An investigation into the irregular military dynamics in Yugoslavia, 1992-1995

Ferguson, Kate (2015) An investigation into the irregular military dynamics in Yugoslavia, 1992-1995. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Abstract
This dissertation makes an original contribution to knowledge of how irregular
military actors operate in modern mass atrocity crises, providing an evidencebased
multi-perspective analysis of the irregular military dynamics that accompanied
the violent collapse of Yugoslavia (1991-1995). While it is broadly accepted
that paramilitary or irregular units have been involved in practically every
case of genocide in the modern world, detailed analysis of these dynamics is
rare. A consequence of paramilitary participation in atrocity crises –which can
be seen in academic literature, policy-making, and in popular understanding–
has been to mask the continued dominance of the state in a number of violent
crises where, instead of a vertically organised hierarchical structure of violence,
irregular actors have comprised all or part of the military force. Here, analysis
of structures of command and control, and of domestic and international networks,
presents the webs of support that enable and encourage irregular military
dynamics. The findings suggest that irregular combatants have participated to
such an extent in the perpetration of atrocity crimes because political elites benefit
by using unconventional forces to fulfil devastating socio-political ambitions,
and because international policy responses are hindered by contexts where responsibility
for violence is ambiguous. The research also reveals how grassroots
armed resistance can be temporarily effective but, without the benefits of centralised
capabilities, cannot be easily sustained. While the variety of irregular
military activity that took place in former Yugoslavia was significant, it is clear
that the irregular dynamics were more substantial and more effective when operating
within, or in close coordination with, structures where the state retained
greater powers of central command and control. Furthermore, the dissertation
identifies substantial loopholes in current atrocity prevention architecture and
suggests the utilisation by state authorities of irregular combatants as perpetrators
in atrocity contexts will continue until these loopholes are addressed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Vailele Chittock
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 10:49
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2016 10:49
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59455
DOI:

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