider the burning of the Reichstag in 1933, which the Nazis blamed on a Dutch communist in order to launch repression, or the murder of Sergei Kirov in 1934, which Stalin used to unleash terror.

The Russian Civil War is in sharper relief with the end of the cold war. The English Civil War remains contested, but nonetheless historians have achieved some consensus on the incidence of atrocities, even in Ireland. Since the English Civil War induced the birth of Machiavelli, the Grand Inquisitor, and Count Tilly’s Reward / 23 social contract thinking, which matured into arguments for limited government, there is something fitting in returning to this war in an effort to understand human rights violations.

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Agents of Atrocity: Leaders, Followers, and the Violation of Human Rights in Civil War by Neil J. Mitchell


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