Perpetrator Studies Network


Paramilitarism, Organized Crime, and the State

Uğur Ümit Üngör received a VIDI grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) to carry out research (2014-2019) on Paramilitarism, Organized Crime, and the State.

This research project examines the involvement of paramilitaries in mass political violence. Paramilitarism refers to clandestine, irregular armed organizations that carry out illegal acts of violence against clearly defined civilian individuals or groups. It has immense importance for understanding the processes of political violence that are played out during ethnic conflicts, which often see the formation of paramilitary units that conduct counter-insurgency operations, scorched earth campaigns, and mass violence against civilians including mass murder. Pro-state paramilitaries appeared during the ethnic conflicts of the 1990s, e.g. in Serbia, Turkey, and Chechnya, and more recently in civil wars in the Middle East. This project examines the development of paramilitary groups in various conflicts as they emerged, functioned, and disappeared, and thereby aims to make a significant contribution to the scholarship on mass political violence.

Team members:

Iva Vukušic (MA), on Serb paramilitaries in the Yugoslav wars of succession.

Ayhan Isik (MA), on Turkish paramilitaries in the Turkish-Kurdish conflict.