2016 Lepgold Winner: Jessica Stanton for Violence and Restraint in Civil War

The 2016 Lepgold Prize was awarded on November 8, 2017 to Jessica A. Stanton for her book, Violence and Restraint in Civil War: Civilian Targeting in the Shadow of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2016). 

 

Violence and Restrain in Civil War book coverThe 2016 Lepgold Prize has been awarded to Professor Jessica A. Stanton (University of Minnesota) for her book, Violence and Restraint in Civil War: Civilian Targeting in the Shadow of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Media coverage of civil wars often focuses on the most gruesome atrocities and the most extreme conflicts, which might lead one to think that all civil wars involve massive violence against civilians. In truth, although some governments and rebel groups commit grave human rights abuses during civil war, many others exercise restraint in their fighting, largely avoiding violence against civilians in compliance with international law. Governments and rebel groups make strategic calculations about whether to target civilians by evaluating how domestic and international audiences are likely to respond to violence. Restraint is also a deliberate strategic choice: governments and rebel groups often avoid targeting civilians and abide by international legal standards to appeal to domestic and international audiences for diplomatic support. This book presents a wide range of evidence of the strategic use of violence and restraint, using original data on violence against civilians in civil wars from 1989 to 2010 as well as in-depth analyses of conflicts in Azerbaijan, El Salvador, Indonesia, Sudan, Turkey, and Uganda.