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Exposure to Genocide as a Risk Factor for Homicide Perpetration in Rwanda: A Population-Based Case-Control Study
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Forensic Medicine. Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA; Aarhus University, Denmark.
2018 (English)In: Journal of Interpersonal Violence, ISSN 0886-2605, E-ISSN 1552-6518, Vol. 33, no 12, p. 1855-1870Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A population-based case-control study was conducted to assess the relationship between genocide exposure and homicide perpetration in Rwanda. A sample of 150 homicide perpetrators who were charged with and confessed to having committed homicide between 1 May 2011 and 31 May 2013 and 450 controls were enrolled. Cases were matched to controls by neighborhood, age and sex. Socio-demographic, background and genocide-related information was collected from study subjects' next of kin. Four characteristics of genocide exposure were: genocide survivor, genocide perpetrator, having lost a first-degree relative to genocide and having a first-degree relative convicted of genocide. We assessed the impact of each genocide-exposure variable using conditional logistic regression. Of the 150 cases, 124 (82.7%) were male and 26 (17.3%) were female. The mean age of the alleged homicide perpetrators was 33 years, with a peak in the age group 20-29 years (39.3%). After adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and past common criminal records, having a first-degree relative who had been convicted of genocide crimes was a significant predictor for homicide perpetration (odds ratio [OR] = 14.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.6-129.4). Being a genocide perpetrator, a genocide survivor and having lost a first-degree family member to genocide were not identified as risk factors for homicide perpetration. In Rwanda, young people who experienced early exposure to trauma by witnessing their first-degree relatives' active participation in the genocide, are more likely to commit homicide. Socio-economic and psychotherapeutic programs targeting this population group are needed to rehabilitate these young people for violent behavior change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018. Vol. 33, no 12, p. 1855-1870
Keywords [en]
murder, manslaughter, risk factors, homicide perpetration
National Category
Forensic Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-148722DOI: 10.1177/0886260515619749ISI: 000432620900001PubMedID: 26681788Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85047206048OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-148722DiVA, id: diva2:1223343
Available from: 2018-06-25 Created: 2018-06-25 Last updated: 2018-06-25Bibliographically approved

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