Third-Party Actors and the Intentional Targeting of Civilians in War

Benjamin J. Appel, Alyssa K. Prorok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between third-party actors and the intentional targeting of non-combatants in interstate war. It argues that war participants kill fewer civilians in war when their expectation of third-party punishment is high. Combatants will anticipate a high likelihood of third-party sanctions when their alliance and trade networks are dominated by third parties that have ratified international treaties prohibiting the intentional targeting of non-combatants. The study hypothesizes that war combatants kill fewer civilians in war as the strength of ratifiers within their alliance and trade networks increases. Quantitative tests on a dataset of all interstate wars from 1900-2003 provide strong statistical and substantive support for this hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1453-1474
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Keywords

  • civilian targeting
  • international humanitarian law
  • interstate war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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