Contextualizing Mass Atrocity Crimes: Moving Toward a Relational Approach

Susanne Karstedt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Contemporary mass atrocities and genocides hold two general lessons: First, even in the course of these violent decades, genocides are rare events, and mass atrocities are not. Second, contemporary mass violence evolves in macro-and microcontexts that shape particular trajectories of conflict and violence. As the international community assumes responsibility for protecting victims and prosecuting perpetrators in contemporary high-risk environments, it is important to contextualize extreme violence and genocide and to understand the microrelational structure and dynamics of mass atrocity events. This article discusses two conceptual turnsmdashatrocity crimes and extremely violent societiesmdashand identifies three trajectories that move beyond an exceptionalist perspective on mass atrocities. Dynamic concentration of deterrence is suggested as a microrelational strategy for both protection and prosecution in contemporary humanitarian crises.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)383-404
    JournalAnnual Review of Law and Social Science
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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