Policy Brief - Peace Research Institute Oslo

Sexual Violence by Militias in African Conflicts

| December 2012

CSCW Policy Brief

Not a question of 'delegation' by states

In a study of African conflicts from 1989 to 2009, we find that governments do not seem to ‘delegate’ the commission of atrocities to militias in order to avoid accountability, as has often been assumed. On the contrary, when militias commit acts of sexual violence, states are also reported as perpetrators. Also counter to conventional wisdom, our data show that:

Also counter to conventional wisdom, our data show that:

  • Only 30% of African militias perpetrated sexual violence.
  • Conflicts with few killings often see militias committing widespread sexual violence.

What characterizes those militias that use sexual violence? We find that such militias often rely on child soldiers and operate in the poorest countries, but do not operate in the conflicts with the highest casualty rates from regular battles.


Download the entire policy brief here: http://file.prio.no/publication_files/cscw/Nordas-Cohen-Sexual-Violence-Militias-African-Conflicts-CSCW-Policy-Brief-01-2012.pdf

For more information on this publication: Please contact International Security
For Academic Citation: Nordas, Ragnhild and Dara Kay Cohen. “Sexual Violence by Militias in African Conflicts.” Policy Brief, Peace Research Institute Oslo, December 2012.

The Authors