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



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