Ex-Rebel Authority after Civil War: Theory and Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire

Article by Giulia Piccolino, Phil Martin, and Jeremy Speight

How do former armed militants exercise local political power after civil wars end? Building on recent advances in the study of “rebel rulers” and local goods provision by armed groups, this article offers a typology of ex-rebel commander authority that emphasizes two dimensions of former militants’ power: local-level ties to civilian populations ruled during civil war and national-level ties to post-conflict state elites. Put together, these dimensions produce four trajectories of ex-rebel authority. These trajectories shape whether and how ex-rebel commanders provide social goods within post-conflict communities and the durability of ex-rebels’ local authority over time. We illustrate this typology with qualitative evidence from northern Côte d’Ivoire. The framework yields theoretical insights about local orders after civil war, as well as implications for peacebuilding policies. Find it here.

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