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Compliant Rebels
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Book description

Seventeen million people have died in civil wars and rebel violence has disrupted the lives of millions more. In a fascinating contribution to the active literature on civil wars, this book finds that some contemporary rebel groups actually comply with international law amid the brutality of civil conflicts around the world. Rather than celebrating the existence of compliant rebels, the author traces the cause of this phenomenon and argues that compliant rebels emerge when rebel groups seek legitimacy in the eyes of domestic and international audiences that care about humanitarian consequences and human rights. By examining rebel groups' different behaviors such as civilian killing, child soldiering, and allowing access to detention centers, Compliant Rebels offers key messages and policy lessons about engaging rebel groups with an eye toward reducing civilian suffering in war zones.


‘This path-breaking book demonstrates through superb quantitative and qualitative empirical studies that non-state violent actors, such as rebel groups, are likely to comply with international law - if and when they seek political legitimacy. Hyeran Jo’s work gives us hope that atrocities and gross human rights violations during civil wars can be overcome. A must-read for scholars and practitioners alike!’

Thomas Risse - Freie Universität Berlin

‘If you read one book on whether, how and why rebel groups engage with international rules of war and conflict, this must be it. Hyeran Jo’s utterly compelling account of rebel motives and decisions will leave you thinking about law, politics, and civil rebellion in a new way.’

Beth A. Simmons - Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University, Massachusetts

'[This book] expertly traces how rebel groups seek legitimacy from domestic and international audiences concerned with human rights and draws on original research on rebel groups’ behavior.'

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