Triggers of Mass Atrocities

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Triggers of Mass Atrocities


  • Scott Straus Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA


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Abstract:  The concept of “triggers” enjoys wide usage in the atrocity prevention policymaking community. However, the concept has received limited academic analysis. This paper reviews the concept critically, develops a definition, and subjects the concept to empirical analysis. The paper offers a mild endorsement of the concept of triggers of atrocity. The paper identifies four main categories of triggering event but cautions that triggers cannot be separated from context or decision-makers.

Keywords:  atrocity; mass atrocity; genocide; prevention; triggers

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v3i3.375


© Scott Straus. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.