Yannick Deepen / Sabine Kurtenbach

Coping with Complexity: Dealing with Non-State Armed Actors

GIGA Working Papers | 2023

  • Abstract

    Non-state armed actors (NSAAs) come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including warlord-led groups, insurgencies, militias, and organised-crime syndicates to name just the most prominent examples hereof. In war or lower-level armed conflict, as well as violence-prone contexts, these groups pose acute problems for peacebuilding, democratic governance, and sustainable development. They control resources and territories, as well as compete, cooperate, or align with political and economic elites both within and beyond the state to promote the unstable status quo that serves their interests. Various challenges arise when dealing with NSAAs. Prevailing strategies vary between repression, co-optation, and submission to the rule of law. This analysis maps cross-regional trends re-garding NSAAs based on available datasets. On this basis we develop a typology for NSAAs and a conceptual frame for their transformation. We then apply this to three paradigmatic case studies – Colombia, Mali, the Philippines – and formulate recommendations for the designing of improved strategies vis-à-vis development cooperation and other external actors.



    GIGA Working Papers






    German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)



    Yannick Deepen

    Yannick Deepen

    Ehemals GIGA-Teammitglied


    Journal of Global Security Studies | 06.2023

    Promoting Peace and Impunity? Amnesty Laws after War in El Salvador and Beyond

    Applying a Historical Institutionalist framework, the authors of this article assess the impact of the adoption of amnesty laws on societal impunity, defined as any person or group being exempt from punishment or free from the injurious consequences of an action.


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