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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Meaning of a Militia: Understanding the Civil Defence Forces of Sierra Leone
Author:Hoffman, DannyISNI
Year:2007
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Volume:106
Issue:425
Period:October
Pages:639-662
Language:English
Geographic term:Sierra Leone
Subjects:militias
trials
international criminal courts
Military, Defense and Arms
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4496486
Abstract:This article is an adapted, narrative version of an expert witness report the author wrote for the Defence of one of the accused before the Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2006. The case against the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) militia was predicated in part on the argument that the CDF was a military organization with military-style command and control. Based on a close reading of the Prosecution's military expert witness report and the author's ethnographic research with the militia, the article outlines a case for understanding the CDF as the militarization of a social network rather than as a military organization. This framing has implications not only for postconflict adjudication, but for how we think about and intervene in violent contexts throughout contemporary West Africa. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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