Civilian Selective Targeting: The Unintended Consequences of Partial Peace

58 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2018 Last revised: 21 Jul 2019

See all articles by Mounu Prem

Mounu Prem

Universidad del Rosario

Andrés Rivera

Universidad del Rosario

Dario Romero

Columbia University

Juan F. Vargas

Universidad del Rosario

Date Written: July 19, 2019

Abstract

Peace agreements may inadvertently increase selective violence against civilians when they are incomplete in two key dimensions. First, only a fraction of the existing armed groups participates of the agreement. Second, the legitimate government fails to establish institutional presence in the areas previously controlled by those who do participate. Under these two conditions, the resulting vacuum of power may attract active armed groups who engage in selective civilian victimization to obtain control. Studying the recent Colombian experience, we find that the permanent ceasefire declared by the FARC insurgency led to a surge in the targeting of community leaders in former FARC strongholds, perpetrated by armed groups excluded from the peace process, with the goal of consolidating their dominance in those areas. Critically, selective victimization is attenuated by state capacity and exacerbated in places which are more valuable as proxied by the existence of recent land conflicts.

Keywords: Selective civilian targeting, Peace process, Armed conflict, Territorial control

JEL Classification: D72, D74

Suggested Citation

Prem, Mounu and Rivera, Andrés and Romero, Dario and Vargas, Juan F., Civilian Selective Targeting: The Unintended Consequences of Partial Peace (July 19, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3203065 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3203065

Mounu Prem (Contact Author)

Universidad del Rosario ( email )

Casa Pedro Fermín
Calle 14 # 4-69
Bogota
Colombia

Andrés Rivera

Universidad del Rosario ( email )

Calle 12 No. 6-25
Bogota, DC
Colombia

Dario Romero

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Juan F. Vargas

Universidad del Rosario ( email )

Calle 12 No. 6-25
Bogota, DC
Colombia

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