Alex J. Bellamy
This article examines the role that military intervention can play in ending genocide and the political, moral, and legal debates that surround it. The first section briefly examines how genocides have ended since the beginning of the twentieth century, and explores the place of military intervention by external powers. The second section examines whether there is a moral and/or legal duty to intervene to end genocide. The third section considers the reasons why states intervene only infrequently to put an end to genocide despite their rhetorical commitments. Historically, once started, genocides tend to end with either the military defeat of the perpetrators or the suppression of the victim groups. Only military force can directly prevent genocidal killing, stand between perpetrators and their intended victims, and protect the delivery of lifesaving aid. But its use entails risks for all parties and does not necessarily resolve the underlying conflict.
This chapter explores the evolution and characteristics of scholarly writing on the history of African warfare and military organization. Beginning with an overview of the challenges involved in reconstructing Africa’s violent past, the paper deals with war in the deeper past before focusing on the nineteenth century, an era in which it is argued Africa experienced a revolution in military affairs. Violence and military structures took new forms in the twentieth century, from colonial armies to modern armed struggle aimed at the overthrow of authoritarian regimes. Throughout, the chapter proposes new avenues for research, including making ever closer connections between violence, politics, and economy over the longue durée.