Stopping the killing during the “peace”: Peacekeeping and the severity of postconflict civilian victimization

Jacob D. Kathman, Reed Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Recent research has investigated the relative effectiveness of peacekeeping in stabilizing postconflict states, preventing the return to armed hostilities between belligerents, and reducing civilian abuse during civil conflict. This research has shed light on important theoretical and policy-relevant issues. However, scholars have largely neglected to evaluate the role of peacekeeping in protecting civilians during the notoriously unstable postconflict period. Even after active conflict has ended, the factions often persist in abusing civilians to reinforce conflict gains, shape the postconflict environment, exact revenge for wartime grievances, or spoil peace processes. This analysis investigates the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions in protecting civilians during the post-conflict “peace.” Using newly collected data on the number and type of United Nations peacekeeping personnel commitments along with civilian victimization data for all African conflicts between 1992 and 2010, we find that greater numbers of peacekeeping troops reduce anticivilian violence. By contrast, larger deployments of UN observers are positively correlated with violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-169
Number of pages21
JournalForeign Policy Analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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