Mass Atrocity Endings Research
How do mass atrocities end?
The WPF program on mass atrocities, defined as widespread and systematic violence against civilians (2011 – 2021), primarily focused on studying patterns of endings. In this program, ‘endings’ includes analysis of patterns of de-escalation of direct, lethal violence and other forms of harming civilians, and the study of recurrence in the context of global trends. The focus was determined by two interests: first, the impact of organized violence on civilian populations, and second, concern that conventional narratives of ending atrocities through military intervention were inadvertently lowering the bar for military intervention by adding a human rights based argument to buttress militarism.
How Mass Atrocities End: Studies from Guatemala, Burundi, Indonesia, Sudan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq
(Cambridge University Press, 2016), ed. Bridget Conley-Zilkic
The existing conventional meta-narrative for genocide and mass atrocity against civilians is empirically and analytically strong on the origins and nature of such extreme violence, but takes a strictly normative turn when considering the endings of genocide or mass atrocity. The ‘ideal’ ending, which tends to preoccupy advocates and policymakers, consists of an international military intervention leading to a settlement that includes not only an end to genocide but also the establishment of peace and democracy along with an exercise in transitional justice that may include trials, assistance to the survivors, memorialization, compensation and reparation. What debates do exist generally focus on the legality and politics of international interventions to halt genocide and measures to bring perpetrators to justice. This project explored the oft-neglected empirical study of how genocides and mass atrocities have actually terminated. The program concluded in 2021.
Sponsored research (2011 – 2016):
How Mass Atrocities End: Studies from Guatemala, Burundi, Indonesia, Sudan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq (Cambridge University Press, 2016), ed. Bridget Conley.
Additional outputs from WPF-sponsored case study research include:
- Claire Q. Smith and Tom Jarvis, “Ending Mass Atrocities: An Empirical Reinterpretation of ‘Successful’ International Military Intervention in East Timor” (Journal of International Peacekeeping, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13533312.2017.1322906
- Roddy Brett,The Origins and Dynamics of Genocide: political violence in Guatemala. Palgrave Macmillan. 2016.
- Fanar Haddad, ‘Competing Victimhoods in a Sectarian Landscape,’ Jadaliyya, Nov 1, 2016; ‘”Shia Forces”; “Iraqi Army” and the Perils of Sect-Coding,’ Jadaliyya, Sept 8, 2016; ‘Shi’a-Centric State-Building and Sunni Rejection in Post-2003 Iraq,’ Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Jan 2016.
Database of Atrocity Endings (2017 – 2021)
- The Mass Atrocity Ending case study database. Explore case studies of over 40 examples of mass atrocities since 1945.
- Conley, Bridget with Chad Hazlett. 2021. “How Very Massive Atrocities End: A Dataset.” Journal Of Peace Research. 58:3, 612-620
WPF Policy Briefings, Papers & Interview (2013- 2016)
- Policy Briefing: How Mass Atrocities End (April 2016), Bridget Conley.
- Occasional Paper:“Assessing the Anti-Atrocity Toolbox,” by Bridget Conley, Saskia Brechenmacher and Aditya Sarkar (February 2016).
- Occasional Paper: To Intervene or Not to intervene: AU Decision-Making on Burundi”, by Solomon Dersso (February 2016).
- Seminar Briefing Note: How Mass Atrocities End: Iraq (May 2013).
- “What Sir William Would Do In Syria,” Op-ed by Alex de Waal and Bridget Conley-Zilkic, New York Times/International Herald Tribune September 5, 2013.
- Hour-long interview with Conley-Zilkic (2016) on the New Books Network series on Genocide Studies, hosted by Kelly McFall, where she discusses the major ideas of the volume.
- Journal Article: “Setting the agenda for evidence-based research on ending mass atrocities,” 2014. Bridget Conley and Alex de Waal, Journal of Genocide Research 16: 1, 55 – 76.