Strategic Atrocities: Civilians under Crossfire - Theory and Evidence from Colombia

Juan Fernando Vargas Duque, Charles H. Anderton, J. Brauer

Research output: Chapter in Book/ReportChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Armed actors in civil war often target civilians to create fear and punish allegiance with the enemy. This strategy secures collaboration with the perpetrator, strengthening its civilian support, and helps the consolidation of territorial supremacy over contested regions. In this chapter, I illustrate this strategic use of atrocities with a model involving two armed groups who fight over territorial control and who try to secure compliance of local civilians through a combination of carrots and sticks. I study the conditions that lead to more or less civilians killed and illustrate the main theoretical arguments with descriptive evidence from the recent history of Colombia’s civil war.
Translated title of the contributionAtrocidades Estratégicas: Civiles bajo fuego cruzado - Teoría y evidencia desde Colombia
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEconomic Aspects of Genocides, Other Mass Atrocities, and Their Prevention
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages425 - 451
ISBN (Electronic)978-0 199378296
ISBN (Print) 9780199378296
StatePublished - 2016


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