We conduct research that seeks to explain the drivers of large-scale political and criminal violence and the causes of civilian victimization in contexts marked by criminal wars – armed conflicts between states and organized criminal groups (OCGs) and among OCGs, in which gross human rights violations and possibly crimes against humanity are committed. We document, map, and explain who did what to whom, why and how. In identifying the perpetrators of atrocities, their actions, and their motivations, we do not look into isolated individuals but investigate criminal networks often constituted by state security agents, criminal groups, and business firms. Our work traces the origins of these criminal structures into the past and explores the extent to which security agents charged with repressing political dissidents in previous contexts of autocracy or civil war take advantage of their granted political impunity to morph into the criminal underworld.

Research Team: ND: Josephine Lechartre, Camilo Nieto-Matiz, Natán Skigin, Guillermo Trejo, Jacob Turner | Affiliates: Juan Albarracín, Abby Córdova, Sandra Ley, Lucía Toscornia