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Militias and Genocide

Author(s): Alex Alvarez

Journal: War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity
ISSN 1551-322X

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: War Crimes | International Law | Militia | Genocide | Paramilitary

This paper comprises a discussion of the role of paramilitary groups, such as militias, in perpetrating genocide. The reliance of many states upon paramilitary style units poses some potentially important questions about the nature of genocide and other human rights violations as well as the governments that create and unleash them. After briefly defining these groups, I specifically explore the reason why genocidal states rely so heavily on paramilitary militia groups when they already have military and police forces available. Using Arkan's Tigers and the Rwandan Interahamwe militia groups as examples, I explore the nature and functioning of these groups as well as the specific advantages to using these kinds of units. Also included is a discussion about the types of individuals who join these groups and what they gain from participation.
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